Have You Played… Sleeping Dogs?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

The halfway house between GTA’s sneering arrogance and Saints’ Row’s chaotic nonchalance, and that’s exactly why Sleeping Dogs has a small but passionate fanbase. It’s not quite the Serious Sandbox, but it is very much no mess, no fuss, just cars and fights – which in some respects is more appealing than the excess of its contemporaries.

The city isn’t wacky, and combat benefits from martial arts as well as guns – a surprisingly big change, given GTA-likes usually involve just a bit of punching and kicking on the melee front.

Really though, the reason to like Sleeping Dogs is that it’s focused, and it gets it right. Many GTA-likes don’t achieve even that, and particularly struggle in terms of tone and character: looking at you, Watch_Dogs. Part of this is down to not using an American city, and thus avoiding both over-familiarity and trying to trade blows with a Rockstar budget. Hong Kong feels like its own place, an exciting place, a strange place, a cocktail and West and East. And given that place is the real reason to play a game like this, place is why Sleeping Dogs succeeds despite arguably lacking any other must-play element.


  1. RedViv says:

    It’s by far the best Serious GTA-like since Vice City.
    Any other opinion is WRONG and I will totally kung-fu punch you into a pinball machine if you pretend otherwise!

    • draglikepull says:

      Agree. I far prefer it to GTA 4 or 5. Better driving, better combat, more interesting setting. They also did a lot of little things in Sleeping Dogs that improve the experience, like the driving direction overlays on the map, or the way you can just have a chauffeur bring you any car you’ve unlocked whenever you’d like.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        As sloppy as driving was especially in GTA4, you could tell there was always some decent amount of physics simultation to it, especially obvious when interacting with the obstacles, the suspensions and so on.

        The tuning of the whole thing might not have been to everyone taste, but other games like Saint’s Row and Sleeping dogs did away with something far more simplistic.

        Then again, yeah, i enjoyed the drifting mechanics in Sleeping Dogs though.

  2. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    No, I prefer to let Sleeping Dogs lie.

  3. Sin Vega says:

    I got it cheap a few months back. AFter the interminable cut scenes I was allowed to hold down the W key for several minutes (I was able to lie back and take a picture and use twitter with my phone while “playing” this part), then there were some more interminable cut scenes which were impossible to follow anyway as the subtitles were literally millimetres high. Then I pressed ALT+F4 and uninstalled it.

    • mukuste says:

      Ah, the joys of being a member of the smartphone generation! Where a few minutes of having to sit still and listen to something are an inexcusable assault on your sensibilities!

      • Sin Vega says:

        I’m 31, I seldom use my phone, and I wouldn’t read a book or listen to an album or eat in a restaurant if someone forced me to watch pointless videos first, either. Games are no different. And if a dev respects my time so little that their precious story has to get in the way of me actually playing it, yet doesn’t bother to make the subtitles (in a game with multiple spoken languages, too) readable without pressing my fae up against the screen, I really don’t see why I should bother.

        But, y’know, go ahead and blame people for not accepting bad design instead of the people selling it. I’m sure that will result in better games for everyone, somehow.

        • jeanpoelie says:

          I think you got it all wrong, the story IS part of the game, without the story you are just someone, staring at a monitor, pressing some random buttons, beating up some models untill they become ragdolls.

          IF you watch the cutscenes, the models become Characters, the Characters get a story, and with every button you press you make a decision for the Character you are playing, you are controlling his/her life and theirfore we call this fun.

          What you do is throwing away precious time which you could use to study or do something useful.

          • Sin Vega says:

            If the story is so important, make it possible to read the bloody subtitles so players actually know what’s going on.

            I don’t care a jot about your story before I know whether I’m going to enjoy the game. If you frontload your story you’re working in the wrong medium. And if your game isn’t fun without the story, this goes octuple.

            Unskippable cut scenes are bad design, I don’t care how wedded gamers become to stockolm syndrome.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            I’m not sure what happened with the subtitles though, were you downsampling from 5k or something?!?

        • MisterFurious says:

          I love how you hate a game because you have a problem (a problem that I’ve never seen anyone else have) and then when someone tells you how you could’ve fixed that problem, you get a dickish attitude like it’s everyone else’s fault. A game isn’t “poorly designed” just because YOU don’t like it. Have you noticed how no one here has agreed with you? Did it ever enter your mind that it’s not the game, it’s you?

