Review: Sleeping Dogs
"Sleeping Dogs tells the story of detective Wei Shen, who was introduced to one of Hong Kong's Triad criminal syndicates. He will do everything possible to evade and survive, are constantly making moral choices."
Like Darksiders 2, Sleeping dogs is a very derivative in the way it cherry-picks signature elements from some of the best-loved video game franchises . However, unlike Darksiders 2, this third-person open-world title takes these ingredients and cooks up one of the most enjoyable experiences in the genre. The game can be described as a love child of Bruce Lee and Faith (Mirror's edge) in the GTA universe. It combines free-flow hand-to-hand combat from Rocksteady Studios' Batman games with parkour from Assassin's Creed in an oriental open-world setting reminiscent of the Yakuza games. You even have a smattering of RPG elements across multiple disciplines, which give an interesting twist to the proceedings.
The plot is reminiscent of the Hong-Kong crime-thriller Infernal Affairs. You play the role of Wei-Shen - an Asian-American cop sent to infiltrate the ranks of the Sun On Yee Triad (Chinese mafia). Set in a fictional version of Hong Kong, sleeping Dogs feature unique blend of Cop and triad missions they are played out in a non-linear fashion. The game has you playing on both sides of the law. You gather evidences against the Triad as an undercover cop, while at the same time committing increasingly dastardly crimes to gain access to the Sun On Yee's inner circle. The main story missions themselves are quite cinematic and well executed.
The cops and robbers dichotomy is reflected in the game's RPG implementations, which offers just the right amount of depth. Both Police and Triad missions provide separate experience points (XP), with a discrete levelling system and unlockable abilities. Apart from these two XP systems, you can also earn Face XP by performing side quests. Face is a measure of your street creed that lets you unlock clothing, cars, and other items that boost your offensive and defensive stats.
It's not easy task for a video game to find acceptance with casual gamers without resorting to a tie-in with either a movie or a sports franchise. It's remarkable then how open-world crime capers such as GTA, Mafia, Saints Row and Yakuza are popular with the same lot. What they lack in Hollywood or spectator-sport quotient is made up by their ability to provide an escape from mundane reality. These games let you indulge in stuff that's frowned upon in real life- activities such as beating up random people on the street, dealing drugs, driving like a complete lunatic, and murdering prostitutes.
Sleeping Dogs is by far the most refined GTA Clone I have come across. Something tells me that its unprecedented gameplay depth will not be matched for a long time. It's not everyday that an open world game gets a second chance and the extended development time required to deliver an experience as compelling as this. If you love this genre, there's no reason why you should miss this.