Welcome to Hong Kong.
(Full Spoilers! But you probably already know. Also, I finished this game back around mid-April and finally got around to writing the review.)
During my play through of Sleeping Dogs, I wondered if I’d be comparing it to Grand Theft Auto. Sleeping Dogs has many similar components to GTA, but the game stands as its own unique game.
As a quick recap, you play as Wei Shen. A former resident of Hong Kong who moved to America and eventually became a cop. You return to Hong Kong as an undercover agent to help the Hong Kong Police Department take out the Sun On Yee Red Pole gang.
The game’s overall design is the most divisive aspect, as the game is designed for “business”. What this means are most of the missions don’t take very long. I completed the game at around 20 hours, including all the side missions.
Although this is great if you’re too busy to invest the time, you just go from event to event. I would like it to be around 20 more hours to flesh out a lot of the characters and missions. For example, Winston, the local mob boss you meet early in the game, dies fairly quickly and I had a “so-what” reaction. Only Jackie Boy, Wei’s best friend, had any depth.
However, the voice acting for the game is top-notch. Even with the fast-paced story, you do feel the character’s motives in the game.
The combat mechanics focuses more on a brawl style, similar to Final Fight. I liked how the system was very forgiving, as you could counter attack in the midst of attacking another opponent. A significant issue, though, is how counter-attack heavy the fights are based.
Most of the time all you do is counter-strike, then throw in a strike here and there. Thankfully, the environment attacks like dumpsters and telephone booths help out the monotony. As a side note, for some reason once the enemy AI is disarmed of their weapon, they can’t pick it back up. This made the difficulty much easier in my opinion. (Maybe it has something to do with the difficulty settings?)
It’s understandable how the game wants you to appreciate every fight, as the rewards are based on how many combos you do. However, the game should award you if you can eliminate enemies quickly.
The gunplay component helps to break up the pace and is a fun aspect. You get to do some Bullet-Time motion to pick off baddies.
Graphic wise this is a good, not great. However, you feel as if you’re in Hong Kong, not Liberty City.
Lastly, I wish there was more replay value. I didn’t play multiplayer (read the ME3 review). Yes there are time trials and you can replay missions to beat your time. But there’s not the feeling like GTA gives after you beat it. Once I completed Sleeping Dogs, there’s not enough content to bring me back to play it.
Overall this is still a good game to play, especially if you don’t have much time. I hope they make a sequel with content comparable to GTA.