Sleeping Dogs Review
Varied missions, hard-hitting melee combat, and a captivating setting make Sleeping Dogs an enjoyable escapade.
- Savage melee combat
- Alluring atmosphere
- Fun driving and gunplay
- Varied missions
- Numerous collectibles to hunt down and other enjoyable diversions.
- Unattractive character models and environmental textures.
What does it take to survive as an undercover cop who infiltrates one of Hong Kong's most ruthless criminal organizations? If Sleeping Dogs is any indication, it takes martial arts prowess, good marksmanship, driving skill, a reckless willingness to leap from one speeding vehicle to another, and the confidence to sing karaoke. None of the individual elements in Sleeping Dogs are best-in-class, but they're all thoroughly enjoyable, and the structured story missions have you switching from one type of action to another frequently enough that you're never tired of what you're doing at any given moment. Additionally, the fictionalized version of Hong Kong where Sleeping Dogs takes place is an exotic and atmospheric setting for this tale of conflicting loyalties; you probably wouldn't want to live amid the ruthless criminals who populate the game's cast, but this world sure is a nice place to visit.
You play as Wei Shen, a Hong Kong native who has returned after spending some time in the States. Driven by a desire to avenge his sister's death, he accepts a dangerous assignment to infiltrate the Sun On Yee triad and help take them down from the inside. Starting out on the lowest rungs of the criminal ladder, he rapidly climbs up through the ranks, behaving in ways that sometimes make his triad cohorts suspect he's a cop and sometimes make his police superiors think he's getting too attached to his brothers in crime. It's a typical tale of an undercover cop possibly getting in too deep, and the story doesn't have any surprises in store for you. But solid voice acting and writing that convincingly blends English and Cantonese make it a narrative that's more than capable of supporting the gameplay, providing context for many a dramatic mission and building up to a cathartic climax that's bloody enough to be taken right out of one of John Woo's Hong Kong action films.
Sleeping Dogs is an open-world game, but it doesn't start out by setting you free. The opening chapters keep you on a tight leash as they introduce you to the basics of movement and melee combat, which is good, since that combat plays a huge role in the game as a whole. Taking its cues from the standard-setting brawling of Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel, this combat has you unleashing combos and using timed button presses to counter enemy attacks. Wei's attacks look and feel powerful, and the bone-breaking animations may often make you squirm and make your enemies flinch.
But what sets Sleeping Dogs' combat apart from games with similar systems is the emphasis on environmental attacks. In most places where you find yourself needing to clobber some fools, you can drag enemies to certain objects around you and use these things to finish them off. These environmental finishers range from the relatively restrained old standby of tossing a thug into a dumpster, to the much more original and brutal attack that has Wei impaling an enemy on a swordfish head. There's a good assortment of these attack opportunities throughout the game, and a number of chances for you to make your own fun with the environment, too. Tossing an enemy from the upper level of a swanky club to the level down below isn't, strictly speaking, one of the game's contextual environmental attacks, but don't let that stop you from doing it. It's empowering and effective.
The early stages also introduce you to some of the atmospheric pleasures of this fictional Hong Kong. People believably appear to go about their business; cooks fry things up in restaurants, merchants hock their wares at the marketplace, and dancers perform at a street festival. What's absent from the behavior of non-player characters is almost as important as what's present. Strangers can sometimes be overheard discussing story events, but they don't constantly call out to you as if their existences revolved around you. (They do, of course, but it shouldn't seem like they do.) Unfortunately, close inspection can shatter the illusion. Character models look like plastic dolls when viewed up close, and some gestures characters make are rigid and unnatural.
But Sleeping Dogs is more about wide-angle, big-picture atmosphere than about close-ups. The skyline gleams with towering skyscrapers. Neon signs hang from every available outcropping on busy streets, crowding the air above you with glowing Chinese characters. This city may not be accurately modeled on the real Hong Kong, but it nonetheless has a powerful identity, and while you're playing, you feel transported to this dangerous land. Collectibles scattered across the island make exploring it worthwhile as well as enjoyable; finding health shrines increases your maximum health, while blue lockboxes hidden all over the place reward you with cash and sometimes with new items of clothing.
