Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review'd: Sleeping Dogs

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Sleeping Dogs is an open-world action game in the vein of Grand Theft Auto, Saint’s Row, True Crime, and others. As a matter of fact, Sleeping Dogs was, at one point, intended to be the third True Crime game (then a reboot of the franchise, then cancelled, then picked up by Square Enix as a new IP).


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You take on the role of Wei Shen, undercover police officer investigating Hong Kong’s criminal Triad gangs. The game definitely feels like a Hong Kong action crime movie…something you’d expect to see Jet Li or Chow Yun-Fat headlining.


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The action focuses mainly on martial arts, rather than gunplay. While there are guns (and a whole talent tree devoted to them), you’ll find yourself mixing it up with strike combos, grapples, and environmental attacks more often. There’s a ton of new techniques and special abilities to unlock, both through XP (and there are several XP trees, each focusing on a different development aspect) and by discovering collectibles.


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The character is not customizable, but there are a ton of wardrobe choices (bought at clothing stores, unlocked through collectibles, DLC, etc.), and some wardrobe choices give a set bonus like +5% melee damage.


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The graphics are crisp, and they’ve done a great job of setting the Hong Kong atmosphere with this one. The voice acting is good…nothing Oscar worthy, but nothing cringe-worthy either. The music was a bit bland for me…I didn’t care much for the in-car radio stations, but they do have a somewhat authentic Hong Kong feel to them.


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One of the minor annoyances are the mini-games that crop up occasionally. You may have to rotate a combination lock to open a briefcase or move the left and right sticks to find the correct frequency to plant a listening device. While contextually they make sense, they don’t add much to the fun factor. Honestly though, it’s a small thing and isn’t a gamebreaker.


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Sleeping Dogs lacks any sort of multiplayer feature, which could be a major turn-off for some gamers. However, the game itself is fun and the story is very engaging. Give it a look, $25 on Steam. There’s a bunch of DLC available for it as well.


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And remember, don’t bring fists to a gun fight.

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