I should spare a sentence or three forSleeping Dogs'
unusual past if only because, unlike the vast majority, it has one. Originally developed as Black Lotus by United Front Games
announced this gem back in 2009 as True Crime: Hong Kong
, a third entry and rejuvenation for the flagging series.
For boring reasons that are boring, Activision
canned it. But soon it was picked up, dusted off and rebranded by SquareEnix
. No longer a true True Crime
game, Sleeping Dogs
is a free-running power sliding, triple kicking new IP all of its own...
But this aint a history lesson, yo!
In a quaint role reversal on its too-obvious-to-mention inspiration, gamers play a cop. But an undercover one, by the name of Wei Shen, tasked with bringing down a notorious Triad faction, the Sun On Yee.
Naturally, this opens up countless opportunity for charity and carnage, benevolence and bastardry. In fact, Sleeping Dogs hinges on your inclinations. Your every act, be it criminal or civic, rewards Face XP which either enamours you to your infiltrated family or your constabulary brethren.Sleeping Dogs
has aspirations beyond the wanton carnage typically coupled with the sandbox genre. Drama has a role to play in United Front’s
long brewing project. Thus they’ve shipped in voice talent from both Hong Kong and Hollywood. The likes of Will Yun Lee, Tom Wilkinson, Lucy Liu, Edison Chen and Emma Stone bring Square Enix’s Hong Kong to life, via talking.
And maybe shouting.
In a bid for further authenticity, and to distance themselves from being confused with something like Saints Row: Cantonese Stylee
, United Front
brought GSP on board. As the current UFC
Welterweight Champion, it’s safe to say Georges St. Pierre
knows his way around a fisticuff. And for those dreading the thought of combat devolving into arm-bars, triangle chokes and virtually nude man-fondling, GSP has trained in Boxing and its dog rough eastern cousin, Kyokushin!Michael Jai White
has a black belt in Kyokushin (one of his eight such belts) so you know it’s the good stuff!
What’s really exciting about Sleeping Dogs
, beyond its star power, coloured past and storied consultant is the fact it looks like what the ‘open world game’ should always have been.Sleeping Dogs
is a shameless amalgamation of lifted elements from a half dozen games flavoured with a developer’s unique vision. And rightly so!
While gamers might see Just Cause
in its high speed car chases or acrobatic vehicle jacks and Max Payne
in its slow motion, cover hopping third person shooting, the bribes, anonymous aid and abundant karaoke scream Square Enix
. And while the foot chases and parkour evoke Assassin’s Creed
and the shin-snapping, elbow-popping, environment busting martial arts suggest Arkham City
unsung 2007 classic, The Warriors
) the gambling dens, potential girlfriends, wavering loyalties and (sigh) cock fights are all United Front
Every aspect of Sleeping Dogs'
core gameplay looks polished and precise, intuitive and intricate. I, for one, want it to succeed. And chances are you do too!
Why? Simples. Not only has the entirety of its developmental resources plunged into this single player experience, but with a release of August 17th it marks the end of the infamous summer drought. Also, given the positive reception from those lucky enough to preview it, the fact it’s a fresh intellectual property and its winding path to store shelves, it’s very hard to do anything but root for United Front Game
s’ oriental open world event.