Sleeping Dogs Review
Sleeping Dogs takes you to the streets of Hong Kong as a police officer trying to weasel his way into the ranks of one of the biggest Triad organizations. What could go wrong, right? You play the part of Wei, a guy who has a past with a lot of the now in power Triad members. Can you rise through the ranks and help bring down the organization?
Graphically this game is basically on par with the latest Grand Theft Auto. I say that because the game is basically GTA, but kind of not. The different areas that you'll be navigating in all have a distinctive look, and they all have that aged effect as well. It's a dirty city, filled with corruption and crime, and it shows. There of course will be a ton of enemies out there who will look like they are part of a quadruplet gang, but we'll just have to ignore that. You'll also have a wide selection of vehicles ranging from cars, motorcycles, and boats.
The voice work was amazing, but there was an issue with it, and that was that they had some big names attached to this game, but in all those big names had very small parts that quickly came and went in the overall game. None of them really had important roles in the story, they were more like optional pieces to the game. It was interesting to listen to "Hong Kong Radio" and after awhile it just blended into the background, though there were times where I was in a very intense moment in the game and I had to hijack a car only to discover that the radio was set to classical music, and not the stormy kind but the light hearted frilly stuff, which made the chase scenes seem quite odd.
The controls were solid, and they needed to be. You see unlike GTA where your main way of attack is going to be weapons, you're going to be relying HEAVILY on your hand to hand fighting skills. You'll be dealing out punches, kicks, counters, and grabs. Sure there are times where you'll have a weapon but most of the time the buttons are going to stay the same, unless you are lucky enough to stumble upon a gun, that will require the trigger buttons.
So this was an interesting game simply for the fact that it was GTA, but wasn't. I have to say that I did enjoy the more hand to hand combat feel, and the special moves you can unlock as the game goes on. You can gain these moves by returning stolen statues to your old dojo. There's a ton of side missions in this game as well. You can be a street racer, you can be a brawler, you can gamble on tiles, and you can gamble on cock fights. There's also quite a few "help a cop out" missions that you can also take part in, but the main mission is to help the HKPD (Hong Kong Police Department) take down the Triads to try to make the streets safer. Well that was the plan at first, but things will change, things will happen, and of course some twists will occur. I enjoyed the story, and thought it was well done, but as I stated before there were some big names added to the voice list, but they were present and then gone in a heartbeat. Ironically it was basically all your love interests. The odd thing was that you got to go on one date each with them, and then they disappeared forever, which I found a bit odd.
So lets talk about some of the issues in the game, real quick. First off I hated dealing with the camera when it came to riding motorcycles, no matter what I did the camera would move all over the place and disorient me, and I usually would crash before getting very far. Now this only starts when you first drive the bike, this isn't something that is going to happen constantly. Another thing that bothered me was that there were times when I had a gun on me, but then I went to do something, a side mission, or go to sleep, and then magically the gun was gone. There are definitely parts of the game that you're going to want to have a gun, and to have it just randomly disappear can really suck.
Alright and now back to some of the mechanics of the game. There's also a piece of the game where you can go to known drug exchange locations and attack a certain number of people to clear the place out. You can then hack the camera, and go back to your place and point out the dealer which will send cops in and cause that location to no longer serve drugs. The thing is that there were times where trying to beat the guys was a nightmare because where there are 6 guys standing around you really have to take down 18 of them who magically just keep showing up, and once you hit that magic number, any other guys who were fighting you just decide to leave. Now the hacking part was kind of entertaining, you're going to be using a unique 4 digit code to hack the camera, and you'll get so many tries to find out the numbers and their placement in the 4 different slots. I know most of us have played that type of game, so it came naturally.
There were also areas that had bad guys camped out where they were guarding a locked briefcase. Once you've defeated those guys you might find that the case was unlocked, or you might find that you're going to get to use the safe cracking software that is conveniently on your phone. Speaking of phone apps, you'll also get to use it to triangulate phone calls to find people to further your investigation, and you'll also be using it to fine tune bugs that you'll be placing to try to pick up dirt on people of interest.
Overall I had a lot of fun with this game, and even though I had a part time not doing property damage during missions (that takes away from your COP score for the mission), the game was good from start to finish. Crap I said COP score, so real quick when you go on missions there's a COP score, and a TRIAD score, you'll be wanting to score as high as you can on both so that you can unlock bonuses for your character such as unlocking cars without setting off the car alarm, or the ability to disarm your opponent. So basically like any game you're trying to to achieve perfection so that most of the game opens up to you and makes life a bit easier (especially when you max out the COP stuff, then you can walk up to any cop car and pull guns out).
Alright so here's the deal, if you are a GTA fan and are looking for something a bit different, this game is definitely for you. If you're the kind of guy who likes third person shooters with a bit of a challenge set in an open-ish world, you might want to check this game out. If you don't like violence, I'm not even sure why you would be interested in this game. So in the end this game gets an 8.2 out of 10.