Once you complete the first few missions, you're free to explore the island as you see fit. But Sleeping Dogs is an open-world game in which you're sure to enjoy the structured missions more than the opportunities for free-form mayhem. It's fun for a while to run around jump-kicking people to death, or fatally tossing them off of three-foot-high railings. However, unlike other games in the genre like Just Cause 2 and Saints Row: The Third, which reveled in giving you ways to wreak incredible havoc on your own, Sleeping Dogs is at its best when you're playing through the story. Missions typically string together a number of activities, switching from one type of action to another frequently enough to keep you on your toes and ensure that you never get tired of what you're doing.
Got to play this game with the PS+ monthly offer and it is a very under rated/under appreciated game. I dont know how it never got my attention
@Faster_Bill You need a HD tv dude,or a next gen gaming system...LOL
Looks like last generation game. Not only characters models, but movements, animations. It all looks like this game was made for PS2. It might have good story and all, but I doubt that. Most games where developers did not put enough effort to make it looks good usually are not good at all.
Basically, Carolyn have very different taste than I do... Sometimes one little detail is making whole game wonderful for her. Well... I'm no professional reviewer but for me score should consider game as a whole package and not just few good/bad elements.
This game is definitely not on my list. Too familiar, too ugly...
@Faster_Bill Your'e flat out wrong. The graphics are really good, especially for a open world game. Have you even played it? It seems not. Everything about the game is solid.
@Faster_Bill PS2 graphics...are you serious?? I doubt you've even played the game. You say you should consider the game as a whole package not just a few elements yet contradict yourself by only basing it on the graphics, that you don't like and you don't say much else...Nice review! You're right you're not a professional reviewer, don't quit your day job!
Hey Faster_Bill I understand what you are saying" It's not that bad, It's other games out there look worst then Sleeping Dogs.
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@Leefx You have not forgotten enough to refrain from posting drivel about someone else though.
This reviewer is the reason why I stop visiting gamespot, freaking horrible! Only got this link thru metacritics and just my luck he's the reviewer -_-
I must laugh at the logic of some new generation of gamers. 8-9 = good game, while everything below is bad. Really...? Back in the days when review scores were harsher, hit games would still get around 6 and so and still people would buy them.
"Unattractive character models and environmental textures" , does she mean the graphic is not good??
@tjhengky Unless you have the PC version which has been confirmed to have better graphics.
@tjhengky it means she's not attracted to asian guys.
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Gamespot is great at reviews...but this one....ok...but It deserves a little higher of a score. And as for IGN...how in the HELL...do they rate Darksiders I a 7.8...but they rate DS 2 a 7.5???? WTF??
@thom_maytees The score can go f*** itself up the butthole, this was a fantastic review!
@thom_maytees are you kidding?8 was supposed to be a spectacular score sometime ago before GS abused it and higher score for titles non deserving.This game did just fine and everything from 8 and above is a wonderful game and a worthy buy in my agenda.
@thom_maytees look at other review sites, gamespot gave one of the lowest reviews yet
@Colbat45 I know you said this 9 hours ago as of now, but GameSpot's score is actually right around the average score, again, as of now. And 8 is a great score anyway, especially for a game that almost didn't even become a game in the first place because it wasn't "good enough".
Great review. Loving the Game and everything it has to offer. Between this and max Payne 3 my John woo/ bullet time action fun itch has been scratched.
@chooby87 I swear, this game has so much nostalgia. Its so refreshing to see a game that tries something different
- Player Reviews: 26
- Game Universe:
- Sleeping Dogs (X360, PS3, PC),
- Sleeping Dogs: Street Racer Pack (PC, X360, PS3),
- Sleeping Dogs: Swat Pack (PC, X360, PS3),
- Sleeping Dogs: Top Dogs Pack (PC, X360, PS3),
- Sleeping Dogs: Retro Triad Pack (PC, X360, PS3),
- Sleeping Dogs: High Roller Pack (PC, X360, PS3),
- Sleeping Dogs: Tactical Soldier Pack (X360, PC, PS3),
- Sleeping Dogs: Community Gift Pack (PC, X360, PS3),
- Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point (X360, PS3, PC),
- Sleeping Dogs: Dragon Master Pack (X360, PS3, PC)