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Square Enix scores with 'Sleeping Dogs'

Aug 17, 2012

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Sleeping DogsWhen 'Echo Beach' from Martha and the Muffins came on the car radio, I knew 'Sleeping Dogs' was something really special.

It has been a long road for the Square Enix release to finally see the light of day. Originally titled 'True Crime: Hong Kong', the game was to be the third chapter in the gritty crime-fighting series. A series which I always thought was a great addition to the 'Grand Theft Auto' crime games.
When Activision cancelled development due to weak sales, Square Enix acquired the publishing rights and began to work closely with developers United Front Games.

To call 'Sleeping Dogs' a recycling of GTA is just plain wrong. Although it may owe a lot to GTA as many games do now, 'Sleeping Dogs' is another great companion to the free-wheeling, open world crime genre games like 'Mafia' and 'The Godfather'.

Sleeping Dogs You play as Wei Shen, an undercover Hong Kong police officer trying to clean up the city streets. Wei is as handy with his fists, feet as he is with his brain. You take down everyone from Triad leaders to drug dealers, street hustlers and protection racket bullies. You gain prestige and special abilities by completing both police and triad missions, since you are straddling both sides of the fence.

At heart though, you are a police officer so you will be docked points for damaging public property, injuring or killing innocent people and if you hijack cars or steal personal belongings with a cop around, the fuzz will attempt to bring you in.

'Sleeping Dogs' has a conscience but that doesn't mean you cannot have some guilty fun though. Just remember to save the game before you unleash your inner sociopath.

Sleeping Dogs For the police missions, you will hack into surveillance devices, plan and order arrests. You will compete in illegal street races as you probe the ruthless underground league. You chase down criminals and collect evidence. As a triad member, you will rough up shopkeepers, steal deliveries and cars, commit all manner of petty and serious crimes. The funniest though has to be taking over a bus route and dropping off passengers as rival gang members try to drive you off the road. The comments you receive after the elderly shoppers arrive at their destination following their harrowing trip are hysterical.

There are also personal favours and missions in the mix as well. Driving an elderly couple's car into the sea so they can collect the insurance money to pay their medical bills is one of the many favours you can elect to do for your friends, family and total strangers.

Sleeping Dogs No matter which side you happen to be on, you will have to unleash your fists of fury. With the depth of the robust combat system, your skills will put Jackie Chan or Jet Li to shame as you spend equal time blocking and attacking, especially when faced with multiple armed foes. Using grapple, you are able to employ the active and inactive environmental surroundings against your opponents. You can ram enemies into concrete walls, throw them through plate glass windows, hurl them over balconies, and electrocute them by slamming them into electrical panels, vending machines or speaker systems.

'Sleeping Dogs' is very much like 'Mafia', 'Red Dead Redemption' or 'L.A. Noire' in the sense that the location and setting feels so genuine. The developers have really brought the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong alive not just with the crowded city streets but in the language and music you hear. The city lives and breathes as you adventure around it; the subtitled Cantonese dialogue adds another layer of authenticity. From the very first cut-scene, you become lost in the colourful and unique environment.

'Sleeping Dogs' is all the best things of the Hong Kong action film genre mixed with the best of what open world adventure games have to offer. It has definitely been worth the wait. Activision's loss is Square Enix's huge gain as 'Sleeping Dogs' is one of the best games of 2012.


Sleeping Dogs Sleeping Dogs
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: United Front Games
ESRB Rating: M for Mature 17+
Official Site:
Rating: 9 / 10

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