Content of the article: "My Thoughts on Sleeping Dogs"
So I just finished Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition. For those of you who don't know, Sleeping Dogs is a GTA-esque game set in Hong Kong where you play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop who has infiltrated the Sun On Yee triad. Here are some of my thoughts on the game.
The gameplay was good, especially the hand-to-hand combat. Reminded me a bit of Yakuza in how you can use the environment to your advantage. I liked how when defeating an enemy, your final blow is played in slow motion. The combat wasn't as weighty or satisfying as I would have liked, but it was acceptable.
Shooting was pretty weak. It felt a bit cheap and unsatisfying. At some points while shooting, the game would enter slow motion (shooting out the tires of a motorcycle, for instance) which was nice.
Driving was all right. The ramming feature was unique. Didn't really have any problems with the driving, I suppose. Except in missions, but I'll get to that later.
Police chases? Eh. Once you got out of range of the police cars chasing you, within a few seconds they lost interest in you. Way too easy.
Using weapons? Eh. You couldn't actually use weapons if you weren't in a mission that required one, unless you found one in a lockbox. If that happened, you could kill pedestrians and cops, but since it was so easy to evade the cops, there was no point in starting a huge shootout like in GTA.
The open world was great. On par with or even better than GTA V's, I thought (except for the map size). The atmosphere was dark and gritty, especially at night when it rained. You could occasionally hear Chinese music or pedestrians talking while exploring the city. Again, reminded me a bit of the Yakuza open world. Loved the details on buildings and signs. Absolutely loved the Chinese street market and the dialogue you'd hear from the vendors.
The map was smaller than I would have liked, but so are the Yakuza maps and that never bothered me. However, the small map size interfered with the missions, which I talk about below.
Loved the street vendors, too. Especially the pork bun guys. "Why don't you have a pork bun in your hand?"
One thing I really liked was the conversations between NPCs, particularly the mother and daughter outside of your first apartment. They'd always be talking about a new subject and I always stopped to listen to the dialogue. Definitely a nice touch.
Loved the little alleyways and hidden corners of the map. You can tell the developers really cared about making an accurate representation of Hong Kong. (Never been there myself.)
The rain was really something. Driving through the streets at night while the rain poured down around me was peaceful, especially with some calming Chinese music on the radio. Very impressive for a game released in 2012 (yes, it was remastered, but still).
Speaking of the music, I enjoyed the soundtrack. Very unique selection of songs and they fit right in with whatever mission you happened to be on. No complaints there. Liked the advertisements between songs.
Story and Side Missions
Story was good. Not amazing, but not bad either. Can't be compared to Yakuza 0's near-perfect story (the only Yakuza game I've played) and some parts were a bit generic, but it was decent. Reminded me a bit of a generic gangster / action movie. Some story missions were repetitive, but you could overlook this in favor of the overall story, which was relatively compelling. The developers managed to incorporate some humor despite the serious nature of the story, which I liked.
However, one huge problem I had with the story missions was the driving. Frequently, you had to drive to an objective. The problem is, the map is small. The mission would be "drive to this location" and the location was 400 meters away, a drive that took less than a minute. Infuriating and completely unsatisfying, especially when a good song came on the radio and you could only listen to 45 seconds of it before you had to start the mission.
Side missions were also weak. Repetitive as hell. I feel like I played the same 4 missions 50 times.
I wish the missions had been more difficult. For the most part, I breezed through them. Except the first club mission, I died quite a few times there.
The racing missions were OK.
I appreciated the Police Reports feature, where you could pull out your cell phone and read police reports about various characters in the game.
One little thing that bothered me was whenever Wei called someone on his phone, there was no dial tone. Whoever he was calling picked up instantly. Slightly ruined the realism for me.
Money was more or less useless in the game. You could buy vehicles, which was standard, but not weapons. You could buy small upgrades to your apartment building, but besides that, money was useless. At the end of the game I had nearly 2 million dollars and nothing to spend it on.
I liked the martial arts dojo and how the master would engage in philosophical dialogue with Wei.
I was disappointed by the cockfighting minigame. I thought you would be able to control your rooster.
Liked the fight club minigames, though.
Didn't play the DLC yet, but I'm glad the Definitive Edition included it for free.
Overall? Can't say how much I'd rate Sleeping Dogs out of 10, but I very much enjoyed it. As a whole, I'd recommend it to anyone. Far from a perfect game, but I had fun playing it. I put in close to 30 hours in the main game. Finished all but 2 of the side missions (the one where you had to shoot the motorcycles from the back of the car, I just couldn't beat it, and the one where the guys with the poisoned blades ambushed you). The game does feel slightly dated, but that's to be expected.
If you want a game set in Hong Kong and don't mind a slightly cheaper version of Yakuza and GTA combined, play Sleeping Dogs.
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