Sleeping Dogs. Not exactly the best open world game, but it’s still a really good game
(Spoiler Warning!) It took me a while to do it because I couldn’t get off my lazy behind, but I had finally managed to finish playing Sleeping Dogs a few days ago. Now, I think that sandbox (or open world) games are my favorite kinds of games to play. Since I am an expert sandbox player myself (Audience: (-_-)), I have to say that Sleeping Dogs is a fun game to play, but it still has its share of lackluster qualities.
Okay, let’s start with the Story. So, you’re playing as this undercover cop named Wei Shen, right? And Wei is a pretty likable character. Although, he’s a former gang member, he still has some really good qualities both morally (has great manners, generous, diligent) and physically (can beat the crap out of baddies like there’s no tomorrow! :D). Tasked with infiltrating one of Hong Kong’s biggest Triads, the Sun On Yee (Sun Yee On in real life), Wei encounters decisions that could not only affect his reputable career as a cop, but also his relationship with the gang he used to be a part of. Constantly flung around moments that force him to side with either the Sun On Yee or the HKPD, Wei frequently makes dire choices that impact the story further and further. It’s an okay story, just your typical undercover cop story; I never really felt any tension when I was playing it. Whenever I was about to start a mission I would basically just be excited to see some explosions and gunfights, or stealth and lots of kicking and punching. But that’s a bad sign because a good story has the player dying to see what happens next, and I certainly didn’t feel that way. For an undercover cop story it was a pretty good one, but it was one that had some pretty predictable moments. We can all predict what happens in these kinds stories, right? Some betrayals, a few corrupted cops, gunfights, explosions, expected pivotal deaths, and lots of cliche lines like “No, (*insert random name here*)! Don’t do it!” Overall, it’s not exactly “moving” story-wise, but it’s a story that anybody can enjoy to some extent.
Apart from the story, the game’s Environment and Visuals are actually pretty amazing! With Hong Kong as it’s setting, Sleeping Dogs takes the player to a place where sandbox games don’t normally go. In-game Hong Kong is a vibrant setting, both during the day and at night. How do I know that this place is a well-rendered replica of Hong Kong? Because I’ve been to the real place, and I think I’d know if it was done perfectly or not :). The traffic is bustling, the city lights are structured perfectly, and the people act the way they’re supposed to (especially those street vendor guys). The game has tons of great vistas of Hong Kong and it just feels great to move the camera around while driving to get a good look at the awesome architecture; I felt like I was there again!
The game’s Combat is definitely something you should love as well! One of the reasons why I love the combat of this game – and I think it was really smart of the developers to do this – is that the guys up at United Front Games decided to get help from Rocksteady Studios, noted for their critically-acclaimed Batman Arkham series, in order to incorporate the Arkham series’ combat system into the game. Sleeping Dogs’ combat is so exhilarating because its use of the Arkham combat system makes fighting enemies adaptable when confronted quickly; the same goes for the Arkham games (Arkham City was the best!). The system works like it does in Batman; special combos, picking up items and using them to fight, countering (enemy turns red when you must), and finishing moves. The combos in this game are especially good! The game’s upgrade system (also much like Batman’s) lets you unlock amazing moves to pull off on your enemies. It’s a lot of fun!
Being a critical part of combat, Gunfights are introduced a little while after you start the game. The gunfights were pretty awesome, and the variety of weapons you could use wasn’t bad either. One gunfight feature that I literally used all the time was the “Bullet-Time” feature. Yeah, the gunfights were pretty awesome; shootin’ up thugs, shooting barrels and cars filled with fuel to make things blow up, and getting head shots. The only problem was that the gunfights were way too easy. First of all, the developers spoil the player with the “Bullet-Time” feature, which had an auto-targeting system, making it easy kill enemies in an instant all the time. Second, enemies barely advance on you sometimes. Then, on top of that, when you narrow it down to the last enemy to shoot, you can barely get the guy to come out sometimes. Once again, the gunfights are pretty awesome, but they still have their ups and downs.
Both Character and NPC Dialogue are serious and sometimes funny, but they’re cheap and common. Like I said before, the game’s story is your typical undercover cop story, so what’s an undercover cop story without undercover cop story dialogue? Dialogue like that is serious but can get really cheesy at some points (and this isn’t just for Sleeping Dogs, this is present in all kinds of books, movies, comics, etc. except for some notable exceptions). When encountering NPCs, you realize that dialogue is being re-used relentlessly and not held back as much like in better open world games. I’m not really sure about this either, but I sensed that the writers, when running out of things to say, filled up empty lines with either lots of curse words and threats or Chinese curse words shouted in mid-English sentence.