When you start playing, you won’t let Sleeping Dogs lie

When you start playing, you wont let Sleeping Dogs lie

William Voorhees, Staff Reporter

Street races, undercover cops, kung fu; what more could you want from a summer blockbuster?  How about the fact that it’s actually a video game?

Sleeping Dogs is an open world, action-adventure game developed by United Front Games and Square Enix London Studios and published by Square Enix.

Sleeping Dogs is unique because while it has all the aspects of a summer blockbuster, it almost feels like a modern Bruce Lee movie when it comes down to the fighting.  For example, sometimes you have to get through multiple waves of nameless thugs just to get to your real objective.

In Sleeping Dogs, you play as Wei Shen, a detective with the San Francisco Police Department who must go undercover to infiltrate the Sun On Yee, one of the triads (gangs) in Hong Kong.  He does so by meeting up with his childhood friend Jackie Mah, who is a wannabe gangster.  Jackie serves as the sidekick or comic relief character.

The map is divided into four sections: North, Central, Arberdeen, and Kennedy Town.  At the start of the game, North is the only section you have to worry about, but as you progress, the other sections will become relevant.  Once you explore the entire map, you will truly realize how large this version of Hong Kong really is.  If you have a mission on the opposite side of the map, it might be as far as 2500 meters away.  This doesn’t even include the waters around Hong Kong, which house a dozen or so small islands to explore.

In any open world game with a large map, you need some kind of transportation.  Sleeping Dogs offers a wide variety of vehicles in order to get from point A to point B.  You start off with a basic motorcycle in your garage, but if you really want to, you can purchase other cars or motorcycles.  I recommend this, because you will be able to get to wherever you need to go much faster.  If you really don’t want to spend your hard earned cash on a vehicle, you could just steal someone else’s car Grand Theft Auto style.  Also, if you ever see a car/motorcycle that you would like to drive while you are already in one yourself, you can use you Action Hijack ability.  This ability allows you to steal vehicles by jumping out of yours and onto another vehicle, all while driving at ridiculous speeds!

Speaking of ridiculous speeds, one of the coolest things you can do for fun in Sleeping Dogs is take part in street races.  These races take you all over Hong Kong and can give you a different perspective of the layout of the city.  For your first race, you are given a decent class C race car that should allow you to win your first couple of races.  For a lot of the races though, buying faster cars is recommended.  For races, all the cars/bikes you can buy are sorted into classes A through D.  Class A cars are expensive speed demons, while Class D cars are slower and not really meant for racing.

One of the most prominent features in Sleeping Dogs is the combat.  The game has a superb free flow combat system that allows you to fight multiple enemies with ease.  This is comparable to the combat in Batman: Arkham City, where you are not just locked on to one enemy, so you can ward off multiple thugs at once.  Your kung fu is your main weapon throughout most of the game, because guns are a rarity in Hong Kong.  In combat, combos allow you to pull off a vast number of moves like a leg sweep or a spin kick.  You can learn more moves from your kung fu master in exchange for finding some jade statues that were stolen from him.  While fighting, you can counter your opponents’ attacks to avoid damage and take them down at the same time.  This is very helpful after you get the hang of it as it usually keeps you from being overwhelmed by large groups of enemies.

Even though guns are rare, they still play a major role in some combat situations.  The gunplay itself is pretty standard.  You can take cover behind just about anything and you can vault over anything that is short enough.  While vaulting over something, provided you have a gun, you can go into slow motion to get an advantage over the enemy momentarily.  This can be a life-saver when you are pinned down behind cover and need to clear out a room.  Other than that, there is nothing special about the shooter aspects in Sleeping Dogs.

Regarding issues in the game, there really aren’t too many.  Sometimes when you try to back up while you are driving, the camera freaks out and makes it very easy to crash into street lamps, civilians, etc.  This same problem can also happen during fights, where if you get cornered, you can’t see your character.  Also, the story is good, but it seemed a little short.  It was about 20 hours long with various side missions.

To sum it all up, Sleeping Dogs is a spectacular game.  While the story might seem a little short, it is still very well written.  The driving is fun and a great fit for the races that the game offers.  The kung fu is one of the stand out features of the game and it almost never gets old.  There are a few instances when the camera angle can be frustrating, but it never cripples game play.

I think that Sleeping Dogs is a must buy for fans of action packed open world adventures.