Sleeping Dogs is a game that survived a name change AND the fires of cancellation to provide players with some triad punching, undercover cop, open world gameplay. Of course, there’s more to the game than this, as the game follows the story of Wei Shen, an undercover police officer who has been tasked with infiltrating a group of Chinese Triads. The game combines parkour running, close combat fights and a new form of moral compass to provide an all-round immersive experience.
The team at United Front Games have outdone themselves with the world of Sleeping Dogs, as the studio’s take on Hong Kong allows players to explore an expansive area filled to the brim with missions, side quests and collectables. It really adds to the experience that the world is so populated with activity, as it makes exploration a lot more bearable than titles that decide to send you to opposite ends of the city each mission.
The transport system adds to this a bit, as parkour running and the ability to steal vehicles make it all the easier to navigate from A-B. The parkour system is particularly cool, as it lets you jump over any obstacle that blocks your path, be it a shop stall, or a really high wall. This system makes for sun fun gameplay sequences, which tie in well with the undercover cop sequence as you find yourself chasing bad guys through the streets of Hong Kong in an awesome parkour manner.
Sleeping Dogs incorporates an upgrade system that allows players to further their “cop” and “triad” abilities. The system is an interesting one, which links directly to the way you play the game, for example – If you’re good and go about your missions without hurting innocents, you’ll be able to further your cop skills, which improve your fire-arm usage. On the other-hand, if you feel like killing a bunch of innocent people, you’ll find yourself boosting your triad score, which comes in handy if you’re a fan of the game’s close combat system!
Combat in Sleeping Dogs finds an even split between close combat and gun-play. If anything, the game’s combat presents a reverse-favouritism, as gun-play takes a back seat to the games superior close combat system. actually found myself somewhat surprised when playing Sleeping Dogs, as the fluidity of combat was to a similar standard of an Arkham, or Assassin’s Creed title. The combat system offers a wide range of moves that allow you to punch, grab and slam enemies at your will. You can even pick people up and run them along counters, taking them out with the contents of a shop shelf!
It’s the game’s highly interactive environment and the way you can do little things like throw people along shelves that make for a highly immersive title. I often find myself getting annoyed when games have meaningless objects that suddenly become invincible despite my ability to destroy just about everything else. Fortunately, Sleeping Dogs doesn’t have this issue, as the gamespace provides an all around immersive experience. Combine this with the game’s added touches of Hong Kong and you might even forget you’re not actually there!
This immersion is pushed even further by the game’s graphical presentation, as the game really does have that super slick Square Enix vibe. I actually found myself cringing at a few points in the game as graphic scenes were presented in a rather graphic manner, but were awesome all the same! Combine this with the game’s a-list voice cast, which includes Emma Stone and Lucy Liu, and you have a pretty awesome game.
Overall, I think it’s safe to say that Sleeping Dogs was worth the wait. Square Enix definitely did the gaming world a massive favour when they saved this title from cancellation. Everything from the game’s smooth combat system, to its parkour navigation provide players with a high standard of gameplay that is captivating from start to finish.