Sleeping Dogs is a gritty cop drama/Kung Fu action flick. You play Wei Shen who’s gone undercover to infiltrate the infamous Hong Kong triad gang, Sun on Yee. The narrative does a good job of making you empathize with both sides of the coin and draws a thin line between right and wrong. It’s well acted with a good voice cast, though a little corny at times. Despite a few slow parts, SD is a fast paced action thriller that’ll keep you hooked till the end.
This is an open world game set in Hong Kong. You’ll find your usual assortment of activities here: fighting dudes, driving missions, escort missions, et cetera. It emulates the top dogs like GTA well enough, but what it excels at is doing something different. The car and on-foot chases are some of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had in a video game. The combat mimics that of the Batman Arkham games, but grittier. You can attack, counter, and even grapple enemies into environmental objects like tables and buzz saws. The shooting mechanics are ok, but the hand-to-hand combat is where it’s at especially once upgraded.
As an open world game, SD has its glitches and hiccups, but it runs great for the most part. The city of Hong Kong breathes life and was an invigorating landscape to explore. The character models are well detailed as well, but I couldn’t get over how shiny everyone was. And like most open world games, there is a ton of side content to explore: karaoke, dates, pedestrian missions, street races, collectables abound, et cetera. It’s a great package, brimming with content. I just wish the music stations were a little better.
This was originally a sequel to the lackluster True Crime series entitled True Crime: Hong Kong. When it was picked up by Square Enix and retitled Sleeping Dogs I didn’t expect much. Needless to say I was truly blown away. Sure, it’s not as well polished or executed as a GTA, or even a Saint’s Row. It does however add something to the genre with it’s pulsating action, gripping story, and invigorating chase sequences. If you’re looking for an excellent open world game and enjoy Asian flicks, then I can’t recommend this game enough.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on August 28, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down. Check out the supporting video review on the accompanying YouTube Channel, ReActionExaminer.