Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Sleeping Dogs

Preview: Sleeping Dogs may be a sleeper hit

12:00 PM on 05.24.2012 // Casey B

The road Sleeping Dogs has taken since first inception has been a rather rocky one. After starting development as its own beast, Activision took up the game in the interest of creating a third iteration in the (admittedly mediocre) True Crime series, called True Crime: Hong Kong. Sadly, it was cancelled in 2011, and that may have been the end of a very promising title. Fortunately, Square Enix picked up the reigns and it's been brought back as Sleeping Dogs.

I was incredibly impressed with the amount of care and attention to detail that has been put in during an extensive hands-on session with the game last week, where I was able to check out some of the earlier missions and side missions. What was once a title that flew completely under my radar has become the next, and possibly most unique action-packed sandbox style beat-em-up game I've seen in a long time.

Sleeping Dogs (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [previewed])
Developer: United Front Games

Publisher: Square Enix
Release: August 14, 2012 (US) / August 16, 2012 (AUS) / August 17, 2012 (EU)

The demo I played kicked off with a quick tutorial in which I practiced a new move I was given in a martial arts school (collecting jade statues throughout the world gives you access to more moves.) I learned pretty quickly how fluidly combat works in Sleeping Dogs, as most moves are handled with a certain number of presses/holds of a single button, and grappling and countering both relying on their own button assignments.

The simplicity of the combat mechanics helps a lot when facing off against the different enemy types that your protagonist Wei Shen must deal with as he infiltrates the Triad underworld. In one of the early missions I got to check out, Wei's childhood friend Jackie (and low-level Triad) knows of an inside deal where the two of them can boost some stolen goods from a rival gang to impress the higher members of the Triads.

As I faced off against various thugs, Wei Shen fought with some awesome martial arts moves. At times, you can use environmental objects to shove enemies into, such as trash bins, supply boxes, etc. When special types of enemies can't be grappled, using the counter with the correct timing yields successful beat-downs.

The enemies provided a healthy challenge, though, before the mission ever started I had already visited a few shops to buy food and items that helped give me special perks, such as increased defense and more attack power. I really appreciated this new take on the old "eat things to get health" idea. The perks last for a specific amount of time, as represented by little icons on the top left of the HUD with radial bars that slowly deplete over a period of time.

At the end of the mission, Wei is disappointed to learn that Jackie has been concentrating their efforts on stealing some fake designer watches. At least the player is rewarded with some points towards either Triad or Police bonuses for their troubles. These are perks that give you more abilities and weapons in your arsenal as you progress through Sleeping Dogs.

Back on the road again, I had to keep reminding myself that everyone drives on the left side of the road in Hong Kong, which made getting from point to point just a little more challenging. The vehicles all handle more loosely than the weighty vehicles in games like Grand Theft Auto. Getting on a fast motorcycle provides some thrills driving through the tightly packed city streets, as the camera shakes realistically and blur effects are used to give a real sense of speed. While riding a motorcycle, you can pop a wheelie and start a mini-game of holding your wheelie as long as possible for points, which are then uploaded to a leaderboard for competing with friends or the global network.

Instead of going to another campaign mission, I chose to try one of the 150 side missions the game has to offer. In this case, I was tasked with doing some sight-seeing for a tour guide to capture some scenic shots of the city. The first point I had to stop at was within an ancient Chinese temple, where I quickly went in and shot a photo of a few monks praying.

After shooting a good photo of the monks, I was sent off to another point overlooking the coast to take a photo of a beautiful sunset. As I made my way to the coastal overlook, the sun began setting as I aligned myself to take the photo. Looking through the viewfinder, I noticed some wasted dude waving cutesy signs at the camera and generally making an ass of himself. The game then tasked me to "take care of" the drunk dude and so I gave him a swift beat-down before resuming with my task.

Before I had a chance to finish the mission, I ran into some thugs on the boardwalk who were guarding a lockbox. The thugs were tougher than the ones I had previously faced, and it was a good struggle before I managed to defeat them all. After finally using various kicks and punches to take down the entire group, I nearly forgot about the lockbox until I was reminded by the developer to go take a look at it. The lockboxes reward the player with all sorts of goodies, from character bios, money and weapons.

Another ongoing side mission I checked out involved hacking into a CCTV system with a cool mini-game that involved guessing a set of four numbers by process of elimination. Once the system was hacked, I could go back to my home base and check different cameras around the city to initiate drug busts to help raise my status as a police officer. The drug busts are generally pretty easy little mini-games. After a minute watching gang members hanging around through the security system, the HUD uses an arrow to point out who is making the deal and thus must be arrested.

