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Sleeping Dogs 2-Years Later Review

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Graphics:

Being just two-years old, the graphics of Sleeping Dogs have not really had time to age, compared to some of the latest releases. That is not to say it is perfect, but it is still a modern graphical experience. (Honestly I am not entirely sure what the Definitive Edition will accomplish beyond subtle changes.) I do have and was playing with the High Resolution Texture Pack.

Textures and models are pretty good, although some issues may be spotted here and there. Remembering this is an open world game makes those blemishes completely forgivable. For example, store fronts and the like that you are not meant to enter are just detailed textures behind glass. Actually I would say that this is among the best looking open world games I have played recently.

Character models are reused, especially for enemies as a means to identify what class they are. While that is useful information, I will admit it would be nice to have had some better variety. By way of clothes and preset outfits, you can dramatically change your appearance, which has two benefits. One is that some pieces of clothing and many of the outfits come with bonuses, such as reduced damage and increased experience. The other benefit is that some of the outfits are just silly looking, in a fun way. You will notice in the screenshots and videos that I do wear a few of the outfits, and part of that is because of how funny it is for an NPC to be talking to a main character dressed up as the Monkey King (minus the tail). That particular outfit grants a melee damage bonus.

 

 

 

 

One aspect of the graphics that might be able to use some touch up is the facial animations. It could be intentional, but fairly often the facial animations are so different from the dialog that it looks like a dubbed over movie. As I said, that could be intentional. As it is, Chinese will slip into the otherwise English dialog almost randomly. Perhaps we are supposed to feel like we are hearing a translation, and not the original voice of the characters, were they real. That may be worth keeping in mind, if you ever notice the apparent de-sync between voice and face.

Full body animations are very good, but, as you can expect from an open world game, can have some imperfections. Basically you may find yourself throwing people into walls instead of against them, or being launched into the air when slamming an enemy's head against a car. Besides those obviously special cases, the animations for melee combat are very well done. Breaking someone's arm and leg look just as painful and intimidating as you would expect.

Driving is a big part of the game, and thankfully the cars and bikes all look very nice. At least until you crash them. Then the scratches and dents and broken windows look nice. The only complaint about the cars, graphically speaking, is the ease with which they can be damaged. Too often do I spot scratched paint and have no idea how that happened, as well as some serious dents. Fortunately it is pretty hard to be thrown from a car. Bikes are a different matter, though.

While the cars do look very nice, driving can reveal some curious graphics. The first thing many players may notice is that some of the graphics are repeated patterns. The best example of this would be the water on the roads when it is raining. Sometimes there is enough shape to the road to hide this, but other times it is flat enough that you can see the puddles are all just repeated over and over. Hardly something that is unique to Sleeping Dogs, but it is also there, and honestly, it does work very well. Really the rain does have a nice effect on the graphics, even patterned. The reflections are a different matter, though.

I routinely spotted two issues with water reflections when it was raining. One is that the reflections are not very representative of the environment. Some objects may be reflected, but others, like whole buildings, are not always present. I am not sure how the reflection map was created, but it is not all that accurate. Some road signs perhaps best demonstrate this by dominating the reflection with a mass of blue.

The other issue is similar, but more special. During some races I noticed that the road would suddenly appear electrified. At first I thought it was just a weird graphical bug, but then I realized that it only happened at certain angles. Apparently the engine will reflect the light of cars over a large area of wet road, illuminating it an electric blue. I cannot recall spotting this outside of races.

One thing I noticed in the base game and DLC is that it can get very dark at night. Without a way to change the gamma setting of the game, there were moments when I was tempted to darken the lights around me to make it easier to see.

 

Water is a little odd. Walking through water does create splashes at your feet, but not ripples. Swimming and driving boats through water will produce a healthy wake though, so it is just the walking that is mildly out of place. Driving in the rain will throw up droplets from the wheels, which is a nice effect to have, and likely will be the primary way to observe water. Sure you are on an island, but there is rarely a reason to go offshore. There are some, but few.

Fire is almost non-existent in the game. Explosions are not terribly uncommon, but actually open flame is all but missing. The one screenshot I have of fire shows a very soft visual, as the flames lack definition. The depth and smoke are decent, but the fire still looks out of place. Explosions are very satisfying, even though they are mostly smoke being thrown into the air. There is a flash of fire, but it does not last long. The explosions also can look like they were just pasted onto the screen at times, but not always.

 

With all of that covered, time for my specs and to talk about performance.

  • Processor: AMD A10-5800K @ 4.40 GHz (44.0x100)
  • Cooling: Corsair H110
  • Motherboard: ASUS F2A85-M PRO
  • GPU: EVGA GTX 770 2 GB
  • PhysX: EVGA GTX 570 1280 MB
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4x8 GB (32 GB total) at 1866 MHz 10-10-10-27
  • PSU: OCZ Fata1ty 750 W
  • OS: Windows 7- Professional 64-bit

Normally when deciding on graphics settings, I will turn things up to their max, unless I know my GPU will not handle it well, and change from there as needed. Of course one exception to this is that I always disable motion blur because I do not like that effect, so it was off for this game, except where it is contextually required (you cannot disable it completely). At max settings I noticed some rather bad stuttering at times, so I pulled up an FPS monitor and saw that it fluctuated quite a bit and seemed to average around 35 FPS. For some games that framerate is not too bad, but with that stutter, I had no interest in continuing, so I returned to the settings. I turned down the Anti-Aliasing to High from Extreme and enjoyed a solid 60 FPS experience for the remainder of the game, even with World Density, Shadow Resolution, and SSAO set to their maximums.

 

That is all I have to say about the performance really. Normally I would talk about bugs here or any console port issues, but I never really experienced any. At least none worth mentioning and remembering.

Overall the graphics are very good, with some forgivable imperfections. There is nothing particular outstanding or impressive, but then not everything has to be. The graphics are very good and the performance is very solid, and there is nothing much more to say than that.




  1. Sleeping Dogs Review - Introduction
  2. Sleeping Dogs Review - Graphics
  3. Sleeping Dogs Review - Story
  4. Sleeping Dogs Review - Gameplay
  5. Sleeping Dogs Review - DLC Campaigns
  6. Sleeping Dogs Review - Additional Gameplay Media
  7. Sleeping Dogs Review - Conclusion
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