[Review] Sleeping Dogs

Have you ever wanted to play a Hong Kong action movie?

Here’s your chance. Sleeping dogs is an open world action game based in Hong Kong. I hate saying it, but it’s like GTA but in china. You play as an under cover cop named Wei Shen. Wei grew up in Hong Kong and eventually moved to the states. At some point he became a police officer and now he’s being sent back to Hong Kong under cover to take on the Triads. When Wei returns he finds that some of the people he knew growing up now have positions of power within the Sun On Yee. This makes him perfect for being undercover but everybody wonders if he’s taking his assignment too personally. You’ve seen this type of story before but don’t let that dissuade you. It’s an interesting story that keeps you moving through the game. The unique and foreign setting is something I really like about Sleeping Dogs. The game started development in 2008 and was part of the True Crime series but was eventually cancelled, but in 2011 Square Enix picked it up and renamed it Sleeping Dogs. It’s considered a spiritual Successor to the True Crime series.

Forget Dogeyes, you work for Winston now.

Wei meets his old friend Jackie in a holding cell and introduces him to the guy he works for, Winston the leader of their gang. He starts out being a low level grunt, strong arming people on their turf and eventually earns the respect of the gang. It feels like Wei becomes Winston’s right hand man. Wei works his way through the Sun On Yee from there.

The gameplay is similar to other games in this category( GTA, Saints Row, etc..) but its the setting and the martial arts fighting that sets it apart. See, guns in Hong Kong are harder to come by so a majority of the game is played without pulling a trigger. And I really like that because the fighting is so much fun. It’s pretty much the same system that’s used in the Batman Arkham series, where you have striking, countering and grappling. It’s pretty easy and fun with lots of combo moves and a lot of environmental attacks (like throwing guys in dumpsters, slamming their head in the door of a near by car, kicking them into a telephone booth). The variety of moves and environmental attacks keeps it from getting repetitive. Wei can also do a bumping move while driving which is useful for taking out cop cars, and he can do a crazy move where he jumps from the car he’s driving onto another and start driving that one! Fearless.

“Fish balls! Get you fish balls, right here!”

There’s lots of food vendors around the city selling various types of food which give you different buffs like reduced damage, extra damage, and health regeneration. And remember… “A man who never eats pork bun, is never a whole man.” Words to live by.

You earn experience from doing missions and other activities but there’s two kinds. Cop experience and Triad experience. So at the end of missions you get a cop and triad score and then an amount of experience based on that score. The cop score starts at its highest and then points get subtracted based on things that you do during the mission, like property damage, killing innocents, stealing cars, and the triad score starts at zero with you earning points from doing things like using heavy strikes, taking out opponents and etc.. When you level up you cop level or triad level you get to put a point into a skill tree. Wei also has a face meter. This is basically is how well known he is in the community. It allows you to buy new clothes and cars. You earn face by doing favors for people.

There’s no shortage of things to do in this game.

A side from the main story missions, there are police side missions, collectibles to find around the city like health shrines that increase your health bar when you collect enough, races, cock fights, fight clubs and shopping. Just like any other open world game there’s tons of fun to be had just goofing off and messing with the cops. Which by the way are pretty stupid. You can get away with a lot right in front of a cop in this game. The general public is pretty dumb too. Drivers will honk endlessly if they are blocked and they’ll go out of their way to try to get around something or someone. They’ll slam into other cars, run people over… Its fun to mess with traffic. I usually stop my car in the middle of the road when getting out just to hear the people complain and honk their horns.

The radio stations are pretty varied but I pretty much only listen to rock/metal so the one station that played it was about all I ever listened to. I wish you could make custom stations with music you have on your computer (or console). The lack of mod support really disappoints me. I can imagine some really great mods for this game. Missed opportunity.

If you love these types of open world games and are tired of the GTA gang games, give sleeping dogs a try. It’s like a breath of fresh air, some thing different and a good different in the sea of open world action games. You should go play it. There is a Definitive Edition available that includes all the DLC and some better looking graphics. If your interested and haven’t played it before I’d say that’s the version to get.

Oh and for some reason, I really like driving my car places it really shouldn’t be…

Like through the doors, up the stairs and parked in front of the door to my apartment… with some thug i beat up and threw in the trunk. This game is great.

-Wickk

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