          • monkey_mischief says:

            Preach on brother.

            These damn kids and their instant gratification will cry foul the instant their mommy is not their to put a spoon in their mouth.

          • RobF says:

            The story is a load of tiresome, drawn out shite though and the cut scenes and first half hour or so of the game are pretty awful.

            Once it cuts you loose, it’s fantastic and you can spend hours driving cars up stairs and hitting people with fish but it’s really awful in how it treats the player’s time before that.

          • Sin Vega says:

            “Just put up with it” doesn’t fix the problem at all. Now, if the devs had made their intro skippable, their subtitles readable, and, in a magical world of wishes, the opening scene one where you could do anything other than hold forward until the glorified cut scene finished, THEN you could call these problems “fixed”.

          • Darth Gangrel says:

            Who are we judge whether a complaint is fair or justified? If he thinks the game is poorly designed, then that’s his opinion. There’s not much to do about that and it’s silly to think that we could change his opinion by saying “you can’t have that opinion, because we don’t have that opinion”. It’s like he *should* like the game just because no one else here happens to dislike it. Why doesn’t he like a game that a bunch of random strangers on the internet likes. What’s wrong with him?

        • defunct says:

          I have 20/40 vision at best. I haven’t gotten a new pair of glasses in over a decade. And I read the subtitles in this game. Not suggesting you need glasses or anything, though.

          That said, this game is really hit or miss with people. Some people just don’t get it. I’ve played it three times, though, and after you get through the intro, it was a lotta fun for me. I plan on playing it again after I upgrade my computer again.

        • MrJanus says:

          @Sin Vega: Totally agree on the subtitle problem, and what a lot of people don’t realise, is that there are a lot of people out there with hearing problems that rely on subtitles… and some like myself, with less than perfect vision, even with glasses. Hollywood knows how to do subtitles in a professional manner, this developer obviously has little concern for those unfortunate enough to have a disability.

          Sadly, it’s not an uncommon problem, and is a major reason why modern gaming is losing touch with the living room experience. This isn’t a PC only problem, the XBox One version had the same subtitles and for that, there is absolutely no excuse. Know your target users and develop accordingly, don’t just develop for your development environment, because your users aren’t two feet away from their TV. And there are those like the Don’t Starve developer, who should just stay well away from consoles completely. The text in that game make the subs in this look like Headline text.

          @TacticalNuclearPenguin: On a 24″ 1920×1200 screen, the subtitles are just 5mm high, which from a couple of feet away, isn’t too bad. Translate that to a 42″ screen viewed from 13 feet, and you have a major problem. Yet put any movie into your Blu-Ray player, and you will have no problem with the subtitles on the same screen, from the same distance. To get an idea of the problem, if you have a 24″ monitor, turn the subtitles on, stand eight feet away, and see how comfortable they are to read. Subs should be clear enough so that you take them in quickly and get to see the actual movie.

          There’s no doubting how good this game is, I’ve bought it twice (on XBox One and in the Steam Sale for the PC) and in the six days I’ve had the PC version, I’ve played 37 hours. But at times it feels like a great story, that’s been handed to an team of amateurs on their first game project.

          While the PC is trying to make the shift into the living room, developers like this will keep dragging it back into the bedroom through lack of vision and experience.

    • colw00t says:

      Wow, this is probably the strongest anti-introduction take I’ve ever read, and I cannot make head nor tails of it. Do you get angry when books have a prologue or films have an opening scene that isn’t immediately relevant to the plot?

      • Sin Vega says:

        Reading is reading. Watching a scene in a film is watching the film. Doing nothing is not playing a game. And sitting there like an idiot holding W during a glorified cutscene is even worse, as you can neither skip it or do something else.

        The controversial, unfathomable desire to play a game I’ve paid money for.

        • colw00t says:

          The controversial willingness to give up on something you paid money for after less than ten minutes is what gets me.

          • Sin Vega says:

            There are many games, and only so much time in which to play them. Games made by people who don’t start with several inexcusable flaws get priority.

          • Cederic says:

            One reason I tend to wait for games to go on sale at low prices is the chilling indictment of the industry that it’s impossible to know in advance which games will be fun for me to play.

            I love that there’s tremendous variety out there and that games are available to suit every play style, but for the past thirty years I’ve been paying good money for games that I end up not playing.

            Life _is_ too short, and that means giving up on the games you wont enjoy, even if you paid for them.

      • Sin Vega says:

        Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough: would you watch a film if the screen was so small you couldn’t see anything, or watch a band if in order to hear them you had to climb on stage and rub your hear up against their instruments in order to hear what was going on? Because I’m not exaggerating about those subtitles. They were about 1/10th the height of a fingernail.

        • jeanpoelie says:

          If you would go to settings you can change the size and/or language of the subtitles, if i recall right you could even change the color of the subtitles.

        • Buggery says:

          I’m seriously confused by this. Do you have a tiny monitor are you playing in 4k and the game doesn’t stretch the text or something? I played the whole game through and the subtitles were perfectly legible.

          I would seriously recommend giving it another go though. The actual core gameplay is wicked fun, the driving is tight, the fighting is a lot of fun… Maybe try it for a full half hour?

        • defunct says:

          So much hate and anger by one person in this thread. What’s up with that?

          • Sin Vega says:

            Good lord, such hypersensitive people. If you can’t read “This is a crap way to do things” without sublimating it into “hate and anger” I honestly don’t know what to say to you. Perhaps you should avoid all human interaction lest your delicate ears hear some actual hate and anger and you collapse from the sheer stress of it all.

    • Uncaring Cosmos says:

      Sir, you do yourself a disservice! It’s one of the better open world games, and the opening mission really doesn’t take that long to get through. Also, the Cantonese dialogue gives way almost entirely to English after the opening mission, with snatches of Cantonese here and there. It’s a shame, in one sense, because it would have been interesting to play an all-Cantonese game. Still, it means your problem with the subtitles would have been solved if you had only persisted a little further.

    • LostInDaJungle says:

      Less talk, more smash!

      [Strong liked that]

      Seriously… Why does this game have characters I’m supposed to care about? Subtitles! Oh, hell no… Why can’t all of the Yakuza speak English!

      And honestly, you think the cutscenes in this game were worse that Niko and Roman’s “getting off the boat” scene to start GTA? Or Tony Soprano yelling at his idjit kid? Or…

      We get it the story wasn’t your cup of tea. Subtitles obviously bother you for some reason. Quit trying to act like the opinion somehow has merit.

      • Sin Vega says:

        Hi, please read and consider responding to the things I actually said, not the things you really, really wish I said.

    • gabrielonuris says:

      The game has 30 or so hours of gameplay, you’ve missed all of that because of what, a dozen minutes of introductory cutscenes and gameplay? Well, it’s your loss then. At least you paid for the game already.

    • Richard_from_Winnipeg says:

      Watched the first Die Hard last night at a Christmas party. I hadn’t seen it in probably 4 years.

      I thought it was so strange when it was first out on that John McClane is talking to some random bozo on the plane about recovery from jet lag. Yeah, put your bare feet on carpet and make fists with your feet. But about an hour later I realized that I was a moron for not seeing how that little conversation set up some of the most memorable moments of the film (of which there are many; yippee -ki-yay!).

      Often I see myself falling into the trap of wishing to rush ahead but this was a good reminder for myself to appreciate the journey and not just the rush to level up and get to motion.

      • Sin Vega says:

        The difference, as I’ve already said above, is that when you’re watching the openign scenes of Die Hard, you are watching Die Hard. Whereas with a game, when I’m sat there doing nothing, I am not playing a game.

        If you must make a comparison, a better one would be “I tried to watch Die Hard but the director refused to let the film start until I’d read his poetry collection first.”

        • Sleepy Will says:

          Actually, the first half an hour of me going to watch Die Hard, or any other movie involves watching tens of short little films, completely unskippable, with no relevance to the story I just paid to watch, some of them blatently sponsered by a product, worst yet are the interactive ones, where I am required to play along with their stupid game mechanics, I came to watch a movie, not press buttons on my phone until an aeroplane symbol appears, boo! So after about 5 minutes of this, I walked out of Die Hard.

        • Uncaring Cosmos says:

          I dunno. It’s true that players have certain expectations of games, just as readers and film audiences have expectations of those media. At the same time, it’s can be much more interesting when those expectations are challenged.

          Hong Kong is probably the most important character in Sleeping Dogs, and the walk through the back alleys is the player’s first real exposure to it. It’s like the tram ride in Half-Life which introduces players to Black Mesa. The walk gives you an opportunity to experience some of the sights and sounds of the city. There was a creative decision taken to include that walk, probably because it contrasts so much with the running, climbing, and jumping of the rest of the game.

