It was the summer of my 6th grade year and I had just gotten home from a local game store where I bought True Crime: Streets of LA. I spent almost all night shooting thugs and running over people because I was completely blown away by the game's open world gameplay. I was a Nintendo kid through and through at that time, (Steam and Sony have spoiled me) so I had never gotten a chance to play Grand Theft Auto 3 or any of it's sequels. This was my first foray into the genre and my last for a while. There just aren't that many good open world games out there for Nintendo consoles.
So let's fast forward to last week when Sleeping Dogs, a game that was on my radar because of how much fun it looked. I had no idea about it's ties to the game that took my summer away six years ago, but I just knew I had to get in the city of Hong Kong and take down some triads. At a price like $12.49, it was a game I simply could not resist.
Sleeping Dogs follows Wei Shen who is an undercover cop that has ties to the Sun On Yee, one of the biggest triads in Hong Kong. Along the way he will ascend the ranks of the Sun On Yee to finally take down the big wigs behind the whole operation, the red poles, and greatly reduce the crime rate in Hong Kong as a result. His journey introduces you to many different, interesting people. Some take their illegal work very seriously, some just want to have a good time, and some aren't sure if the triad life is one they want to lead.
Wei Shen as a protagonist is kind of boring. He always takes the high road and things don't really ramp up for him as a character until around the last couple of missions. He is always the straight man in any exchange of words or bullets, taking the high road whenever possible. I mean he is a fine cop, but I would have loved to see him do some batty gangster shit as well.
The other characters are a completely different story, however. Sleeping Dogs features one of the most colorful supporting casts I have seen in any game. There are characters in this game like Dogeyes to absolutely hate, Jackie Ma to depend on, Winston Chu to respect, and Old Salty Crab to laugh hysterically at. Almost all of the supporting cast has something to contribute to the story and it's awesome, it's also one of the many things Sleeping Dogs does right.
You will fuck people up in Sleeping Dogs. No, like really fuck people up. Seriously, there are times when you throw dudes in furnaces and hook them like meat. You can kill a man with a fish. I don't even have anything else to say. That's ridiculous.
The combat in this game is fucking great. Your three basic buttons are the attack, grab, and counter buttons and these can be used to perform some really great kung fu movie-style combos. It takes a while to get used to, but when you do, it's one of the most satisfying combat systems out there right now.
Another thing that's super solid is the driving, which also has it's own twists to offer. Driving isn't too realistic like Gran Turismo, and it's not slippery like that fish you just killed a motherfucker with either. It's just right. There are certain points (many points) in the game that will pit you against a group of enemies in a high speed chase, where you can jump car to car (and it works like a dream, don't fret) and shoot the tires off of enemy vehicles to just annihilate them.
The shooting segments are just pretty okay, though. It works just fine, but the cover system has some flaws. Taking cover sometimes will just not work. Wei Shen just doesn't lock on to the surface at points and it will cost you a bit of progress and time. It wasn't a huge deal but it is an issue worth noting.
Another issue has to do with some glitching, whether it be the assisting character walking into a wall until moved by Wei Shen or people clipping through things. The game is so beautiful though, especially when it's raining, that it's very easy to forgive some of those graphical glitches.
Sleeping Dogs is a wonderful open-world crime drama. It takes a lot of the cool parts of Grand Theft Auto, beat-em-up games, and action movies and puts it into one huge game and pulls it off beautifully. United Front really outdid themselves with this one and even though it's got some blemishes, I will be eagerly awaiting any sequels they decide to throw at me. Definitely worth staying up until 3 a.m. every night for a week.
Apologies for not blogging for the past month or so, I was finishing up my last semester of high school. Now that I'm all graduated and such, I have more time to play games, listen to podcasts, blog and all that fun stuff! I have a lot of stuff I'd like to talk about, including E3, so expect some more blogs coming your way!
Thanks to Niero for helping me out when I was having trouble uploading this thing!