Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wei forward, 31 Dec 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sleeping Dogs (PS3) (Video Game)
S T O R Y

You play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop for the HKPD tasked with infiltrating a powerful Triad clan. Wei's role as a cop is to dismantle the Sun On Yee's organisation from within and fight against Hong Kong's Triad dominance. Things are not as easy as it seems, as Wei's loyalty will be tested by obeying the codes of his Triad's brethren, but also not forgetting that his true path remains with serving justice to Hong Kong's crime underbelly.

Wei's journey is powerful and the conflict within the Sun On Yee is a strong aspect. Wei has presence whenever he is in the spotlight, and there are plenty of connections that link him to some of Hong Kong's nasty individuals.

G R A P H I C S & S O U N D

Hong Kong is an incredibly immersive world, divided into a number of districts, jazzed up by its bright lights. The vibrant neon-lit style of the city is the strongest component throughout the experience. The artists have done an amazing job creating Wei Shen's playground. At first glance, the map size may seem underwhelming, but it serves the needs of the campaign extremely well. Each district within Hong Kong carries its own identity. The slums and working districts linger around the harbour areas, home to dangerous hobos and rotting shacks.

The Sun On Yee Triad are a mean looking bunch and this is further exemplified by the stylistic character models. Wei displays great tattoo design, smothering his torso and arms. Add some cool outfits and players can create some outrageous fashion motifs. Animations are fluid and Wei reacts with surrounding environment in a competent fashion. The combat animations are extremely slick in motion, and the environmental are not only brutal, but the violent pay off is pretty awesome.

NPCs go about their daily business, shopping in fancy stores, trading at busy markets and enjoying the busy nightlife. The voice acting is backed up by some serious celebrity talent, including Kelly Hu, Lucy Liu, Tom Wilkinson and Emma Stone. Sound design is strong throughout the game, especially during the hard-hitting combat sequences. The soundtrack is a mix of funky Chinese pop, backed up by a sweet selection of radio stations.

Unfortunately, the presentation is tarnished by NPCs which look like plastic dolls, but this is upon closer inspection. Certain textures and surfaces can seem a little rough around the edges and jagged when panning the camera in different directions.

G A M E P L A Y

The story missions are varied and Wei will engage enemies in a number of brutal ways. Wei will be tasked with chasing down criminals, engaging in fist fights and raging across the streets in frantic car chases. Play style is important and will determine how your actions are affecting the city. Killing innocents and causing damage will increase your Triad points, and acting more like a 'cop' will help increase your Cop status. Players will have several 'apartments' where they can change outfits and complete certain mission objectives.

The combat system serves up a great selections of martial arts moves and bone-crunching takedown. The combat system revolves around counter-attacking and timing each strike. Stringing together combos is great fun and some of the finishing moves are pure eye candy. The environments can be used as weapons, allowing to perform such carnage as smacking an enemy's head against a solid surface, or even dicing one up by forcing their head into a high-speed fan. As players progress, new combat moves can be unlocked and deadly finishing attacks will radicalise the gameplay. Martial arts clubs are available as a way of players to test their fighting resolve and go up against waves of enemies.

A decent selection of bikes and cars are available for Wei to get stuck into. Vehicles can also be purchased and stored for easy access. You'll feel like a Hollywood action star when taking jumping behind the steering wheel, which allows to jump from car-to-car, going Rambo-crazy with firearms and gunning down pursuing Triad gangs. Vehicles feels sturdy and stable, which applies to both bikes and cars. Sleeping Dogs takes a more subtle approach when it comes to guns and shoot 'em up style gameplay. Firefights are usually controlled affairs, which involve large scale shootouts between Triad gangs and providing support during these encounters. Slo-mo shooting options allow Wei to target multiple enemies and dish out plenty of bloody mayhem. A cover system is also in place, but enemies can approach from any direction and make your life hell.

Away from the story missions there's plenty to do, including: busting drug dealers by ridding territories of gangs, helping citizens and Triad buddies around the city, taking part in street races, and helping the HKPD track down naughty criminals. Wei will also put his detective skills by hacking surveillance systems, opening secure locks and collecting evidence to help convict criminals.

The vehicle handling can feel a little underwhelming when it comes to drifting and cornering at breakneck speed. The combat system lacks the free flow quality of the recent Batman games, it's brutal, but it left me wanting more at times.

O V E R A L L

Sleeping Dogs is brimming with content and this fictional Hong Kong has been realised to great effect. The story depicting the inner quarrels of the Sun On Yee is gripping, but support characters offer very little to the events at times. The graphics boast colour and promote Hong Kong's glamorous setting, but the texture quality needs a little more gloss. The gameplay is diverse and there is plenty to keep players occupied, especially with the adrenaline fueled car chases.
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