You shouldn’t miss out on this stunner of a game.

Sleeping Dogs pays homage to the grand Hong Kong cinema action movies. Throw in the friction between the triads and the police of Infernal Affairs, the brutal fights and shootouts reminiscent of John Woo’s movies, add in martial arts fighting and chase sequences, you have a superbly put-together masterpiece.

You are Wei Shen, a Hong Kong native raised in the United States returned undercover police to infiltrate among the Triad ranks. The story plays out like a Hong Kong undercover cop movie, and the length of the plot is good enough to retain your attention through the end.

The graphics are stunning, the neon lights of Hong Kong and the wet gloss after the rain on the streets. They nailed the atmosphere, that’s all I have to say. Even driving around looking at the cityscape is a joy itself. It is beautiful, and captures the gritty nature of the game perfectly. Cutscenes are often littered with classy vulgarity, and a pretty disturbing scene involving an old lady with a cleaver.

Gameplay wise, it has a fair mix of shooting, fighting, hacking and chase sequences that is equally mixed around so it doesn’t feel too repetitive. The melee system isn’t revolutionary, but it gets the job done. There are various hazards littered around an area in a fight. Use them to your advantage and see the horrifying results of an enemy getting smashed into a fan. Or maybe throw them in a pointy object, like a meathook. It encourages you to mix up your fighting from counter and environmental attacks to mix up the variety. Later on, you learn new moves through a pretty linear skill tree by collecting statues.  Still the joy of punching, kicking and grabbing your enemies with bone-crunching lethality never gets old. The game would benefit from different animations and more moves during fighting.  The QTE is frequent in missions, but nothing impossible and frustrating.

You also get a slow-motion effect whenever you slide from cover, which plays out as awesome as it sounds. Shootouts are much rarer than melee fighting, but whenever there is one, it is crazy and hands you the keys to mayhem. Outlandish and crazy, the body count piles up when you start pulling the trigger. You get safehouses, races, mini-games from staking out drug transactions to chasing down a thief on the streets. Girl dates and rooster-fighting also included. There’s so much variety when you’re not playing a mission. The car-to-car hijacking feature isn’t used that much, but looks cool nonetheless.

One of the notable mentions is the amount of star power behind Sleeping Dogs. It has Emma Stone, Edison Chen, Kelly Hu and Lucy Liu behind the characters to name a few. Voices are handled extremely well and realistic, making the whole game feel even more epic. There’s authentic Cantonese spoken throughout, but I would prefer if it was much more frequent. It kind of kills the immersion when some of the triads speak or yell in English.

Overall, the game is a definite must-get. There are some bugs encountered in my playthrough, but nothing too serious, unless you end up like a particular player turning invincible from a karaoke session. Sleeping Dogs is a sleeper hit, and I hope Square Enix can look more into this IP and expand on the universe previously known as True Crime.

It is a high-budget open world action game with movie production values. United Front has done well. Even the stuff you see in the live action trailer can be done in-game too, which is an unexpected surprise. Did I say the live-action video is mind-blowingly awesome?




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