Sleeping Dogs Hands-on Preview from E3 2012 -- Location, Location, LocationBy Jonathan Deesing - Posted Jun 13, 2012
I love open world city games, but I feel that the formula has grown old. No matter how you twist it--a lightning powered superhero, an Eastern European immigrant, or a guy with an overclocked iPhone--they all take place in America, with all of the boringness associated with the dozens of titles that have come before. For that reason, I’m especially excited to see Sleeping Dogs, which takes gamers out of their comfort zones by dropping them into the heart of the Hong Kong underworld.
At its core, the game sounds quite a bit like a Grand Theft Auto title. An open-world third-person shooter, it allows you to do just about anything; from car racing to watching cockfights (yeesh). However, my hands-on time with the game showed me a title that’s much richer. The game’s Eastern influences are immediately apparent, as not only the look and feel of Hong Kong are faithfully realized, but the gameplay itself.
The mission I played had me chase a scummy gangster through some back alleys and sketchy areas. Of course he had far too many violent friends who were more than willing to put their lives on the line to protect his (video games are weird, man). However, instead of shooting them or attacking them with a clumsy combat mechanic, I was transported to a 1970s Kung Fu movie. Reminiscent of Batman: Arkham Asylum, enemies attack you more or less one at a time, really driving home the Hong Kong vibe of the game.
The plot--like most plots in open-world games--is not the reason to play the game. You take the role of an undercover officer tasked with infiltrating a Triad gang organization. As such, you can expect to do equal parts morally reprehensible missions and good karma missions.
Initially begun as a True Crime title from Activision, the game saw a few shifts in its development before eventually being acquired by Square Enix in late 2011. From there, development began in earnest, and from what I saw at E3 this year, Sleeping Dogs has serious potential to become a great open-world title. And with Rockstar being their usually cagey self in regards to GTA V, it may be the perfect title to tide over anxious gamers.