Sleeping Dogs: In this game, you play undercover cop Wei Shen, going to kick the ass of Hong Kong Triads. And that’s about all you need to know.
You start out collecting money owed to a guy named Winston. With guiding from a Chinese chap whose name I instantly forgot, you find there are lots of street vendors are on his books, but few are willing to pay, so this usually results in you beating up a few of their own bad guys before they’ll pay up. Amongst the mere handful of different moves you can do, this brings about the amusing “Environment Attack” where you can grapple someone and then throw them into a specific object like a phone booth or a wooden box, and really do them some damage, but, in practice, it feels completely unexhilarating.
This mission of vendor extortion leads to increasing your cop and Triad experience, as do all missions, helping you proceed to the next level. More experience also leads to monetary rewards allowing you to purchase new upgrades such as not suffering as much when baddies beat you up, or delivering more of a punch in said scenarios.
In fact, about that, I must say that the fighting’s fairly pedestrian. As I alighted to earlier, there’s only a few different combos, my favourite being to grab hold of a baddie and slam them against a door or wall, but it’s all just a case of punch them for a while and then it’s over. It’s very reminiscent of The Bourne Conspiracy game, even to the point of flashing up which buttons to press.
After what feels like forever, you finally get to drive something, starting with a bike. This is to get you from A to B. Missions will also include other vehicles, such as Mini Bus Racket, early on, but while between missions you can steal any vehicle you like – sandbox-style, overall, you can’t help but compare this to the Grand Theft Auto series, and it just doesn’t compare, unfortunately.
Along the way, you can also buy clothes, which doesn’t really do anything different other than change your look – since I haven’t seen any game benefit from doing this. If you can stay with this game long enough, then from time to time you’ll do favours for some of the street vendors and can gain face by doing so.
In addition, there are occasional chase scenes where you can leap around the buildings in a parkour style. These are better than most things in the game in terms of effectiveness, but again, this title has been beaten to it by the fact this element is just not as good as that found in Mirror’s Edge.
Sleeping Dogs is a title which first started off as the potential third entry in the True Crime series. I only played the first one of those, and even that felt very half hearted. Given how this new title has been in development since 2009, it really shows. What a great shame. I was hoping for something to finally trump the wonderful John Woo’s Stranglehold but nothing can to date.
One of this title’s biggest problems is that there’s just far too much hand-to-hand combat and it’s all much of a muchness. The other is that there’s far too much CGI to sit back and watch as the story ‘progresses’, which sends me ot sleep. I really can’t get excited about it at all.
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Producer: Jo’Sun Fu
Music: Jeff Tymoschuk
Writers: Tim Carter, Adam Foshko, Jakob Krarup and Tyler Burton Smith
Wei Shen: Will Yun Lee
Jackie Ma: Edison Chen
Inspector Jane Teng: Kelly Hu
Conroy Wu/Roland Ho: Robin Shou
Ilyana: Megan Goldsmith
Broken Nose Jiang: Elizabeth Sung
‘Dirty’ Ming: Terence Yin
Ricky: Ian Anthony Dale
Henry ‘Big Smile’ Lee/Old Salty Crab: Tzi Ma
Raymond Mak/Pockmark Cheuk: Byron Mann
Mr. Chow/Ponytail/Mr. Tong/Dogeyes: Ron Yuan
Sonny Wo: Chin Han
Uncle David Wa-Lin Po: James Hong
Tiffany Kim: Yunjin Kim
Vivienne Lu: Lucy Liu
King: James Mathis
Mrs. Chu: Irene Tsu
Sifu Kwok: James Lew
Not Ping: Celia Jade
Tran: Feodor Chin
Winston Chu: Parry Shen
Joey Kwan/Siu Wah/Johnny Ratface: Vic Chao
Alex/Duke: Anthony Chow
Calvin/Harold ‘Two Chin’ Tsao: Conan Lee
Vincent: Osric Cha
Peggy: Lindsay Price
Superintendent Thomas Pendrew: Tom Wilkinson
Amanda Cartwright: Emma Stone
Sandra: Steph Song
Naz Singh: TJ Ramini
Barbara: Aly Casas
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.