From the very beginning of my demo, one thing I noticed about Sleeping Dogs is that the developers took great care to make the world feel really alive. As you walk around, people are going around their daily tasks in a very convincing way -- so much so that I thought for a moment I was still watching a cutscene when I first had control of my character.

The biggest take-away that I got from Sleeping Dogs though was that the developers really care. From the glimpse of the intriguing storyline I got to the incredibly fun combat and living world of the game's version of Hong Kong, Sleeping Dogs is shaping up to be a game that will take a great deal of players by surprise.

Photo Gallery: (12 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Casey B, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure CaseyDtoid Tips
Casey Baker is passionate about all things video game, and has been this way since very young. His earliest memories involve trying to get E.T. out of a hole. Casey plays nearly all genres of g... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Sleeping Dogs

  Feb 01

Five Sleeping Dogs DLC packs on the way in Q1 2013

Year of the Snake is the big new expansion

  Nov 13

Here is what's next on the DLC front for Sleeping Dogs

A fighting tournament on a hidden island, you say?

  Oct 29

Sleeping Dogs developer has six months of DLC planned

United Front to 'explore other aspects of Hong Kong cinema'

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Steam Controller Review

RAE - Back in Town

Thankful it's ov

Half - Life 3 FINALLY 100% confirmed...maybe.

Surprisingly... I'm *really* enjoying Fallout 4!!

Where the Hell is Breath of Fire?

Comments of the Week - バーガーベスト, ですよね?

My Month in Games - November 2015

Cblogs of 11/28/15 - Lonely Thanksgiving, Gatchaman Crowds, and more

Recap: Metal Gear Solid 1

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Flegma avatarFlegma
Memo to self: spend your time cleaning before wasting ten or so hours on a cblog you'll end up just scrapping because you're incompetent and incapable of writing on the subject.
Is there an occupation out there for people who want to give up and not worry about shit for a while until they can recompose themselves before going back into society?
Parismio avatarParismio
That test was pretty raw. Some decisions cut deep, some I didnt care for at all. But im satisified with the end result.
Lawman avatarLawman
Torchman avatarTorchman
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
People are having serious anthropological discussions about video games and here I am reminding people that they have one more day to get a dumb card I painted:
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
I just finished this thing here: I'm mostly happy with my results, altough it lacks some stuff like Skyward Sword or Sonic & Knuckles [img][/img]
techsupport avatartechsupport
While I am glad I only paid $15 for it, I bought J-STARS VS+ for one specific reason: to drink some beer and kick ass as Yusuke and Hiei. And in that regard, it delivers. Beer not included.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
We can be so weird sometimes. You can easily move on from some of the stuff you might want to remember forever, but then sometimes you just can't let go of trivial things. What's up with that?
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I'm in the mood for some feel-good music. Hit me with your best feel-good VGM, people! [youtube][/youtube]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
My "Thankful it's over" post is done. Editing it tonight, posting tomorrow. Will there be more last-minute entries? Will Pixie be merciful to Twilight Princess? Will Zetta add words to his entry? Why is bear driving? Who run Bartertown? Stay Tuned!
Parismio avatarParismio
Whelp since i got my ass kicked at snowboarding ive been issued a muscle relaxer today and slept the entire day. Time went by so fast. Is- is this what the phantom cigar is like?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What the hell is a Shantae?
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Ok you Monday morning motherfuckers, 3 favourite fictional universes you'd like to exist in (The initial iteration of the universe had to be in videogame form) Go.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just ran into my first 'suicide mole rat' in Fallout 4. I'm beginning to think this may not be a 100% accurate, meticulously researched recreation of life after the apocalypse.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Well I just played Undertale. It's a really unique game, but the difficulty in the beginning is a tad intense. Got clobbered once they started throwing three monsters at me at a time and lost a lot of progress... where's Toriel when I need her?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What should I do guys?
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
[img][/img] The Freedom Planet Indie Box, for those that were interested. And it looks like a "wild cat" is there too!
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Just 1200 words left to go on my essays. Do I deserve a day off to play Just Cause 3 once I'm done? Yes.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Elite: Dangerous has some glaring issues, and can occasionally feel kinda bare bones, but I'll be damned if it isn't one of my favorite games in recent memory. Ships are fun to fly, trading is rewarding, and the sound design is absolutely brilliant.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -