Re-Play: Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is one of those games that took me by surprise, saw me love every minute, and then leave a long, lasting impression. In my head, I love this game.

How does it look with those rose-tinted glasses taken off, though?

As I do my best to play through and critique current-gen, recent releases, I hold titles up against things from the past. Is that a fair measure though? The only way to adequately look at the present and the future, is to sometimes re-visit the past, and see if things are still how you remember them.

Sleeping Dogs

A while ago, the Sleeping Dogs definitive edition was free on Games with Gold.  How on earth could I say no? A game I love, with all the DLC, ported (remastered?) to Xbox one, for free.

As is always the way, I got hyped for it, but never got around to play it.  I mean, who has time to play a game again when there’s so much new stuff to play?

With time, comes perspective, and honestly, the release of the latest Yakuza game has left me with a taste for some eastern action.  I need to play Sleeping Dogs! Hot off the heels of Call of Duty: Infinite War, I was looking for my next review.  Everything fell into place.  So here we are.

Initial thoughts

So, Sleeping Dogs actually looks half-decent still.  A big surprise, to be honest.

Sure, some of the textures aren’t exactly popping with detail, and the character models are a little jagged.  But the world is bustling with life (thanks to some great audio work) and there’s still plenty of fun to be had in this old dog.

Driving is pretty terrible, if you play like you would expect a modern game to play.  But after you get used to the handbrake being the perfect tool to turn, the “X” and direction to literally bash opponent vehicles.  You’re laughing!

I don’t remember the story particularly well (my love for the game stems from the fun, not the narrative, apparently!).  So I’m re-learning a lot of stuff, which is actually kind of nice.

Voice acting is fine, but the dialogue is a little ham-fisted.  Released in 2012, at a time when I likely felt like I was waaay into eastern philosophy and cinema, it didn’t seem quite so rough on the ears.

Thinking about it, it reminds me a lot of a Fast and Furious movie.  If you can get past the script and delivery, and just enjoy the action and the absurdity, you’re in for a great time.

Fun fun fun

Honestly, it hasn’t been too much of a rude awakening.  I suspected I might remember it too fondly, and it may actually be well past it.  It turns out, though, that fun can’t be dated!

Mostly hand-to-hand combat, learning martial arts, singing karaoke, jumping from vehicle to vehicle.  It’s all there.

Yeah, the controls are a little rough, but a bit of persistence and you’re back in the groove.  Sleeping Dogs is like a B-movie with blockbuster aspirations, and some execution is top-notch.  The action never brings framerate drops, the AI is reasonable and the cinematic touches to cutscenes are great.  Throw in some cliched dirty cops, triad internal gang rivalries and you’re laughing.

Hacking CCTV and making arrests is just as satisfying, and there are loads of nice little uses of your in-game phone.  This is a game made up of loads of tiny ideas, executed really nicely.

Looking forward

I never played the DLCs, and the last thing I remember doing before letting Sleeping Dogs rest, was finishing all the fight clubs, to get the iconic yellow Bruce Lee “Enter the Dragon” outfit.

So, I’ll be getting that bad boy back.  But I’ll be playing through the DLCs and hopefully making some new memories.

Until then, going clothes shopping and being offered a Pork Bun on just about every corner, is proving to be just a surprisingly good now, as it was 6 years ago.

Let’s see how I get on with Wei Shen over the next week or so!

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