Before E3, I managed to never see any information on United Front Games’ new title Sleeping Dogs besides its amazing looking advertisements. So I went on to play it on the show floor completely blind. It was just something to check out in between appointments for me. What came out of it was one of my most anticipated games of this year.
Sleeping Dogs puts you in the shoes of Wei Shen, an undercover police officer sent to infiltrate the Sun On Yee gang inHong Kong. He finds himself climbing the ranks as the story progresses and it’s obvious from the preview shown that there will be some blurring of the lines between what’s right and wrong for him. Intense amounts of gore fill the cutscenes as we’re taken through the gritty world of crime. It seems like it could be an interesting premise. Hopefully it’s more fleshed out with Wei Shen’s ethics and less black and white.
Gameplay wise, it’s incredibly fun. While I didn’t get to play any car driving scenes, I was able to test out the chasing on foot and combat system. The world is free roam and there’s a radar on the bottom left ala Grand Theft Auto showing you numerous locations around you including shops and even your mission destination. Clothes changing confirmed, guys!
I wandered about a bit to get a feel for the mechanics. I played it on PS3, so holding down X let me sprint as I ran into people and vaulted over vending booths for no apparent reason. The clumsy rating was through the roof with my character. Finally getting to where I needed to be, I was treated to a seamless cutscene that jumped me straight into the action again. It dealt with me chasing this thug down. What was cool about this were the character animations that occurred when people would get in my way or when I’d need to jump over something. It was all so easy that it felt like I was really chasing the guy down.
Eventually I caught up to him and was able to initiate a big fight between Wei and five other guys. Combat is familiar to me, I immediately thought of Yakuza. I enjoyed it a bit more, however. Square was the punch button and depending how hard or soft I would press it, Wei Shan would do a normal punch or a strong punch. Triangle was for counter attacking which allowed for really seamless fighting if you time it right. Circle on the other hand was a grab and it opened up new ways to attack from there. You can either keep punching or kicking, or you can get close to environmental things to perform specific takedowns. One time I grabbed a guy, sprinted with him to an air conditioning vent, and shoved his face in it. It was awesome.
The preview showed off the car driving/chasing mechanics as well as the gun fights. Both involved a bullet time kind of mode. It wasn’t revealed exactly how that mode was unlocked during the gun fights but it allowed for precision when a hostage situation happens. Or when you just want to shoot a guy in the face five times in a row. During the car chasing scenes, it started to seem like a pattern that the bullet time would occur every time Wei shot at a tire and blew the car upwards. It was an easy finisher for any enemy in a car. Whether or not the driving handles well is up in the air as I didn’t get the shot to actually play those scenes.
Considering how much of a fan of open world crime games I am, I can’t wait for Sleeping Dogs. Especially after playing what I did and having so much mindless fun with the hand to hand combat. Keep your eyes open for this one heading into stores August 14th.