By Neil Nisperos
For those who have ever dreamed of being in a Kung Fu movie or Hong Kong crime thriller, Square Enix’s new “Sleeping Dogs” offers that kind of experience, even if it is not a perfect sandbox game.
Sleeping Dogs allows players to explore the complex and labyrinthine environs of Hong Kong while assuming the role of Wei Shen. Shen is a fearless Hong Kong police officer who infiltrates a Hong Kong Triad criminal organization. Going undercover in the game’s version of Hong Kong means players enter a world of high-speed chases, shady business deals, shakedowns and bone-breaking beat downs.
Sleeping Dogs will probably appeal most to gamers who love Grand Theft Auto’s mix of open-world gaming and crime drama. It’s great fun playing through the both the underworld and cop-themed missions and the game’s running and control mechanics for Shen are visually engaging.
Fight mechanics in Sleeping Dogs, as other reviewers have noted, are similar to that of “Batman: Arkham Asylym” and it’s sequel, “Arkham City.” The fighting experience in Sleeping Dogs is not quite as fluid as within those influential games, but combo blocks, punches and kicks are fun to execute and there’s enough variety to prevent the brawling from feeling like a monotonous thumb buster.
My favorite aspect of the game are its driving missions. The design reminds me of other racing games and the Fast and the Furious movies. As an added bonus, players get a driving lesson for Asian and European streets, since drivers in Hong Kong use the left side of the road.
Sleeping Dog’s voice acting is top-notch, as Lucy Liu, Tom Wilkinson and Emma Stone all give their voices to engaging characters. This game is a great addition to your PS3 library if you like exotic locales, body-shattering action, and a compelling story that contributes to the video game form as terrific storytelling and fine visual art.
Square-Enix / United Front Games
PS3 / Xbox 360 / Windows (reviewed on the Xbox 360)
Rated M for Mature