Sunday, August 26, 2012

HS x VG: Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs, a title formally known as True Crime: Hong Kong.

After Activision had pulled the plug on True Crime 3, Square Enix took the reins, with United Front Games on the development side of things.

Sleeping Dogs is something of an open world, good cop, bad cop game. You play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop who must infiltrate the Sun On Yee, a Hong Kong triad gang, and rise in ranks in order to take them down.

But like all undercover cases in video games, Wei Shen becomes emotionally invested.

This game is basically "Donnie Yen: The Official Video Game"

What I did Like.

Despite this game taking place in Hong Kong, much of the dialogue is scripted in English. That being said, the makers of this game definitely didn’t forget about the Hong Kong fact. Much of the word play was a mixture between English and Cantonese, (don’t worry there were subtitles) at times it did seem a bit forced, but eventually you got used to it.

With the Cantonese, it definitely did help with the feel of the game. Much of the interaction with characters in the game was in English, but as you are running around on the streets, everybody speaks Cantonese.

The voices behind this game were all notable actors. Emma Stone, Kelly Hu, Lucy Liu, James Hong, even Robin Shou (Liu Kang from the Mortal Kombat movies). All solid voice actors, and you can really tell.

I’ve never been to Hong Kong before, but this game seemed to me that it did a bang up job on capturing the environment.

From the posh downtown to the seedy areas, all in a compact world.

You will probably read a lot of reviews mentioning that this game is a GTA clone. And technically it is, but it definitely feels like all the good parts in a GTA game. It’s a combination of Yakuza and GTA in which you have the environment and gameplay of GTA and the fighting mechanics of Yakuza.

While brawling in Yakuza, you utilize the environment a lot. The same went for Sleeping Dogs, albeit, it’s probably five times more brutal. You can grab a guy, drag him to a fan and chuck him into it then watch him get sliced up. My favourite one had to be throwing a guy onto a pallet of swordfish heads. Rugged.

The music in the game was quite good, for it did a great job on capture moods. Not much else you can really hope for with music. I suppose there was the radio as well, a few channels that ranged from Classical Chinese music to UK dance music to classic rock. Different strokes for different folks.

There a few things you can do in this game aside from missions. If it peeks your interest, you can go to a bar and sing karaoke songs or you can find a local street race and win some cash or participate in a fight club.

The story was quite surprising. I didn’t think it would too substantial, but it was the main reason why I kept playing. Like all good games should be. It reminded me of a good Chinese movie. And I’m a damn sucker for Chinese movies.

What I didn’t like.

My inner traditionalist kind of wishes that this game would have been completely Cantonese, with the odd exception of Wei Shen speaking English to his cop subordinates from Interpol, but alas it wasn’t. When they meshed the Cantonese into the English speaking Triad members, it felt really forced.

Pardon my language.

“Dogeyes? He’s a pok guy. That lok chat is worse than puk gai.”

With subtitles on you will see this.

“Dogeyes? He’s a (mother fucker). That (cock) is worse than (shit).”

But luckily, it doesn’t take away from the game too much. You get used to it, and I’m just glad that they kept the Cantonese aspect in the game.

A lot of the side missions were extremely repetitive. Mucho chase sequences, whether it be in cars or on foot. After a while it got pretty old. The first times around it’s a rather exhilarating. Shooting a car while it explodes in slo-mo then jumping from your car to another car to hi-jack it. Not too shabby. But after doing it for 15 times in a row, you get kinda tired of it.

The fighting mechanics in this game took a lot of getting used to. I was still sorta stuck on the Yakuza game play, where it would be: square for attacks and triangle for heavy attacks, but this one it’s square for attacks and hold square for heavy attacks and triangle is counter.

First time around I was jamming square and at the end of the combo I’d hit triangle expecting a heavy attack combo finisher, but what it actually does is, it puts Wei Shen into a defense kinda mode where he will pose, waiting for a baddy to hit you. But if the baddy doesn’t hit you at the right time, it just leaves you open for attack. Kinda sucky.

But like the Cantonese and English meshing, you got used to it. Actually after a while, it wasn’t so bad. I was kinda salty at dying all the time because I was screwing everything up. But as your skills got better, you become unstoppable.

If you’re looking for a game that is something new, definitely check out Sleeping Dogs. It’s not too long of a game if you just do the story, but if you are a completionist and wanna do everything, there’s no doubt in my mind that this game could range up to 30+ hours.

This game does a spot on job on capturing the fictitious seedy world of Hong Kong triads, and it more or less feels like you’re playing a movie. You won’t wanna turn off the game until you figure out the next piece to the story and in my mind that alone is worth the purchase.

Bonus because I like this trailer:


  1. This game was super fun, Compared to Just Cause 2, Saint Row, this was pretty good. Have you played Stranglehold, Jet Li Rise To Honor, Army of Two The 40th Day, Max Payne 3, what is your favorite?

    1. I played Jet Li and Army of Two, both were fun.