To date, I’ve never really played Grand Theft Auto. I know of it’s existence. Seen it from a far and realized the overall arch is to be a bitch boy for an underground boss while stealing cars, killing people and fucking whores while beda-boping in a sandbox video game. Sleeping Dogs, on the other hand is pretty much a copy of GTA. If not GTA than at least a direct descendant of True Crimes.
Today’s sandbox world is Hong Kong. Unlike Prototypes New York City. Today I happen to be the petty crime protagonist Wei Shen. A Chinese American who signed up with a group called the Triads. Get ready for this, because the twist to this game is literally in the first five minutes of game play. Turns out curds and Wei is a secret undercover police officer. Which means every crime boss will undoubtedly trust me because that’s how every major Hollywood movie works.
Provided the fact I happen to be playing a Police officer doing a lot of petty crime. There’s two bars which are filled throughout the game. Meaning either meter produces different upgrades or unlocks. This also means curds and Wei is torn between two contradicted identities. It’s an aspect of the game I wish the police gave a shit about because by the time we’re done here, they don’t. The Triad have a ‘test’ which mainly involved weather or not you killed anyone in the process of the game. However, what they don’t get is how much curds and Wei was more hesitant of turning over a car engine than meeting a thugs face to a brick wall. Apparently it’s okay to kill thugs though, the line is drawn really thin when pedestrians get involved. It’s not necessarily meaning you wont do ‘good’ in the game, just that the meter of duality will not provide much on the Police bar.
Another observation is noticing the tutorial for combat is liken to Batman Arkham Asylum in that it’s press A for run, X for punchy face. Seems like in a sling of games this style of gaming is like Danny Elfman music to a Tim Burton flick. So, it’s smashing X and dodging with B. Meanwhile there’s power up attacks and combos which include slamming a thug into a telephone booth making Jason Voorhees reach for a dose of Diazepam. All of which is a little more sticky than when Batman does it. Which is also known in the action movie genre as not really giving any fucks and it goes well with the free running mechanics I wish Assassins Creed would take a note from. I found it was easier to Dragon Ball Z sprint my ass to a group of thugs and then Liu Kang high kick my foot under an unsuspecting thug. Which was a lot easier than walking up and saying, “You have the right to remain silent.”
The thing about this game is combat is what really was under the microscope. On the other hand it’s kinda like GTA/Prototype to be running around town and connecting the dots of sequent events to progress the game. After all of this, pacing goes down once guns are introduced Mirrors Edge style.
The tutorial for the guns is hilarious because the guy mentions the whole game didn’t have guns up till this point because open cary isn’t usual in Hong Kong. If the same guy had said the same thing moments later I would have hacked bile and blood.
The game becomes weak in the second half, mainly because of the sub-plots which don’t go anywhere. Just killing time before we have to kill the gangster we had already figured out was our target from the get go. All the free running gets bogged down with cars. Melee becomes a Mirrors Edge shoot ’em up game. Come to realize, the whole game’s cop and criminal style can be summarized as a good idea which never saw it’s potential.
One side mission being cyber hacking. This included doors and cameras. One moment was having to find the drug dealer and while we’re the watching I’m expecting to see thugs pass cash around. Instead it’s always the same guy in a suit. If you’re really thick an arrow hovers over the drug dealer on the off chance your profiling was craptastic.
A game with this many game mechanics surely doesn’t have a polish well enough to say is good enough. However, if your a GTA fan and missing out on GTA copy cats. Take a bite off of Sleeping Dogs. The question is if Sleeping Dogs is a step forward or a step back. A good way to look at it is looking at GTA San Andreas (outfitted with a segway). Does Sleeping Dogs have a Segway!?