Sleeping Dogs is a martial arts action game featuring crass sexual humor, lots of blood, and MMA-style hand-to-hand combat. It’s sure to please teenage boys everywhere.
The long, drawn-out talky scenes and complex fighting moves get repetitive and may prove frustrating, however. Sleeping Dogs is available for Xbox, Playstaion, and PC platforms; I played it on the Xbox.
Character and Plot
The game takes place in Hong Kong. You play the role of Wei Shen, an undercover cop trying to bring down a notorious gang. Wei Shen is shown from a third-party perspective—not a plus, in my opinion. As a fan of first-person shooters such as Halo 4, watching my character as I would any character on TV is a less intimate gaming experience.
In the opening scene, Wei Shen is trying to outrun the Hong King police in an undercover deal that goes wrong. By wrong, I mean a hapless security guard gets his face hacked with a hatchet. Wei has to leap over several obstacles to outrun the cops. Leaping means doing nothing more than holding a button down to sprint; there’s not any real maneuvering involved. The fact that it’s so easy to leap and scale objects is surprising, since you have to learn several tricky button combos for fight scenes. That learning curve is sure to delight action game fans, but others used to different gaming genres may find the curve steep.
Graphics and Gameplay
The game opens up with beautiful graphics. Some reviews have criticized the characters’ physical characteristics and facial detail as wooden and stiff, but I disagree. You can see every hollow of a cheek, and every taut, well-honed martial-arts muscle. The characters are gorgeous and well-detailed down to the tattoos that most of them sport.
There’s lots of running around in the beginning of the game. There are also elements that remind me of my World of Warcraft days—Wei Shen has goals to complete (most of them involve extortion) and there’s a detail on the screen how near to or far from the character is to his goal. Since this is an open world game, like GTA IV, Wei Shen is free to move around and explore. Along the way, you can buy items like a health-regenerative noodle soup from market vendors, or a potent drink from scantily-clad ladies that ups aspects of your fighting or defensive skills.
The fight scenes start easy and get progressively harder. I began by easily whipping the butts of about ten guys and then barely staying alive as I got further into the game. The combat is actually very interesting, as you employ tactical moves such as counter attacks and do actions like slam an opponent’s head into a table or roundhouse kick one to death. The moves get pretty complex. The fighting is fun, but gets a bit repetitive but there are weapons and vehicles to break up the monotony of hand-to-hand combat.
A Few Flaws
My biggest criticism with Sleeping Dogs is that the dialogue is juvenile, flat, and simply drags. The acting is cringe-worthy, especially the English spoken in a Chinese accent. For instance Wei Shen is speaking to one bad guy in a scene:
Bad guy: You had a sister. (Lecherous laugh) Where is she now?
Wei Shen: (Pregnant pause) She’s dead.
Female characters serve mostly as scenery and puns to frat-boy sexual jokes and innuendo. Sisters and girlfriends are insulted and fought over. Still, part of the fun of Sleeping Dogs is its wild machismo. It’s bound to please teenage boys the world over as well as armchair martial artists. The dialogue is painful at times to sit through and as mentioned, the fighting for me, became a bit repetitive.
Sleeping Dogs is no-apologies guy game that is pretty good at what it does. It earns a solid 3.5 stars and likely to most appeal to the young, male 18-29 year old demographic that eats up martial-arts action games.
More Console Gaming Reviews:
|Platform||Xbox 360, PlayStation 3|
|ESRB Rating||M for Mature|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc