Sleeping Dogs: Infernal Affairs By Way of GTA

E3 2012: This scrappy Activision reject comes out fighting.

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Take Hong Kong-set thriller Infernal Affairs. Throw away the half of the plot about an undercover gangster posing as a cop (you'll only need the half about an undercover cop posing as a gangster). Stir in a blend of skull-cracking martial arts and gunplay from bloodier, shootier Hong Kong action flicks. Pour it into the Grand Theft Auto mould for a free-roaming urban crime adventure. And there you have Sleeping Dogs, the game formerly--more prosaically--known as True Crime: Hong Kong.

Developer United Front redubbed this open-world action game after it was dropped by publisher Activision and picked up, dusted off, and set on its feet once again by publisher Square Enix. Now the name resembles more closely a title from the kind of Hong Kong action cinema it means to emulate (though its title before it was branded a True Crime game, Black Lotus, had the benefit of not suggesting gently dozing pooches, that least dynamic of animal imagery).

You play as Wei Shen, a police officer gone deep undercover as a Triad thug. The city map takes the real layout of Hong Kong and condenses it, renaming districts in the manner of Grand Theft Auto's Liberty city, but maintains a representative mix of buzzy, neon night markets and sleek skyscrapers. It's a straighter portrayal of its subject city than GTA's rendering of New York; United Front hasn't gone after the same kind of satirical slant.

On the streets of Hong Kong, Wei Shen is all things to all players: he shoots, he drives cars and motorcycles, and he shoots things while driving cars and motorcycles. He shops at hawker stalls for stat-boosting snacks. He free-runs down alleys and over obstacles in foot chase sequences, he gives rival mobsters what for in chopsocky hand-to-hand combat, and he sends them to their maker with brutal finishing moves based on bits of nearby scenery.

With these contextual kills, Wei slams enemy heads with car doors, skewers enemy torsos on exposed pipes or hanging meat hooks, or plunges enemy faces into spinning fans or onto scorching stovetops. In a pinch, he can crack skulls against simple walls or on handy close surfaces, but the opportunities for environmental murder abound so richly that this feels like phoning it in. Besides, while grappling, you can steer soon-to-be victims backwards and around the room at comical length, shopping for a juicier killing station, which will be highlighted in red for your convenience.

These accompanying execution animations are wildly brutal and, according to individual levels of bloodlust, may at some point lose their grisly charm. If wince-making gore is what you came for, though, you will be amply catered to. Please see, for instance, one leg-drilling torture scene briefly sampled in a recent trailer.

The niggling feel of certain controls suggests approaching with caution, if not outright curbing your enthusiasm for Hong Kong ultra-violence; the wayward camera requires occasional manhandling in combat, and steering Wei in a sprint is on the heavy side. But Sleeping Dogs might well overcome--with its release due in August, a dead zone for game launches, the game that Activision dropped like a hot rock could yet be a hit.

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Discussion

59 comments
vivalatour
vivalatour

the moderators on gamespot gave me the boot ? all these guys making up crap and starting arguments , and I made up a little story about sleeping dogs not even a bad one at that ! oh well I will get the game soon and will not have to look at most of the childish useless comments anyway ! I sure hope the gun play is better than heard because that's all I have to depend on without a playable demo > bummer !

 all you have fun !

vivalatour
vivalatour

I paid in full w/o even seeing a trailer ! I must of had faith with SE or something ?

 love this kind of game plus 3rd person is my thing !

Killer_73
Killer_73

it will be new as it combines features of both games i think it will be a hit for sure

 

tekkelite
tekkelite

Thank you Activision for dropping this. Thank you Square Enix for picking this up and throwing money at it.  Also, thank you GSP for being GSP.

kozzy1234
kozzy1234

Infernal Affairs trilogy is sooo good, The Departed is also enjoyable (:

 

If this game turns out great it could really be something special.

hrothgar99
hrothgar99

gonna buy this day one ... love it plus it'll be good till gta 5 comes out :D

gaybe24
gaybe24

if its like true crime nyc its a definite buy i love that game But i hope it dosent have as many glitches.

UnaSolida
UnaSolida

why does everyone think Activision dropped the ball if they made it it would suck.

GreenBlunter
GreenBlunter

Hopefully more like GTA and less like true crime, except the first one, that one I enjoyed :)

gamergath
gamergath

Would definitely love to play this game. I wonder, if you can change clothes, play side missions like drive cabs and drive planes. Wonder? Hmm.

alexLmx6
alexLmx6

The demo was pretty fun, but it's the kind of gameplay that feels like it will get old pretty fast.  There was no shooting or driving though, so I deff want to give the final product a go.

Mifflinite45
Mifflinite45

This game looks really awesome. Love the setting and characters

jch123
jch123

Pretty pumped for this game, it looks less like a gta clone, rather more of a mix of Assassins creed, GTA, The Departed and Need For Speed. A potent mix I think and no one has ever done Hong Kong before on this generation. Should be really interesting. 

tevic
tevic

Yes Jane, but Sleeping Dogs is an open-world game and that alone makes it more exhilarating that 99% of the linear games.

tevic
tevic

Looks great.