          You might think it’s badly implemented. That’s fine. But I don’t think you can say it’s “bad design” to begin a game with a walking sequence (even a game that is, nominally, about punching men in the face).

          • Uncaring Cosmos says:

            And another example: the walk through the fog in Silent Hill 2. Again, it’s just pressing “W”. But, like the Half-Life tram ride, it’s held up as one of the classic opening sequences in video games.

            So, maybe it’s true that Sleeping Dogs doesn’t have the best opening sequence (I think it’s perfectly serviceable, and anyway it opens up quickly and is worth pushing through). But I do think it’s wrong to argue that having an opening sequence with limited interaction is poor game design in itself.

        • Fnord73 says:

          You sure are angry about a game you admit your attentionspan wasnt long enough to actually start playing. The opening and the tutorial mission is pretty bad, agreed, but thats not exactly unusual to put it mildly. After that it becomes a very good game. (And its actually a pretty decent sandbox too, btw, I spent hours going to the various fighting arenas to fill up my kung-fu-meter-skillthing.)

          • RobF says:

            Thing is, at some point I’m going to die, right? In this short, brief existence on this planet I only have so much time to do things, so many things to see.

            Now, I know this sounds seriously dramatic but videogames seem to have a big problem with feeling comfortable pissing large chunks of my life away on not very good things. Twenty minute tutorials here, tedious escort missions there, unskippable cutscenes here, ragging out an hours worth of story to fifteen because content density is a thing that’s more important to hours per dollar folks or whatever.

            And sure, lots of them do it. But for every one that does it, that’s time I could have spent doing an enjoyable thing, time playing a game that doesn’t make you wait an hour, two, three, to get to the good bits. That games keep on doing it, that it isn’t unusual in games doesn’t mean we should nod over it, give it a pass or put ourselves through this so often to get to the interesting bits. If anything, it’s something to point out repeatedly wherever it’s done.

            And Sleeping Dogs really is guilty of so much crap videogames do. I like it, I enjoyed it and I’ve racked up 50 or something hours or so on it just faffing around but damn, do I have criticisms of it and nor am I suprised in the slightest that folks would look at this videogame bullshit and see it for what it is, padding and bullshit.

            Of all the games, I never expected this discussion to erupt into ‘this complaint is invalid’ stuff because it is a flawed and often plain broken experience but that, I always figured, was one of its joys. That it manages to often break out of that and be genuinely good to play around in. It’s not an incredible game, it’s not top tier perfect and pulling apart why it’s not should be just as useful as why it can be great.

            Just folks in comments would sooner go straight to shutting down anyone who wants to criticise it or doesn’t find parts of it that appealing, or working well. And that’s weird because, well, because discussing what works for me, doesn’t work for you or what I consider bad design vs what you consider bad design is reasonable and productive discussion. And more importantly here, one of the joys of opening up ‘have you played’ threads because that is the value in them. What did folks think of this bit, that bit and on?

            But eh, I guess. Eh.

          • Fnord73 says:

            Since that was a reply to me, let me just state that I didnt mean to shut anybody down. I agree that the current trend of games having unskippable intros and 30 minute long “story” tutorials is a pain in the arse. My comment was mot to point out that this is such a obvious general problem that I cant see why people should harp on this particular game for it. If anything, I found this “cinematic tutorial” much better plotted than most. (Good grief, Fallout 4.)

    • a very affectionate parrot says:

      fella you’ve posted like 30 times in this comment thread
      may i suggest getting some glasses if the subtitles are apparently unreadable?

    • Person of Interest says:

      The presumptions made by your repliers are astounding.

      Folks: Sin’s probably thought more about story and narration in games than any of you. She’s written many articles about it for this very site! And I agree with her: why continue to suffer through a bad game experience (or movie, or TV show, or music album), with no promise of anything good to come after, when there are so many other good and engaging games to play? Or when you get a dozen games in a weekly bundle (which is how I acquired Sleeping Dogs), is it not sensible to delete a game if it doesn’t seem to be your cup of tea after 15-30 minutes of play?

      • skyturnedred says:

        90% of the games I have ever played have had a shitty tutorial section for the first 5-60 minutes. The “press W” section she mentions is literally teaching you how traversing to world works: you need to time your jumps to get over obstacles faster.

        If you give up after 10 minutes, your opinion is worth nothing.

