Ok, first off I’m sorry this review is coming at such a late date. I obviously wasn’t as enamored as some reviewers in the industry are. If you are remotely interested in Sleeping Dogs you have already found out what the basic premise is of the game. I will do us both a favor and skip right over that, if you don’t know the basics this isn’t the review where you’re going to get that information. So let’s dive right in shall we.
What worked? Sleeping Dogs offered a level of violence and gruesome ways to kill the baddies which made me happy on the inside. The graphics during these repetitive but fun fights are enough to keep you enthralled, at least for an hour or two at a time.
The times when you are allowed to use a gun they keep it simple and quick. Truth be known combat in Sleeping Dogs is about hand to hand fighting and not about gunplay. Even still the game offers a bullet time feature which works amazingly well.
The last half of the third act represented what I wish this whole game was. The pace of the story just flew by with one gruesome battle to cut scene to another gruesome battle to cuts scene. The last part of the game kept me engaged with an interesting end to what amounted to an overall boring story.
What didn’t work? Well frankly everything else. This game was not developed with a long gaming sessions in mind. After about two hours of either beating up people, driving cars which don’t handle very well, or playing the main missions which don’t provide what I would call high standard story telling.
Sleeping Dogs offers everything else any other open world game has. Options to upgrade cars, side missions, races, etc… This is one of the main reasons why it fails on so many levels. The developers made an original game but they never reinvented any of the smaller aspects of the game or made them feel original in any way, unless you count car jumping, which in my personal opinion should never be put in a game again.
I found myself halfway through the game not caring about the characters or what was happening to them. On a number of occasions when a cut scene came I grabbed my phone to check my Twitter account. That being said if you can make it to the last half of the third act you will be happy about the fact that you sat through an overall not exciting game.
Even though the martial arts fighting felt satisfying, I couldn’t help but feel as though the control system was rough around the edges. Sleeping Dogs offers a lock on system which is of help because you find yourself in battles against six or more enemies throughout the game. The only problem was once you locked on it was really hard to control which enemy your protagonist was going to fight. This often leads to you wanting to kick the person in front of you but instead your character does an awkward back kick instead.
The ugly part of this game comes with the monotonous side missions which make you run to a back alley somewhere beat up some guys and then use the awful mini game feature to finish it. During the drug bust missions the mini game is a security hack where you get six tries to figure out a four number code. Once you succeed once you know how to do it and after that the whole thing just becomes a waste of time. Another favorite side mission the game offers is you go find a guy who cheated in a car race, beat up his thugs, and then wreck his car with a tire iron. None of which is fun or satisfying.
Sleeping Dogs offered a number of A-list celebrities as voice actors such as Emma Stone, and Lucy Lu. Unfortunately for these actors and actress the script did not give them much to work with as the dialogue is as tired and true as if you were sitting through any number of Hong Kong movies which is based around the Triad and a cop.
So what is my verdict? For as many missteps as Sleeping Dogs has, what the game does right is very fulfilling and rewarding. Considering that we don’t have a release date for GTA V if you need something to bridge the gap Sleeping Dogs will do the trick. My suggestions is to Gamefly it or wait for the price to come down. This is not a $60 buy. If you don’t have those options put in GTA IV or Saints Row and have a go back at it.