A Review: 2012’s Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs…

You may ask yourself, why is she talking about a game from 2012?  Why?  Because the game isn’t played as much as I think it should be, because it is wicked awesome.

Wicked.  Awesome.

A Short Version Review

  • Where else can you see someone get chopped in the shoulder with a meat cleaver in the first five minutes of the game? Who carries meat cleavers to business deals down by the docks anyways?!
  • I can curse at you and call you several unsavory names in Chinese. Sleeping Dogs taught me that (for some reason, the characters switch back into Chinese when they curse, it’s epic).
  • The characters are so well written, that you find yourself completely emotionally involved in their well-being. And no, it’s not because I’m a girl.  Shut up.



Sleeping2Sleeping Dogs originally started out as True Crime: Hong Kong.  Remember, there was also a True Crime: New York and a True Crime: Streets of LA.  Well, while Hong King was being developed, Activision decided to cancel the game.  Six months later, Square Enix picked up the rights to the game but not to the franchising, meaning that if they wanted to release the game, they had to rebrand it.  Voila, Sleeping Dogs was born.  Releasing it was a solid decision on Square Enix’s part, this is an amazing game and definitely worth the cash to pick it up, even now, years after the release.

The Crux Of The Matter

Okay, so first, the meat cleaver.  That completely caught me off guard.  It is so early in the game, you haven’t even gotten control of your character for the first time.  And it’s brutal, guys.  Like, I winced in sympathy.  Call me crazy, I know most girls are not game for the violence, but I saw that and immediately thought “Oh my goodness, this is so awesome.”  Then I missed my cue to take control as Wei and start running…

So let’s start with the main character, Wei Shen.  No, you can’t customize him physically (though you can change his clothes and such later in the game, think GTA).  Wei is a very intriguing character.  I’m not going to spoil the story for you, because it is so well written that it deserves to be experienced for the first time as you are tearing through the streets of Hong Kong with Bonobo’s Kiara playing through the speakers of the car.  But, I will tell you a bit of his background: He was born and raised until early double digits in Hong Kong, when his mother decided to take him and his sister to the US.  He has some trouble with the law and gangs early in life, but eventually becomes a police officer.  I adore Wei, he’s a very varied and complex character, and the farther you get into the story, the more you find out about why he is the way that he is.  I’m really trying not to give away TOO much here…

Sleeping1The secondary characters here are just as in depth as you’d expect once you get the hang of Wei.  You laugh when they laugh, get their jokes, cheer for them… A few you’ll hate, trust me.  They’re written to be hated, and the writers, devs and voice actors did a great job.  A few I wished I could have taken out myself.  And… Okay, I won’t give it away, but there is one death in particular (there are a lot) that really hit hard.  My oldest daughter was doing her homework on the couch when it happened, and even though she wasn’t even playing, just watching, was so broken up that she had to take a second.  Hell, I had to take a second.  Excellent characters.  Seriously.

It’s rather open world, built much like GTA in the sense of, the map is huge and you often have a choice of 2 or 3 side missions and a main mission map point to choose from.  The music on the stations is great, and while some of it is in English, a lot of it is actually Chinese.  I found a few Chinese hip hop groups from this game that I listen to now.  The storyline is very involved, and sometimes characters that you think are going to be bit parts end up playing a big role in what happens next a few hours of game play later, so you have to pay attention.  Wow, this is longer than I intended it to be…

So anyway, the game is great.  Steam carries the PC version and you can find the console version just about anywhere.  It’s a few years old, so it’s not the full price anymore, obviously, but even if it was it would be worth it.  Yes, it would.  Totally.  I beat the game on console, but I played a bit of it on PC and there weren’t any glaring differences between versions.

Oh, and Winston’s Mom.  Trust me.  Most hard core old lady ever…


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