Sleeping Dogs Story Trailer
Sleeping Dogs: Official story trailer.
Sleeping Dogs: Official story trailer.
Everything you need to know about Sleeping Dogs!
Check out a walkthrough of the police investigations mission in Sleeping Dogs.
If you’re a fan of Chinese crime movies like Hong Kong Bronx, Wise Guys Never Die, or Confession of Pain, then you’re in for a treat with United Front Games’ Sleeping Dogs. This game, originally developed as part of the True Crime series, was scrapped by Activision, and almost didn’t see a release until Square Enix bought the rights to the title and decided to market it as a brand new IP. Turns out, this was a great decision. Sleeping Dogs, available on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, is an engrossing if slightly flawed action game with a gripping storyline and plenty of content to keep you busy for hours of playtime.
In Sleeping Dogs you play as Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer who has returned to China after a long stint working in San Francisco. Based in Hong Kong, Shen is assigned to infiltrate Sun On Yee, a ruthless triad gang. This assignment proves to be a toughie, testing Shen’s loyalties as well as his personal morals. Shen has a deep sense of justice motivated by his sister’s tragic drug-related death, and so his commitment to the police force is, in theory, absolute; however, as he becomes increasingly involved with Triad activities, he begins to develop a kind of understanding for the criminals’ motivations, while also discovering that the law enforcement agencies he works for are not as squeaky clean as he’d originally thought. As players progress through Sleeping Dogs, they’ll witness Shen learn that in Hong Kong’s seedy criminal underbelly, nothing is black and white. Seriously, I’m making it sound kind of clichéd, but the storyline really is totally awesome: if I talked too much about it, I’d spoil all the surprises!
Sleeping Dogs’ gameplay is a lot like Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto series. Shen runs around in an expansive open world, hijacking cars, shooting random people, and generally causing a ruckus. That’s if you’re me playing the game, anyway… If you actually want to beat this game, prepare to do a lot of running or driving around fetching and delivering stuff to people. Luckily, experiencing this tedious and played-out approach to open-world game design is totally worth it just to see the contours of the game’s twisting narrative unfold. There are plenty of side missions, mini-games and other gimmicks to keep you entertained, too, including a terribly designed but kind of hilarious karaoke minigame, street fights, and best of all, cockfighting. Normally I’m not down for this kind of cruelty to animals shit, but it’s kind of funny when the chickens aren’t actually real: my rooster, Sun Tzu, absolutely dominated the competition, sending Dou Gai An running home to his chicken-mama. PETA wouldn’t be pleased.
Beyond rooster-based combat, there’s a ton of legit fighting in Sleeping Dogs too, and it’s one of the most fun parts of the game. There are so many crazy violent ways to kill people, ranging from throwing them into wood chippers, to grinding them up in wall fans, to my personal favourite, the ol’ “impale someone on a conveniently placed pile of severed swordfish heads.” YEAH. YOU CAN MAKE THAT HAPPEN. This game was actually surprisingly creative in its approach to violence, seemingly inspired by sleeper hit MadWorld on Wii. Sleeping Dogs has a pretty in-depth hand-to-hand combat system. Shen can bring his old friend Sifu Kwok animal statues in exchange for martial arts lessons, substantially expanding his combat repertoire and enabling the cop to break his enemies in increasingly brutal ways. The gunplay is fun too, with each weapon feeling realistic and powerful, but hand-to-hand combat just seems more appropriate and engaging in most situations.
Driving is also a big part of the game, and thankfully, it’s done well. There are a large variety of vehicles to choose from—just walk up to one, drag the person out the door, and away you go—and they handle really nicely. Cars aren’t just used to get from A to B, either: obviously you can use them as weapons, but there are also racing sequences in the game that are actually surprisingly fun. It’s kind of weird that Shen’s cop bosses don’t care about the masses of “collateral damage” incurred during his helter-skelter road trips around the city, but that’s probably for the best.
Honestly, Sleeping Dogs is an all-around great game. The storyline is as complicated and layered as any season of The Wire, the gameplay is tight and compelling, and there’s a ton of content stuffed into this package as a whole. If I have any complaints, it’s that the dialogue and voice acting can both be a little cheesy at times.Some of the sound effects in the menu screens are insanely hokey. I get that this game is set in China, but do I really need to hear clashing gongs all the time? Considering the abundance of gongs, there’s very little Chinese dialogue, with many characters delivering super hammy Charlie Chan-style English lines. The characters look a bit weird, too, definitely a case of “the Uncanny Valley” effect: pretty much every girl I went on in-game dates with looked like she’d been dipped in wax, and the animations are at times reminiscent of Thunderbirds puppets, especially during cutscenes.
Despite these ultimately insignificant flaws, Sleeping Dogs is a highly successful video game, and it would have been a real shame if Square Enix had let it fall by the wayside. I’d make a joke about not letting Sleeping Dogs lie… but that would be lame. But I guess I just did it. Augh. Z-Score escape! 84/100. Not a perfect game, but definitely a lot of fun and worth checking out.