QrGmNcShip016
QrGmNcShip016

They Should've just called this Game "Shen-Mui 3"....ooh well

CUDGEdave
CUDGEdave

Looks pretty poor to be honest,How many times in games that you have a "driving shootout" It's a little old hat also "Bullet time" is getting a bit stale now.

mrjoe_94
mrjoe_94

This would be a nice middle finger to Activision if it sells well. Anything that involves middle fingers to Activision I support entirely. It's icing on the cake that I've wanted this game since it was first announced as True Crime: Hong Kong.

theCCyberDDemon
theCCyberDDemon

So... i dindt get it well. This is True Crime or not?

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

totally looking forward to this game hopefully it does well and turns all the haters back to eating there words when it releases!!

johnny_pay
johnny_pay

not really infernal affairs if you lose the bit about the undercover gangster, just soundss like another undercover cop game. dont get it twisted i am looking forward to this game.

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

This game just doesn't look polished enough.  I really want to be excited for this type of game, but it probably needs over a year of more work put into it.

gamerx100
gamerx100

i am in, looks very nice and different enough to give a chance. sick of all those prequals/sequals, lets support this new ip and buy it.

JFERNANDEZ84
JFERNANDEZ84

This game shows lots of promisses.Nice article, Jane. Congrats.. 

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

The biggest thugs in Hong Cong are the crooked politicians and bankers. The Triads came from poor street kids who were fucked over by the true thugs(politicians, cops, bankers) who hold high places.  This is why most military and cop games make me sick to play. I think I'll pass and wait for GTA 5.

p0rkch0p3xpr3ss
p0rkch0p3xpr3ss

Played it at E3.  Solid combat but the open world (at least in that playable portion) was very closed.  Very linear path through the streets - no short cuts/side streets/alleys

 

Then again, maybe that's what Hong Kong is actually like.

ElJefeDeMedios
ElJefeDeMedios

nah.  I'll just re-play GTA IV during the lead in to the big Q4 game releases.

Sevrun
Sevrun

August isn't a deadzone for gaming releases for me...  I've already got two August releases on my schedule and can only afford one.  looks like the Sleeping Dogs will just have to be a rental.

HailHellfire
HailHellfire

"Theres always time for a little ultra-violence"

jazilla
jazilla

why would i buy a game from ActiVision when they just settled a law suit with over 40 employees for taking royalties from them and firing them after trying to stage a fake fumigation and fake fire drill so they could hack their computers? Answer: I won't. They won't get a dime from me until they prove that they will fire the people responsible and start over with people of integrity.

BrunoBRS
BrunoBRS

that preview saddens me, it seems there are some issues on the controls side of things :/

 

still looking forward to it.

hollyfreak
hollyfreak

Yakuza was one my favourite series as well , you get to free roam around busy streets in Japan doing all sorts of activities ,had intriguing storyline , focusing on brutal melee battles(my favourite part ,more brawling ,less gun shooting) .Yes the game world is small compared to GTA or others open world games ,but they are large enough for me to enjoy it ,as the interactable shops & mini-games & side missions are all placed closely together , I actually don't find  it fun driving through huge city & highways in those sandbox games just to get to the next mission waypoint )Now Sleeping dogs is like yakuza with all the busy streets(again,I'd prefer a small street that filled with all sorts of activities rather than widely spreading out all those interactivies across a big empty city that needs long driving in between ) ,but it also has a mix of the basic formulae of those huge open world games (with all those long distance driving around...which still could be fun with all the highspeed hijacking) & most importantly , hong kong action movies settings with brutal martial arts brawling & gun fights ...it's good to see some asian gangster in action than the mainstream western gangster action for a change

 

DurdenBR
DurdenBR

I remembered Yakuza, from PS2, that was a good game, predicting a gamespot grade for this game, based on Jane Douglas, it's nothing more than 7,5. But i think that most players will like it (me included), who wouldn't like a GTA kind but with stunning fighting and in a different setting ?

Jmoolah95
Jmoolah95

 @GreenBlunter But this IS True Crime not GTA....sometimes I wonder if people use their brains or not.

MtnD0
MtnD0

 @GreenBlunter No offence but you said "more like GTA and less like true crime" wouldn't that be "more like true crime instead of gta". If the developer's went the way you said it then the game WOULD be gta but by another um...well...developer. It wouldn't be true crime at all.

roganth
roganth

 @theCCyberDDemon

 It was True Crime:Hong Kong but Activision sold the game to Square Enix.  Activision did not sell the rights to the name 'True Crime' though so SE changed the name and modified the story.

williebazerka
williebazerka

 @p0rkch0p3xpr3ss

 I picture this like a GTA type of game but since you played it am I wrong to think this? I want it any ways but was just wondering.

Sevrun
Sevrun

 @jazilla   Boss, this isn't an Activision game.  Activision dumped it when it shut down the True Crime series.  Pay attention to what you're reading sometime.

Whitebloodsun
Whitebloodsun

 @jazilla

 Because this game was published by Square Enix who pick it up after it was kicked out by evil Activision?

trollkind
trollkind

 @tomgrewer We should be able to downrate users and their font becomes smaller and smaller when their score goes deeper into the negative. If only such a peer system wouldn't be exploited and ruined by trolls and fanboys/girls.

Jmoolah95
Jmoolah95

 @Darkhearted91 No matter what people will believe this game is still True Crime regardless. Square Enix just finished what Activision started and put some of their own stuff in there. If you played True Crime Streets of L.A. you would know this game is still and will always be True Crime.