I wasn't really too excited about this one, and that's most of the reason why I took so long to actually buy it and play it. If I had known the concept beforehand though, I might have been a little bit more engaged to take a look, so here's my strewn about summary of Sleeping Dogs:
Wei Shen is a Hong Kong-American police officer that attempts to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization. He does this through heading through the rankings and garnering the respect of various gang-members while trying his best to keep his cover in a sort-of The Departed/Infernal Affairs scenario.
Let's start off with listing some of the key-things that I like about Sleeping Dogs:
- Sleeping Dogs is set in contemporary Hong Kong, and that's damn refreshing for me, a lot of free-roaming video-games oftentimes feel like they're in the same-basic big city setting and this one at least as the stylization of a different location with a different culture. Sort-of like how The Saboteur had a different look about it as well.
- The fighting mechanics are riveting, paralleling other video-games like Batman, which is a very enticing approach to take. Some aspects of it lack polish, and there's one-or-two moments throughout where the short-comings are very distinctive and adamant, but ultimately, the fighting game-play can be a lot of fun. Especially considering the video-game doesn't use guns very often and instead goes for a martial arts approach which is both amusing and in-depth.
- The story's concept would have been enough to make me play the game sooner had I known about it, but it's also done admirably. I find that the individual parts of Sleeping Dogs aren't as good as the sum of, in that, it drags occasionally and often becomes repetitive. However, when it's allowed to do well, it does. Particularly, I liked the scenes at a funeral and a wedding, and I regarded them as two of the most memorable aspects about the video-game.
Sleeping Dogs is filled with flaws, however, and a lot of that might have to do with the hassles faced during development. Initially an installment in the True Crimes series, Sleeping Dogs is riddled with disfigurements and mistakes that make it seem almost, in-fact, broken. Here's what I didn't like about the video-game:
- Glitches. Even in the Definitive Edition, I encountered hundreds upon hundreds of glitches, and that's no exaggeration. Whether it be wrecking your vehicle and flying out and through a building you can't leave or your valet continuing to talk even after you've knocked him off your motorcycle, there's an absolute ton of them. Some of them are damn-annoying, in-fact, and make progression difficult.
- Relationship Feature. Grand Theft Auto has introduced the feature of being able to 'date' female characters as well. The idea itself, I liked, because if, say, I go bowling, I have competition, and sometimes really, it's just inspires you to explore the video-game in different ways. Sleeping Dogs has that, but it's lazily done, even if Emma Stone does make a voice-acting appearance. It's funny though, that Emma Stone's only in it for about ten or so minutes, and all the other dates seemed to be thrown in there for no other reason than to make it feel like there's more going on than there really is. I approach it with a, “if you're not going to do it right, just don't” attitude.
- I like the story. Something though that I notice and feel, however, is that I think Sleeping Dogs shows itself more capable of style than substance. The best moments aren't psychological, but visual. For example, I like the wedding and funeral scenes because they are chaotic, explosive and intense, and those are the moments I enjoy the most, but I never find myself committed to the actual narrative. As Wei's character struggles in-terms of morality, I never actually feel it in the cut-scenes or in anything, but for some scenes, they do really well with the character, making him seem much more in-depth than he really is.
- The Game Drags! Free-roaming video-games have an issue with dragging, and that's because they're so darn-big that they want you to discover everything they have to offer like karaoke, gambling, and more, and they integrate those aspects into it whether they actually enhance the story or not. Their missions become repetitive and silly and I don't have the eagerness to play them. The same can be said about this one.
Sleeping Dogs suffers from a lot of mistakes in development, a lot of glitches and doesn't ever achieve that much of a grasp on its own storyline. Still, however, it's fun and has several inspired moments involved in its storyline. I dedicated more than twenty hours into it, and I have no regrets. I think the best way to describe it is that at most times, Sleeping Dogs is average, and when certain problematic aspects wreak in their head, it becomes less than, but occasionally, there are times when the tension feels cranked up to such am oomph degree that it begins a truly great game.
Verdict: While a Good Game Overall, Sleeping Dogs is riddled with glitches, bugs, narrative shortcoming and lapses, plagued with many of the same problems that keep other open-world games like it from achieving greatness. Still, aside from the mediocre character models, Hong Kong looks terrific, the fighting mechanics are fun, and glimpses of excellence make it damn-near worth the mistakes.
Rating: Above Average