        • Sin Vega says:

          The “press W” section she mentions is literally teaching you how traversing to world works: you need to time your jumps to get over obstacles faster.

          You really, really don’t. I literally held a button down with a finger and pissed about on twitter, not even looking at the screen.

          If you give up after 10 minutes, your opinion is worth nothing.

          Counterpoint: If absolutely nothing has happened and I’m not even allowed to play your game after 10 minutes, your game is worth nothing. And if you’re happy to completely piss that much of my time up the wall for nothing, why should I give you even more time?

          Plus what RobF said above. There are a million games out there. There’s never been an excuse to piss players around, but doing it today, when anyone can be playing another, far better game within seconds, is plain incompetent.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            Then running with your counterpoint, King of Dragon Pass is a game unworthy of your time because nothing happens for about 20 minutes of play. It is a game disrespectful of your time and there are games you can be playing in seconds which have, you know fun instead of investing that 20 minutes of doing nothing, right?

          • Sin Vega says:

            Wrong, because there is no point during KODP in which nothing happens for 20 minutes, unless you choose to do nothing. You could barely have chosen a worst example. KODP asks you to make decisions – the core point of the game – on the second screen of the game (the first being about four sentences establishing the scene). And there’s a massive “Skip All” option if you want to skip all that anyway.

            I can be playing KODP by the time STEAM has booted up, let alone by the time Sleeping Dogs has deigned to let me do anything.

          • Fnord73 says:

            A better example is Fallout 4. Gracious me how long that intro is. But does that make the game itself horrible? I just dont get the point. Pacman is a great game with instant gratification, but not all games are Pacman.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            Sorry, I did not notice the skip all option there, my bad – but you can’t have it both ways, you can’t claim that the introduction is the actual game and then cite that you can skip it – if it’s skippable, it’s pointless, unless by skipping it, you screw up the game for yourself, in which case, it’s horrible game design.

          • Premium User Badge

            kfix says:

            you can’t claim that the introduction is the actual game and then cite that you can skip it

            Sure you can. The important element is choice, one of the key elements that separates “games” from other media.

            Some people play games to immerse themselves in a world. Some people just want to work systems. Some people may even do both, simultaneously or sequentially or according to mood or to their horoscope for the day.

            Some developers recognise that different people have different wants from a game and make an effort to accommodate that. Some do not, or do to a different extent.

            Some people have experiences with games that they choose to share. Some people have opinions on how those games might be improved from their point of view, and these opinions may even be strongly expressed. People who are not awful will share their experiences and opinions in ways that do not deny the experiences and opinions of others.

            Then there’s some of the people in this thread.

      • Premium User Badge

        kfix says:

        Holy shit yes, I know this is the Internet and all but there are a lot of touchy rude people in this thread. +1 for Sin having more cred here than random insult bots or whatever just turned up.

        • Sleepy Will says:

          He just stated an unpopular opinion as if it were fact. The people showing up are people who tend not to comment who just thought er… nope, that’s not a universal truth.

          • Premium User Badge

            kfix says:

            Sin described the first five minutes of the game and actions taken as a result. That’s all fact, in the form of personal experience. The only (implied) opinion, that the game was not worth continuing with, was not stated as a fact, just implied as Sin’s reaction to the game. Nothing was stated as a “universal truth”, other than by the comprehension-challenged showing up here with remarks like “If you give up after 10 minutes, your opinion is worth nothing”.

    • Ericusson says:

      Sleeping Dogs was for me the best immersive story experience I had in quite a few years. I felt for the character, the betrayals, the kind of cliché story maybe but it was just awesome pleasure to play combined with the gameplay.

      Some developers remember that story and fun gameplay should not get in the way of each others … You missed an amazing gameplay experience for being too high on coffee or something at the time.

    • Ericusson says:

      My god so many posts, get over yourself man !
      Internet is not your personal battleground of self justification for your choices, desperately wanting to have the last word over your opinion you choose to put online.

      • Sin Vega says:

        What, exactly, upsets you so much about people using the reply button to reply to each other? Why are you even here, if people discussing their opinions is so distasteful to you?

