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  • Game: Sleeping Dogs
  • Release Date: August 14, 2012
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: United Front Games
  • Genre: Action-Adventure, Open World
  • Platform(s): Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Story/Plot:

Sleeping Dogs’ main character is a man names Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer in the undercover division of his department. The game begins with Shen being part of a drug bust that went bad causing him to run from the police only to be caught and brought to jail. Once in jail, Shen makes contact with an old friend of his, Jackie Ma, who happens to be a part of the Sun On Yee – the most powerful Triad gang in the city. Ma offers Shen a place in the gang upon his release, and soon Shen is brought into a room for questioning. While in the interrogation room Shen tells his supervision officer, Thomas Pendrew, that he now has a connection to the Sun On Yee gang and is set free to explore this opportunity. Shen must keep his true identity away from the police and the Triad now as he struggles with the hardships involved with such a task. If the police find out who he is then his cover will be blown, but if the Sun On Yee find out that he is an undercover cop they will kill him. Wei Shen must fight himself as well as both the police and the gangs of this intensely intriguing game of cat and mouse.

Gameplay:

Sleeping Dogs gives the player an open world environment to explore and play through. The city of Hong Kong is a veritable playground of shops, clubs, gangs, cars, and kung fu. Players will have free reign of the world from the get go, allowing them to either begins with the missions allotted to them or simply drive around and explore what the city has to offer in the way of challenges and fun extras. The combat style featured in the game is hand-to-hand, allowing players to get up close and personal with their enemies. Much like a fighting game, certain moves are mapped to specific buttons on the controller or keyboard and players must pay attention to the environment to counter incoming attacks as well as engage in combat. Eventually the player will have the ability to use guns and other weapons in combat, but most combat opportunities involve the hand-to-hand style, which is done very well and keeps the player on their toes.

Completing challenges and missions will gain the player XP points in either the triad, police, or face categories. Triad points are earned in combat and through triad based missions, police points are earned through a lack in violence and destruction of the city and through police based missions. Face is something completely separate and can be earned at any time. Face ranks are basically like reputation ranks, the more you do to keep your reputation up the more points will be gained. Helping citizens in need around the town as well as performing unique actions will boost your face ranks. These ranks are used to buy cars, clothes, and more – if the players face is not at a high enough rank they will be barred from purchasing certain things until they rank up. Face is also used in combat, performing enough combat actions that result in little to no harm done to the player boosts a face meter. Once that meter is full the player will enter a face mode in which strikes do more damage and health regenerates for a short period of time.

Players can drive around the environment in a plethora of vehicles ranging from fun sports cars, to racing motorcycles, to practical transportation buses. Any car can be stolen from any NPC in the game and used for as long as the player would like. Players can also buy cars to keep in the parking garages scattered throughout the city, allowing them to choose their car at practically any time in the game. As more money is earned, better cars can be purchased and every car salesman in the city has a different selection to choose from.

Visuals/Presentation:

Graphically, this game is very well done. Textures and environments load instantly making the open world look and feel very smooth and fresh. Load times for the game in general are relatively fast considering how much is loaded at one time. Environments are dynamic, everywhere in the city feels different and unique. This gives the player the feeling of being a very large city of new places and destinations as opposed to recycled environments upon overused area clichés. Driving to a location is a flawless transition from area to area, there are no lagging frames or texture loading issues to be found when speeding around the city.

The game features a playlist of various music by various artists through the radio stations, every basic music style is covered giving players a decent variety to choose from based on what they like as individuals. The downside is that there is only a handful of songs per station so players may end up listening to the same songs over and over again. Other sound effects are standard and done as well as any other game. Voice acting is one of the highlights of this game, without feeling forced or cheesy characters convey their feelings flawlessly making them more memorable than your average extra. For a game with quite an awful lot of characters, Sleeping Dogs features a very talented voice acting cast.

Scoring Breakdown:

  • Story/Plot: 8.5
  • Gameplay: 9
  • Visuals/Presentation: 9
  • Length: 15-25 hours
  • Replayablity: Moderate
  • Entertainment Value: High

Final Score:

9