The game that was to be known as True Crime: Hong Kong but was unceremoniously cancelled by then publisher Activision, is now reborn as Sleeping Dogs. The game, developed by United Front Games and published now by Square Enix, stars Wei Shen, an undercover cop that is sent to infiltrate the Triads. The plot of Sleeping Dogs plays out like and undercover cop story would. You go in with one set of ideals and throughout the story you bond with the criminals that you are meant to bring in. Loyalty and morality are then called into question. Its nothing any fan of gangster movies hasn’t seen before but it is entertaining enough to keep you playing.
Sleeping Dogs plays out like every other open world game. There are the main missions (for both the Triad and Police) that you complete in order to advance the story. Along with these main mission are as side activities (like street races, fight clubs, and cock fighting) that serve as fun distractions. All missions help advance your characters abilities. For example, if you perform a cop side mission (like setting up a drug sting) you gain cop experience, which you can use to upgrade your shooting abilities. Performing criminal activities gets you Triad experience that you can use to upgrade your hand-to-hand abilities. Lastly, there is a third way to tailor your character in the form of Face experience. Performing favors for the random citizens of Hong Kong will increase this meter and allow you to receive certain perks (like having a valet bring you a vehicle no matter where you are) or wear certain clothing.
Melee combat in Sleeping Dogs is quite fun. Very similar to the Batman: Arkham games, Sleeping Dogs’ melee combat features a main attack that can be used for a variety of simple combos, a counter attack that must be timed properly to be effective and a grab attack which can be used to initiate horrific environmental attacks. The shooting however leaves a bit to be desired. It feels slow and clunky in comparison to the melee combat. More often than not I would just abandon the pistol I was using and make due with my fists of fury (sorry, I had to get some sort of Bruce Lee reference in here).
The game isn’t without its bugs but in my play through they were minor and not game breaking. And while the script doesn’t have the best dialogue, the performances are actually pretty decent. Overall Sleeping Dogs is a very solid game and a nice alternative to Grand Theft Auto. If you’re a fan of sandbox style games, Sleeping Dogs certainly will not disappoint.
image via pocket-lint.com