      • Premium User Badge

        kfix says:

        My god so many posts, get over yourself man ! … desperately wanting to have the last word over your opinion you choose to put online

        So far in response to a fairly innocuous criticism of the start of the game in which the strongest language was the word *gasp* “interminable”, Sin has been accused variously of:

        * being a member of the smartphone generation
        * y u so angry?
        * full of hate (by a MisterFurious lol)
        * somehow just doing it wrong (I have no fucking idea what jeanpoelie was trying to say)
        * some sort of cultural imperialism or telling Yakuza what to do or something
        * being a moron (but obliquely, probably because Canada)
        * no fun at parties
        * opinion worth nothing
        * high on coffee

        And now here you are, having an opinion on the internet, criticising someone for having an opinion on the internet. You must be so proud.

        Sin told us something about the game and the way it starts and the choices it makes to introduce the player to the game, from a certain perspective. This seems to have made a lot of people angry and now they are (amateur psychology alert!) projecting that back on Sin.

        And now here you are, commenting on the internet to tell someone they should not be commenting on the internet so much.

        And now here I am etc etc. Hilarious.

    • median says:

      Press “W” — well, there’s a problem right there. Game is much better with a controller.

      I did exactly what you did… I enjoyed the cutscenes for a little while, but I didn’t have a solid two hours to get through everything, so I uninstalled it.

      Came back a few months later with some more time on my hands and loved it.

      The story is good, the voice acting is good, I love hearing a different language in my video games (played Metro 2033 in Russian — no idea what the hell was going on tho).

    • Immobile Piper says:

      It’s a great, linear narrative driven game that for some explicable reason was made and marketed as open world.

  4. gbrading says:


    Yeah Sleeping Dogs (or Sleepy Dawgs) is awesome. Really great game, good fighting, good gunplay, good characters, beautiful rain effects. Still need to play the “Director’s Cut” version but I gather it didn’t change a whole lot.

    • Creeping Death says:

      “A man who never eats pork bun is NEVER a whole man!”

      As far as I can tell the only thing the Director’s Cut did for PC was raise the system requirements, lower performance, and keep the visuals mostly the same. I just skipped it as it already looked like a fantastic game maxed out.

    • Rufust Firefly says:

      This game always made me so hungry, with the pork bun vendors, the tea, and the many other street food vendors.

      Seconding the soundtrack, the Daptone channel should be mandatory in other games.

  5. gpown says:

    A good game, unfortunately mission design is quite stale (apart from a few important ones). It’s quite ironic when at some point one of the higher ups says “welcome to the big time, Wei”, gives you a nice car, and then asks you to collect some debt, which is exactly what you’ve been doing so far.

    Or maybe it’s intentionally ironic, I don’t know really. Would fit the general tone.

    • skyturnedred says:

      Remember The Godfather game? You became the don and still had to collect protection money personally.

  6. bit.bat says:

    The driving really put me off this one, I prefer the weighty GTA4 type of driving physics but I understand this is personal preference.

  7. Anthile says:

    Genuinely surprised they haven’t announced a sequel yet. My favourite part were probably the crazy environmental finishers like impaling mooks on a swordfish.

    • Creeping Death says:

      For some strange reason they’ve spent the last 3 years on Triad Wars. A F2P multiplayer thing using the same map and assets of Sleeping Dogs.

      • skyturnedred says:

        I played the beta a while back. Basically it’s a Clash of Clans clone, only more tedious in the long run.

      • Anthile says:

        Truly a fate worse than death. Consider my heart impaled on a swordfish.

  8. Creeping Death says:

    Easily my favourite open world game. The genre rarely makes me want to put in the effort to 100% these games but Sleeping Dogs had me 100%ing it and then still running around the world wishing I had more to do.

    I really hope we get a proper sequel to it some day when Triad Wars inevitably dies.

  9. colw00t says:

    One of my favorite things about this as opposed to most open world games is it stays true to its design inspiration. Firearms are fairly uncommon and generally treated like powerups. The core mechanic is the melee and the game really sticks to it.

    • yusefsmith says:

      This is mostly true, until the run-up to the ending where they drop gun after gun into your lap and pretty much require that you use them.

      I guess it’s par for the course for these types of games but it was a bit jarring

  10. Chaoslord AJ says:

    So much better than over-hyped crappy GTA 4. Fresh eastern setting, night-time Hongkong, melee and everything.
    Only sold “cut” in my country which made me a little bitter but the actual game was still brutal with “red” blood so it was ok in the end.

  11. MisterFurious says:

    I liked the game overall, but I had some problems with it. I didn’t like how you go from being a foot soldier to the head of the game in a week. I also didn’t like how you fell in love with a new girl every day and then dumped her for a new one the next day. Also, the driving was terrible and the only side missions I didn’t do were the races. Other than those things, it was pretty good and I usually don’t like those types of games.

