Sleeping Dogs - If you like driving, shooting, free-running (and GTA), walk this way!
The game that was rescued from cancellation, Sleeping Dogs has very much become a big deal for Square-Enix. A massively open-world – and massively violent – title, this tale of an undercover cop infiltrating the Triads brings the action and intrigue of Hong Kong cinema to gaming like never before.
The development team were keen to build a game with no modes, just a lot of freedom. The gameplay centres around driving, shooting and free-running, so during within each level you can be doing all three of these styles of play, as well as a host of mini-games that serve as more than just a fun distraction.
The gameplay we saw seamlessly blended cinematic sequences with in-game action, to keep the story flowing. After a glimpse at the opening credits of the game – including the all-star Hollywood and Hong Kong cast yet to be announced – we took a closer look at the Bam Bam nightclub sequence where your character Wei Shun wants a meeting with the owner about protection money. Access to the VIP lounge required finding a hostess to bring you in, but once you were there, we witnessed the first of Sleeping Dog’s many mini-games – karaoke. It plays a bit like SingStar, but with moving your controller to match where the notes should be, and is something you can re-visit at varying difficulties throughout the game.
Once this was over, it was time to confront the nightclub owner, which in turn led to a bit of fighting. The combat was rough, visceral martial arts street fighting, aided by your very destructible – and usable – environment around you, smashing henchmen through tables, a giant fish tank, and even the urinals of the men’s room. When Square say Sleeping Dogs offers the best combat in any open-world game, it’s hard to argue based on what we saw!
We also got a look at one of the other mini-games – street racing. This section was developed by some of the minds behind Need for Speed and ModNation Racers, so they know their stuff and it really shows, with the racing action comparable to many of today’s racing games. But as these are illegal street races you need to look out for pedestrians and other road users, so it’s not exactly like other racing games!
Victories in these mini-games can earn you cash, which in turn can help you increase “face” and standing in the game, so they’re a real integral part of the game. The other great thing we took from this was just how expansive and how thoroughly replicated Hong Kong is in the game.
It's shaping up with a great mix of action and we're left wanting to see more. But this comes out in August, so not too long to wait now!
If you like GTA check out Sleeping Dogs as soon as you get the chance.