Sleeping Dogs is an open world sandbox game from Square-Enix. The game takes place in Hong Kong, and unlike most open world games you play a cop. Don’t worry though, it isn’t a goody two shoes type of cop! You play Undercover officer Wei Shen, who is infiltrating a Triad society called the Sun On Yee.
Sleeping Dog is the “Spiritual successor” to the True Crime games. If you owned a Playstation 2, you most likely played either True Crime: Streets of LA or True Crime: Streets of New York. Sleeping Dogs started it’s life out at Activison / Blizzard as True Crime: Hong Kong, however the game was cancelled for various reasons, and then insteps Square-Enix who bought the rights to the game. They however did not buy the rights to the True Crime franchise, and so the game was renamed Sleeping Dogs.
Now that we are done with the back story of the game, let’s move on to the meat of the matter! The review!
First things first! The graphics are amazing! Probably some of the best that I have seen on a finished console product. Everything from the lighting to the water to the fire looks amazingly realistic. Those are three of the hardest things to create in video games and keep realistic looking, but Sleeping Dogs pulls that off with flying colors.
The cast is all very believable, however since it takes place in Hong Kong, there is a fair bit of Cantonese spoken, although nowhere near as much as you would expect if you were actually in Hong Kong. However, there are subtitles, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue to anybody.
One thing that has become a staple in Open World games, is the car radio! Which makes sense, because usually a fair amount of time is spent in a car, and a person just needs some tunage! Know what I am saying? Well, Sleeping Dogs knows what I am saying, and they gave us car radios as well. Their choices for radio stations and songs playing on them however kind of suck! This is probably the worst collection of “Radio tunes” I have heard in an open world game since GTA3.
The game is actually pretty linear compared to others of the “Open World” genre, in fact I would go so far as to say, that it only gives the ILLUSION of freedom. Most things have to be done in a certain order, however you can explore the entire city right from the beginning. You don’t have to wait for bridges to open up, or anything like that. Just grab yourself a car and explore.
The game naturally has races, which has become standard fare in these types of games, however I usually suck at races, which usually either means I don’t finish the game, or I get bored and move to another game for a few months, the prolonging my completion of the original game. However, unlike other games of this Genre, has the races as side missions. If you love the race missions, do them! If you don’t, just skip em! Brilliant!
Then there is the combat! The game feels like it’s trying to lift the combat style from the Yakuza games and blend them with the newer Batman games. It does a pretty decent job of blending the two, but the combat does become frustrating, since there are a few times, where you get your ass handed to you, and have to go back quite a bit, because Checkpoints are few and far between.
Overall, the game is great! Sure, there’s a few areas that could use some polishing, but nothing that will break the game.
Fun fact though: Some players who research a lot on organized crime, or are familiar with the Chinese Triad, might think the games Triad clan Sun On Yee sounds familiar. The clan is actually a play on the RL Triad Sun Yee On.