    • Fnord73 says:

      Wasnt there a time-exposition scene or two in the story, “two months later style”? Seem to remember one before the wedding-scene. (wich was great)

      • anHorse says:

        I think it suggests that each sleep is a timelapse but doesn’t make that very clear

        Instead the sleeping seems to further cement the idea that you did it all in a week

  12. Eight Rooks says:

    I have. I finished it, put about 40 hours in, did a review when I still did reviews. It’s good, but not great. Liked the choice of setting, liked how it played – driving had decent arcade handling, combat was easy to pick up and fairly fluid. Voice acting was very good for the most part, and the soundtrack was excellent (I bought several of the best tunes off the various radio stations).

    But the city was somewhat bland – a pretty neutered version of Hong Kong, with roads that were far too wide, no MTR and no verticality. There were some nice touches – the karaoke bars being the best among them – but it plainly didn’t have a fraction of the detail of GTA. The structure was little different from any other GTA out there and the dual allegiance thing was meaningless. It was far too easy to just power through the missions, and the story simply wasn’t that great – it wasn’t a patch on any of the movies it claimed to be inspired by.

    Good, but not great. I’m pleased I played it, but I’ve never bothered picking up the complete edition and I’m hardly foaming at the mouth for a sequel.

  13. pelwl says:

    For me it’s one of those games, like Shadow of Mordor, that is very derivative in terms of gameplay but has its own individual style, and quite rarely for an open world game doesn’t outstay its welcome with needless filler (you’ll probably finish it within 15 hours).

  14. Moonracer says:

    It really got that vibe of an 80s-90s, Hong Kong, martial arts cop film. I suppose if that’s not your thing then you will have issues with the game. I felt that most of the combat leaned more in the martial arts direction, which was refreshing and gave the gunfights a little more intensity when they happened.

    • bambusek says:

      There is even DLC called The Zodiac Tournament, heavily inspired by Enter the Dragon.

  15. bambusek says:

    I’m playing it right now :) It keeps me entertained and I don’t like GTA and sandboxes in general.

  16. SlimShanks says:

    How has no one mentioned the soundtrack yet? I know that is somewhat subjective, but the tunes are quality. Cruising around in the rain listening to Bonobo is sublime. Not to mention it has Blood Red Shoes, I heard Atmosphere in there, and they get credit for a classical selection that isn’t just every well known song.
    Also, I have fond memories of driving around peacefully, until that dubstep song about police brutality comes on, at which point I slam on the brakes, jump out, open my trunk and pull out the filthy crim I have stashed there, punch him in the face, and throw him back in my trunk.

    • Mrice says:

      THANK YOU. I was looking for this comment. It had an amazing soundtrack filled with a bunch of my favourite musicians (and a few I discovered through the game) Emika is DAH BEST.

  17. Koshelkin says:

    For every Bruce Lee fan there is another must-play element: the story is absolutely fantastic and the last mission is probably one of the best final sequences in video game history.

    Imo, the story blew every GTA so far out of the water.

  18. anHorse says:

    Weird how people here react so aggressively to Sleeping Dogs’ opening because you’re walking and talking

    Rockstar get praised for doing the exact same thing but in a car/on a horse

    • Person of Interest says:

      I think you’ll find that the people who disparage the extended non-interactive openings in games are quite consistent. Read John Walker’s review of Tomb Raider for example: he’s clearly in the “let me play the damn game, already” camp.

    • Premium User Badge

      kfix says:


      I don’t think this word means what you think it means.

  19. Darth Gangrel says:

    I’ve eyeing the Definitive Edition for some while, but not taken the bait yet. I very much like games with a focus on melee combat, it’s so rare and the setting seems good as well. It’s high up on my “when I’ve played some other games on my backlog”-list.

  20. Legion23 says:

    I would have liked to play it but Squeenix put a region lock on it (for no good reason) and I am not touching the censored version.

  21. airknots says:

    Played this and GTA IV back to back. Sleeping Dogs is way more enjoyable. Anyone else love the karaoke minigame? Also the mission for the chinese butcher mom is one of the most gratifying one in an open-world game.

    • median says:

      No, I expressly did not like the Karaoke mini-game. I gritted my teeth whenever I got dragged to the bar.

