_mattallica's Sleeping Dogs (Xbox 360) review

An average game with few redeeming qualities

The latest game in the open world crime genre sees Sleeping Dogs make its case for signalling a change of direction in a seemingly saturated market. Set in Hong Kong, the game follows in the footsteps of Saints Row: The Third by being a different alternative to juggernaut that is Grand Theft Auto. Where Saints Row is all about being over the top and ridiculous, Sleeping Dogs tries to be different by being in a completely different setting to the norm and tells the story of a somewhat 'good' guy for a change. Does it succeed? I don't think so.

"Buying NARC the day it came out is money I'll never get back."

I feel that I need to state that I'm a huge fan of 'GTA Clones'. Particularly last generation I bought anything that remotely resembled GTA. Sometimes it paid off with the likes of The Getaway and True Crime: Streets of LA, other times it didn't. Buying NARC the day it came out is money I'll never get back. This generation hasn't had as many clones as last did but the ones that have come out have been fantastic. OK, back to Sleeping Dogs.

The story follows a murky path that tries to blur the line of good and bad, what's right and what's wrong and tries to justify the ultra violence of its protagonist. I find this approach interesting but ultimately falling flat the further I progressed. My problem wasn't with the content so much as I just didn't care in the end. This is probably due to unlikable or unrelatable characters mixed with a muddled story which unfortunately results into something that is OK but completely forgettable.

The shooting and driving mechanics are fine as are the graphics and sound. I find it hard to go into detail because it's pretty much what you would expect from a game this generation. Nothing is laughably bad or makes the game unplayable but also doesn't do anything you haven't seen before and ultimately left me feeling like I've played this game many times before. The voice acting is fine but if you go play L.A Noire then play Sleeping Dogs you see how far behind this game is from the best on the market.

"slamming a guy's head through a fish tank is undeniably fun."

The combat system is very fun and adds something somewhat new to what you would usually expect in this genre. Seeing as this project started as True Crime 3 it's no surprise the game borrows heavily from previous titles in having a great entertaining fighting system. Very Arkham-esque in its execution the more moves you unlock the better you will become. By far the most entertaining aspect of fighting is the environment kills that will no doubt divide audiences. Sure, they are incredibly gimmicky and can become tiresome after a while, but slamming a guy's head through a fish tank is undeniably fun.

My personal favorite part of the game is the somewhat 'free running' aspect that is present during some chases. The controls work very fluidly as you vault over tables, climb walls and jump over rooftops. This is when the city really shines also, seeing it from above shows the detail that has been put into recreating Hong Kong and I wish the city felt so beautiful when driving around as It does during these sequences.

I find it hard to talk about specifics in this game without comparing to others in the genre. This game does nothing bad at all, my problem is that it doesn't do anything better than what's already on the market. If you want the most fun open world experience, buy Saints Row: The Third. If its story you are after then look no further than GTA IV or it's fantastic DLC (Episode from Liberty City). Even Crackdown has a lot more going on and had lots more to do after you have finished the game.

And those games are only from this generation. The Getaway still has probably the best story told in this genre and the first True Crime has a just as good combat system and nice morality system. And that's not even comparing it to the PS2 GTA Trilogy, three of the best games ever made.

Describing this game to someone who hasnt played it is hard as it really does very little to try to be different to what gamers have seen over the years. When I was playing the game everything was just so average and adequate, nothing was outstanding or felt like something I hadn't seen or played before. Sleeping Dogs isn't a bad game at all, I just can't see what it's unique selling point is and why I would ever recommend someone to play it. It's hard because there is so many better, cheaper options on the market like Saints Row and GTA. If you are absolutely massive fan of open world games then you will undoubtedly enjoy but as one of the biggest GTA clone fans there is, I find this game one of the more forgettable offerings in recent years.

Some of the best open world games over the years have had me going back for more every few months, some even after the generation has passed. Earlier this year I must have completed The Getaway for the 10th time and that's not even thinking about the time I have spent in the fictional cities in the GTA universe. However if you ask me about my experience I had playing Sleeping Dogs this time next year, I may just say Sleeping what?

4 Comments
Edited by Ace20A

Typical GTA fan boy's review, can't even talk about it without comparing to GTA 4, biased opinions everywhere.

"Unlikable", "unrelatable" characters? PLEASE! When does an American like you ever relate yourself to Asian people?

"Muddled story"? Yeah, and Saints Row 3's story is just soo deep right? And of course you just have to bring GTA 4 in, AGAIN.

Just because GTA is the biggest name in the open-world genre, doesn't mean every game that features crimes and gangs is its "clones".

Sleeping Dogs is neither a Saints Row nor GTA clone, it never was and never will be, it's a game of its own. And as long as you don't put that in your head, it's no surprise that you "find it hard to talk about specifics in this game without comparing to others in the genre".

Posted by _Mattallica

@Ace20A:

Hi there. Thanks for reading my review. I'm disappointed that you misunderstood many of the points I was making. Hopefully I can clear a few things up.

@Ace20A said:

find it hard to talk about specifics in this game without comparing to others in the genre

Typical GTA fan boy's review, can't even talk about it without comparing to GTA 4, biased opinions everywhere.

I appreciate being called a GTA fanboy but unfortunately that is not true. As far as GTA IV is concerned, I am far more critical of that game that many other people and if I did review it in the future I could write for a while about the problems I have with that game.

"Unlikable", "unrelatable" characters? PLEASE! When does an American like you ever relate yourself to Asian people?

I am not American but thank you for the assumption! Also I don't think you need to be the same ethnicity of a person to relate to them.

"Muddled story"? Yeah, and Saints Row 3's story is just soo deep right? And of course you just have to bring GTA 4 in, AGAIN.

I never said Saint's Row 3 has a deep story. It has a very thin story. It doesn't however tell it in a muddled way. The reason I mention GTA IV so much is because it is by far the most well recieved and most played sandbox game of this generation. It would be incompetent to not mention it whilst reviewing a game of the same genre.

Just because GTA is the biggest name in the open-world genre, doesn't mean every game that features crimes and gangs is its "clones".

'GTA Clones' is a phrase that has been used since GTA 3 was released. I did not come up with this phrase and I'm sorry if you have never heard of it before.

I hope this clears a few things up. Thanks for reading!

Posted by Baillie

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Posted by Ace20A

@_Mattallica: Thanks for paying attention to my comment. Sorry if it sounded offensive, didn't mean to be like that.

But really, what did you mean by "muddled"? Yeah, the story can be pretty predictable sometimes, but I absolutely don't think it's poorly-written. In fact, one of the strong points of the game is its story, which can be truly engaging in some missions.

And also, which characters that you consider "unrelatable", "unlikable"? Cause aside from the NPCs and supporting ones, all the main chars have their uniqe personalities and you can learn a lot about them just by listening to their chattings during missions.

Anyway, these are my thoughts about Sleeping Dogs. Maybe I just don't have those issues with the game like you did. Might as well do a review about it someday.

Other reviews for Sleeping Dogs (Xbox 360)

    It Truly would be a Crime to not play Sleeping Dogs (sorry) 0

    It is safe to say that Sleeping Dogs has had a difficult journey up to it's release. The open-world crime game originally began development in 2008 as part of Activision's True Crime series. It was subsequently canceled 3 years into development, and it seemed that the game would never make it to store shelves. Then in August 2011, publisher Square Enix announced that they would be picking up the title under the new name Sleeping Dogs, scheduled for release in 2012. So now the game is out, which ...

    6 out of 6 found this review helpful.

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