Reviews by belchism

96

Sleeping Dogs = Batman Arkham Asylum + GTA

belchism | Jan. 9, 2014 | Review of Sleeping Dogs

Last week, Sleeping Dogs became free to download for Xbox Live Gold members, so I took the plunge, adding another game to my hoard of games. I had heard lots of things about this game and was actually looking into getting it during the Steam Sale, but thankfully I didn’t.

Sleeping Dogs left a very good first impression on me, with the tutorial actually feeling like part of the game, not just a tiny section made to teach you how to play. The chase sequences, the fighting style, the dialogue, this game had me from the get go. When I describe this game to anyone, I call it a mix of the Batman Arkham games and GTA.

Obviously, the free-roaming exploration in cars and on bikes resembles that of GTA, while the battle mechanics and “Minigames” resemble that of Arkham asylum. The battles are fun and diverse, using much of the environment as your weapon, and painful executions of haymakers and flying kicks. I actually feel like I’m watching a classic martial arts movie. The unlocking mechanisms for the hacking and lock boxes are familiar, but different.

Like in the GTA games, there are things to find, but this game actually rewards you for finding them, like giving you a health boost every 5 shrines, or giving you new clothes in certain lockboxes and even new fighting moves. The driving is interesting and feels alien to me, which I guess is a good thing as we are in Hong Kong. Driving on the left hand side of the road while getting in on the right? What is this madness!? Ironic, really as I live in the UK where this is commonplace. But it adds for a change in playing style, as I always find myself veering onto the right of the road, only to be met with a face of truck. The driving is more sensitive than its GTA counterpart. While you are able to screech round corners without breaking, you might want to drift, to save your Police EXP during a mission.

The story and voice acting are both very well done and actually have substance. With a large variety in the NPC phrases, dialect, and even language. IT would’ve been easy for the devs to just use solely english, but they actually took the time to record cantonese lines for many characters. The story, though I have not gotten far, is fun. While it doesn’t seem real, it is very convincing. Like a good movie. That is what this game does well: It is very cinematic.

The levelling system is fun and actually makes me think about how I want to play the game. I try my hardest to drive carefully and cleanly so I can reap the rewards of the Police EXP, while i try my hardest to mash the closet thugs face into a urinal to gain more Triad EXP. The further you level, the more skills you learn and the more diverse the game becomes. The game also rewards you for taking time out and actually doing side-quests, to increase your “Face” (I assume this is a re-iteration on reputation, though it is used in battle as a sort of rage meter).

I also really enjoy how the game gets me to explore and meet new people. and the Karaoke minigame is actually quite fun. I’ve never enjoyed listening singing to someone cover “Reeling in the years” more than when playing this game.

I thoroughly enjoy this game and cannot wait to get back to it. I am almost definitely going to buy the DLC so I can continue playing the game past its ending. The game is fleshed out and immersive, rewarding you with bonuses and perks, while punishing you for failing with hefty fines. At times the game feels too easy, but then I get dropped in a clowder of gangsters and get my ass handed to me and remember why I love this game. This is one of the best game open world games that I’ve played in a long time and I sincerely hope they make another.