  22. Jason Moyer says:

    Kung Fu, Karaoke, and smashing people’s faces into spinning fanblades. And on the rare occasion you can or need to use a gun, you get to deliver slo-mo death by vaulting over stuff in the environment. A+

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Also: the most awkward/uncomfortable dating series of sidequests ever.

    • Josh W says:

      Yeah, I loved that part, made it a weird kind of anti-cover shooter. The first few split seconds of your time in a fight are best spent not aiming at people, but looking for the best place to set up a run of hurdling.

      My other favourite bit was the weird awkward pauses they put in when they weren’t sure how long it was going to take for you to drive to a given place. You’re having this nice chat with someone in the car, and suddenly the conversation drops off a cliff, adding a weird tinge to otherwise friendly concluding lines. And because you’re character is an undercover policeman, you can always read something into that.

      Ooh, now I think of it, I also loved the way that your police score can only go down, whereas your triad score is seemingly infinite. Really satisfying contrast in the way those feel.

  23. El_MUERkO says:

    It’s an under-rated gem, the melee is satisfying and the gun-play encourages to charge forward, the driving is probably the worst aspect of the game, until you start doing some of the crazier driving and shooting stuff; I really enjoyed it.

  24. jTenebrous says:

    I’ve gotta give full credit to Sleeping Dogs… I basically learned how to drive in the UK from this game (American expat). It’s neither set in the UK, nor a driving simulator, so make of that what you will. But hey, I passed my practical in the first go (also, the handful of lessons at £25/hr probably helped a tiny bit). But seriously, how many games have a fully-realised left-side driving environment with immersive visuals, traffic lights, signage, and even motorways? Pretty much just Sleeping Dogs. So I drove really carefully and paid attention to the rules of the road for most of the 26 hours I spent in Sleeping Dogs… barely hit anybody (apart from with my fists)! Excellent game. Very educational.

  25. Shinard says:

    I love Sleeping Dogs. There are a decent amount of faults – a lot of things were quite obviously cut out, leaving maybe the worst romance sidequests in gaming – but it works perfectly as a story driven open world game. And I think that’s the main distinction – story driven. The open world isn’t stuffed with activities, and while I really enjoyed the story (strong characters in a well done triad war plot with the added twist of the main character being a cop – it just works so well) the actual story missions are quite repetitive. Built on great, always enjoyable mechanics, but never bringing much new after the first few chapters.

    But see them together, and you realise why it works so well as a whole. The open world isn’t their to provide an endless series of meaningless filler, it’s there to be inhabited. Follow the life of Wei Shen outside of the main missions, with lots of little immersion helping details like being able to buy food from street vendors and eat it as you go along. This delays the story missions enough that each one feels fresh again, but keeps you involved in the life of the protagonist, keeping you involved in the story. That’s why the open world doesn’t last as long – it doesn’t need to.

    In GTA, you aren’t playing as Niko or Michael in the open world. You’re playing yourself, in a world with no consequences. In Sleeping Dogs, you ARE playing as Wei Shen.

    Sorry, it’s really hard to put into words, but I think that’s basically why I love Sleeping Dogs so much. So many open world games have expansive worlds filled with meaningless filler, with story missions that are a chore to get through. Sleeping Dogs has a world that is expansive, but has activities which feel purposeful and fun and story missions that are a thrill to get to.

  26. ignare brute says:

    The GTA-like games could be easily improved with small gameplay changes toward (for instance : too many police cars link to crusaderping.wordpress.com not enough consequences of committed crimes)

  27. Warwise says:

    This game is great indeed. I rate it above GTA IV. The best thing for me was definitaly the melee combat and the arena fights. It was amazing starting as a very weak fighter who couldnt face two enemies and growing both as a character and as a player to be able to face 20 or more enemies.
    Those street fights where you got payed to beat increasing dificult tiers of chalenges were my favorite events.
    And yes, the romance was subpar. It was only introduced to give you power ups.

    • MrJanus says:

      I remember when I played this the first time through and walking into one of those fight clubs far too early on. The atmosphere got increasingly intimidating as more opponents were cheered on, and inevitably, I got a serious pasting… but it was great. Eventually, you end up going back repeatedly because you just know that they are the ones going to get a serious pasting… a very satisfying serious pasting. :D

      I grew up with Way of the Exploding Fist, Fist 2, Karateka etc… melee has always been a plus point for me, but so many games just rely on guns. SD was a refreshing change, and I’d love to see more like it, preferably in Asian settings too.