We haven’t really done a review in a while. But Sleeping Dogs was enough for us to feel the obligation to give one to share the enjoyment we had playing it, and to do our part to help give the exposure we feel it deserves.
Most people have heard of the Grand Theft Auto series. Over two decades of Rockstar Games pushing the envelope in content. This has lead to many games in the genre that we may review in the future, such as Saints Row that not only evolved, but did so while making fun of itself in many regards.
Sleeping Dogs, to us, felt special. There was a certain sincerity in character development that wasn’t necessarily felt in other open world games.
The setting of this story is Hong Kong, where you take control of Wei Shin, a Hong Kong police officer brought in from San Francisco, to infiltrate a branch of the Chinese Triad, believing he had certain qualifications. You start of small, running errands for a lieutenant to extort protection money from local business and reclaim territory from a rival sanction.
As you continue to be successful, you slowly gain more respect with the Triad, filling one of three experience bars you have in the game. As you are fulfilling these quest, your obligation to the police force pops up, allowing you to complete story for them and do side missions as well, fulfilling the second of three experience bars. Finally, there is a face meter which is built by doing side missions for random civilians that increases a reputation that allows you to purchase more clothing and the more expensive vehicles.
Unlike some of the other open world games however, guns are rare and the game is built around a martial arts system which many have compared to Batman: Arkham Asylum. It’s also has a simplistic parkour system that allows jumping over or climbing obstacles, in situations of general exploration or chasing after “bad guys?.” I found that using the X-Box One controller on the PC offered me great comfort and control for most of the game, but in the instances that did involve guns, quickly switching to the mouse afforded more control on aiming and increasing my survival in those situations.
As you progress through the story, it becomes apparent that the family that Wei is developing within the triad is becoming important to him but he also has a certain inclination for justice and loyalty to doing the write thing. The story is really the strongest point for us, even though the side content helps break up the monotony and really allow for the exploration of this digital Hong Kong that is not only really expansive, it’s also really immersive.
If open world games are something you enjoy we highly recommend the game, and even if you are not into them or even not familiar with them, give it a shot.