My Sleeping Dogs Review
The development of Sleeping Dogs is actually a pretty unique one and is kind of interesting also. By all rights, this game should not exist at all. It started out as a new IP under publication by Activision and then they decided they wanted to make it the third installment of the True Crime series giving it the name True Crime: . After many problems and delays Activision shut it down completely. After that Square Enix picked it up and development started on it again. The name ‘Sleeping Dogs’ was given as the title because Square Enix did not own the rights to use True Crime. Sleeping Dogs a lot of good for a game that has had so much problems getting off the ground, but it is not without its problems, to say the least.
You take on the role of Wei Shen, a Hong Kong born and American raised undercover cop, who has moved back to to get inside the notorious Sun On Yee sect of the Chinese triads. The story here seems quite standard, now I haven’t finished the game yet, but I am pretty far into it. It seems Wei Shen starts out as a normal undercover cop and soon finds himself slipping deeper and deeper into his cover, making it hard for him to draw the line between police officer and gangster.
Sleeping Dogs would feel a lot like another GTA clone except for it taking Place in does give it some separation. The game as a whole is basically the same as all other open world shooters. You have car jackings, gunplay, pretty standard story arcs, cops, drug dealers and murders. However, Sleeping Dogs does some things that make it feel somewhat refreshing, except most everything it offers is kind of clunky. You do missions for the triad starting out doing grunt work, like any other games where you are the new guy in the gang and it seems to go pretty smoothly and it moves the story a long, but you also do police jobs and those a lot of the time feel forced into the game and out of place. The triad stuff does have a few surprises a long the way that keeps the story somewhat interesting. Just when it starts to flat line, something happens that perks interest back up and loosely keeps a hold on you.
The game does a great job of capturing the realism of , or so I assume, being I have never been there. Sleep Dogs does a great job of making the player feel like they are there with the environments, with how everything looks and how they feel while running around the city. There are cool landmarks to see and the city feels alive with people and cars all around and even down all the alleyways there are things going on. It makes exploring the world quite fun, for those that have never been to a region quite like this, it can seem like playing in the world of a fantasy game.
I have to give it to United Front Games with the melee combat of Sleeping Dogs. It is far from great, but it is doable and the game puts a good amount of focus on it. It is safe to say that a good amount of fighting in this game is hand-to-hand and that is something you never see in these types of open world games. The melee combat does reflect that of Batman: , but not at all as polished. Just like a lot of things in this game, the fighting is kind of clunky, but it holds up well enough. While in fights the game also offers environmental takedowns that are usually really cool that really add to the melee combat, so much so that all the gunplay in the game is actually more boring. All it takes is dragging a guy over to a highlighted area and pushing a button. You can do anything from kicking a baddie into a telephone booth to shredding their face in an air conditioner fan. Yeah, it can get pretty bloody.
As stated above, the melee fighting makes the gun fighting boring, but that is helped by the shooting mechanics itself. Again, the gunplay is pretty standard, but is clunky for the most part. It seems obvious that more time and effort went into the hand-to-hand combat than went into the gun fighting. The biggest offense the gunplay does in Sleeping Dogs is going from none at all for a good majority of the beginning to all of a sudden guns everywhere all the time. It really feels like United Front Games didn’t trust themselves enough or that there would be a huge backlash from gamers if guns didn’t get involved, but basically they ended up taking over. I like to think that if there is a sequel, there will be less gunplay and more polished melee combat.
When doing missions, you get points depending on who you are doing the missions for. If you are doing missions for the police, you will get police points. If you are doing triad missions you will get triad points and if you are doing just random side missions (called favors) you get face points. These points go to three separate leveling systems for police, triad and face. There is no real good reason these are all separated. With each new level of any of these unlocks new abilities, but all could be kept together really. It seems that maybe the police and triad points have something to do with how deep Wei Shen gets into feeling for the triad, or maybe how level headed he stays, but it doesn’t seem to be the case so far (again I haven’t finished the game). Also it is easy to get triad points and easy to lose police points, which also leads me to believe there is no significant point to these point systems being separate. You gain triad points whenever you kill someone and you can lose police points as easy and sliding into a light post when driving in a mission. It makes the point system feel completely unbalanced.
As a whole Sleeping Dogs is not a great game, but compared to other games that had the development problems, push backs and cancelations it offers a lot to gamers. I would love to see a sequel to Sleeping Dogs. I think if United Front Games and Square Enix polish everything up, they could seriously have a series that rivals the Grand Theft Auto series. At best, Sleeping Dogs is worth checking out at least. Maybe a rental or if you can find it on sale someplace pick it up.