With a game trailer very much similar to the Yakuza games that Sega have offered out Sleeping Dogs looks to add to the Hong Kong action style game with an undercover cop edge. With all out action and awesome violence they are looking to give the feel of being in an action film.
Featuring all the added thrills of bullet-time and big explosions this is also reminiscent of John Woo’s Stranglehold where he attempted to pull the gamer into action with his visual style added in. Without Chow-Yung Fat (who starred in Stranglehold) though the game is missing a big action hero, but even without that will it still provide the same type of action these types of games normally provide?
In the game you play the protagonist Wei Chen who has returned to Hong Kong from the states. After some violent behaviour he’s put in a holding cell where he encounters an old friend who is working for the Triads. In no time Chen is pulled into the Triad world and becoming noticed, moving up the ranks. Little do his bosses know though that he is in fact an undercover cop.
This is a Hong Kong gangster game so it’s got the almost stereotypical mechanics on offer that is a character with martial arts skills and a lot of guns, which as a gamer we won’t argue against. Using a combat system that at first comprise of the player mashing on the buttons they are eased into a style of game based on building up combos during the fights. This allows for a combat system that is more in depth and complicated once you are used to them.
Gunplay is more simplistic with its aim and fire approach, this is the tried and tested method of play so we really don’t need any difference there. Bullet time is implemented in the game though if the player vaults into the air meaning there is more of a chance to get better aimed shots and more targeted. This is of course gameplay that was in Stranglehold and was introduced into the gaming world through Max Payne.
The gaming style is open world mostly so of course will be compared to Grand Theft Auto, although it’s said that the mechanics while driving feel more like Wheelman (which was a Grand Theft Auto clone). Highlights of driving gameplay feature the ability to force cars off the road and even leap between cars to hijack others.
Along with the main plot more content has been added to the game by the use of mini-games and side quests dotted around the map. This is of course usual for this type of game. The quests range from helping citizens, fighting, doing undercover cop work like hacking cameras etc. that add extra interest when you don’t want to continue the main game for a while.
On the mini-game side of things there are such entertainments such as mah-jong, betting on cock fights and even more martial arts training to be enjoyed. There are also chances to visit massage parlours for a “happy ending” if that’s your kind of thing.
For fans of Grand Theft Auto and its constant variety of clones this will be yet another that will interest them. It’s a game that keeps to the template GTA created and holds up quite well. It’s fun, it’s easy to start and provides plenty of game play techniques to master and has a strong story. It should definitely be one of interest just don’t expect that much of a change from the Grand Theft Auto style game play.
Sleeping Dogs will be released for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC in 2012.