If you’ve ever played the True Crime series, you can figure out what Sleeping Dogs is going to offer. Having once been a sequel in said series, it morphed into a game of its own, but does not having a “brand name” under it’s title hurt it? Not at all…
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: Welcome to Hong Kong, a vibrant neon city teeming with life, whose exotic locations and busy streets hide one of the most powerful and dangerous criminal organizations in the world: the Triads. In this open-world game, you play the role of Wei Shen, an undercover cop trying to take down the Triads from the inside. You’ll have to prove yourself worthy as you fight your way up the organization, taking part in brutal criminal activities without blowing your cover. Torn between your loyalty to the badge and the code of the triads, you will risk everything as the lines between truth and honor become permanently blurred.
Sleeping Dogs is an open world game, where you’re undercover cop trying to bring down the ruthless Triads. In doing so, you will steal cars, shoot countless people in the face, work side by side with police, all the way trying to watch your back and oh yeah, sing karaoke.
Story is the biggest draw in Sleeping Dogs. I find that I can get easily sidetracked in open world games, but with Sleeping Dogs, I really enjoyed the story and quickly went through the main missions, while only doing random side missions and beat the game in 15 hours. The missions that involve you working with the cops were a lot of fun, with one involving a serial killer really standing out. The mission had you changing costumes and investigating scenes, but unfortunately it was over before you knew it. However, even though the story is interesting and really kicks into high gear near the end, I do have to say the voice acting could’ve been much better. Even though they have Asian people doing the voices, they all still sound American. However, I did like the mix of English and Chinese.
Sleeping Dogs can be a lot of fun, but it also can drag in areas if you don’t stick with the missions. The city only has so much to offer (karaoke, dating, chicken fights, poker, races) and you may easily grow tired of it. The game also offers some random side missions, which usually consist of chasing down people and beating the crap out of them. These missions will increase your “face” meter, which will unlock clothing options and give you temporary features, such as health increase during fights. Something else that can increase your play time, is the ability to gain XP and spend it on upgrades. Police and Triad missions both give you XP respectively and each has there own unique abilities. The max levels/unlocks is 10.
Sleeping Dogs certainly looks and sounds nice, with a city that is varied and colourful, with several different locations. Licensed music can be heard on the radio as you drive around, but fair warning, driving through the streets of Hong Kong can be a real challenge
thanks to a finicky camera system, that always wants to shift the camera
behind you. This can result in several frustrating moments, when your
being chased by police or other people and the camera is flying all over the place.
In my 15 hour play time (much longer if you decided to do everything), I had some great car chases, killed a lot of people and investigated some real interesting and fun cases. I had some close calls with getting ratted out and was stabbed in the back several times by some ruthless people. It was a wild ride and one that I would be willing to do again. Sleeping Dogs is a fun game, but not without faults. However, don’t let those faults stop you from picking up this game.
Story – 4/5 – An interesting story that keeps building up to an exhilarating conclusion. Lots of twist and turns.
Gameplay – 3.5/5 – Car controls are wonky, thanks to a faulty camera and the on foot controls only have a few problems, such as jumping when you meant to take cover.
Graphics – 4/5 – The game looks great and the city of Hong Kong is varied.
Sound – 3/5 – Voice acting isn’t the best and most sound like they are from America. The mix of English and Chinese is inspired and the licensed music on the radio is nice. Overall (not an average) – 3.5/5 – The game has a fun story, that will take you through several action packed scenes, involving car chases and explosions. You may get tired of the same ol’ same open world antics, but if you stick with the main campaign, you’ll come out liking it.