Sleeping Dogs is developed by United Front Games and is definitely a game you must play if you haven’t already. You can get the definitive edition for PC on Steam here. It may be an old game, but it definitely still holds up.
Sleeping Dogs follows the story of Wei Shen, an undercover cop who is infiltrating the Triads in Hong Kong and attempting to take them down. It feels like you’re playing through a good ol’ martial arts movie. The story is encapsulating, which honestly would have been rather generic and could have easily been dismissed were it not for the level of performance the voice actors gave. They even got Lucy Liu in the game!
As an undercover cop, you will be leveling up two factions simultaneously as you play: Cop and Triad (who would have guessed?). Each faction offers different branches with different skill sets. Sure, you can unlock everything but that would take far too long and honestly isn’t even worth it. Find what you’ll mostly be doing for each faction and get the most out of it early on. Additionally, there’s also something called “Face Level” which grants you additional perks and grants you access to more gear (clothing and vehicles).
That aside, the gameplay is also incredible. As mentioned earlier, the combat revolves heavily around martial arts. The attacks are easy to chain together and feels extremely satisfying, especially when you finish off an enemy with a heavy attack and it goes slow-mo. There is also a counter button that you will be relying on a lot, so get used to pressing it instantly when you are prompted to. The enemies hit hard so it’s better to stop whatever you’re doing to counter than to take the hit. I love how the game actually allows you to perform a core mechanic mid-action in any fight – as long as you’re bare-handed. If you are armed, you just dodge out of the way, which is still good.
There are some gun fights and car chases/races sprinkled throughout, but it never gets old to just engage in some fisty cuffs. I’m not particularly a fan of the shooting since it doesn’t seem like all the bullets that hit register as such. The driving in this game is superb; the handling is pin-point for appropriate vehicles and you can get going pretty damn fast. My one complaint is that it takes ages to take off on a motorcycle. Every time, Wei has to do his entire start up routine before you can actually go. Actually, the camera is rather hard to deal with while you’re in vehicles. When you’re trying to back up or in a compromised angle, the camera stays stationary and only begins to center after you start moving forward. There’s no “snap-to-front” button.
Oh yeah, there’s also some parkour action. It’s pretty neat during chase scenes, but you really don’t use it much outside of that.
One thing I really appreciate is that being an open world game, that means there are collectibles to be found. Two of which are rather important: health shrines and jade statues. Finding four health shrines will grant you additional 10% max hp while jade statues allows you to unlock more perks for your martial arts skills. A good number of both collectibles are near or along the way of the missions, which makes it very easy for you to keep up with the pacing. However, you can definitely make do without collecting a good portion of either. It just makes your life a little easier and more forgiving.
There are also a lot of side missions which include a variety of mini-games like cracking safes, planting bugs, and hacking cameras. They’re quick to do (except the camera one), which is great because you’ll be doing it a lot if you’re trying to 100% the game. Gets a bit annoying, is what I’m saying but they had the foresight to keep it brief and as painless as possible. Oh, except for the karaoke. God, the karaoke portions were a nightmare.
There is a lot this game has to offer so if you haven’t already played it, get it. The environment looks fantastic, voice acting and story are amazing, and the combat is phenomenal. You might even learn a bit of Cantonese! Granted, it’s mostly swearing but that’s the first thing we usually ask when learning a new language anyways, right?
See you next game! -DecoyEC has logged off.