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Sleeping Dogs 2-Years Later Review

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Gameplay:

In some ways the gameplay of Sleeping Dogs is not what you would expect. One example of this is the preference for melee combat instead of gunfights. There definitely are gunfights, but more often than not you are punching and kicking enemies into submission. The combat is thankfully quite good with satisfying hits and an obvious blocking system. When an enemy is preparing to attack, they glow red, giving you plenty of time to counter. Counters only do so much damage though, so you will need to put in some hits of your own eventually, but when fighting a large group, it is nice to just block what comes at you.

You are also able to grapple and attack the enemy you are holding, or throw them into the environment. You can bash heads against walls, throw people into fans, onto metal hooks, into ice chippers, and, well, you get the idea. All of these are very satisfying attacks, but are not always easy to pull off. Enemies do not want to be grappled with, after all.

Naturally there are also enemies that are immune to some of your efforts or can use them against you. There are enemies that will grab and hold you, giving other enemies free shots, and some that cannot have their attacks interrupted. Nobody is invincible though, so you never really feel outmatched.

As you fight you will fill up your Face Meter. Once full you will get some useful bonuses, including intimidating enemies and health regeneration. That regeneration is the only way to regain health during fights, so mind that meter for best effect.

 

 

 

 

Fighting can also give you Triad Experience, which unlocks useful skills for combat. By varying your attacks and weapons you will gain Triad Experience and fill your Face Meter faster. There is also Cop Experience, but you lose this during a course of a mission, instead of gaining it. Actions like property damage, hurting civilians, and killing civilians will all lower the amount of Cop Experience you receive when you complete a mission. Cop Experience gives you some useful skills, such as a way to take cars without triggering the alarm. There is also Face Experience that gives you bonuses, such as vehicles costing less to purchase and increased durations of bonuses from food and massages.

Experience points are only gained during missions. This is somewhat useful knowledge as it means that property damage and running people over is not a problem when you are just driving around.

If you want to unlock new melee attacks, you have to find jade statues that were stolen from your martial arts teacher. Each time you return a statue, he will teach you a new skill, at the expense of one of his students.

 

Before going too far from the experience stuff, I want to mention that the DLC I have gave me some at the beginning of the game. By 'some' I mean I got five levels to everything experience-based immediately, out of ten max. I also got a full garage of vehicles, complete wardrobe with various bonuses, and more money than I knew what to do with. It actually took three minutes to go through all of the prompts for items and bonuses I got from the DLC. (Hopefully that will be streamlined with the Definitive Edition that comes with all of them.)

As I mentioned in the Graphics section, driving is a key part of the game, and fortunately it is done very well. Vehicles feel appropriate on the road, although different vehicles will have different feels to them. Some, for example, are better at powersliding than others, which you discover quickly when you slam into traffic and walls. It is also weird to be driving on the left side of roads instead of the right side, but that is something you just have to adapt to.

 

There are races to put your driving skills to the test and some of them are a lot of fun, especially when you get good at ramming. Press the right button and you will slam your car in a selected direction, potentially sending another car to a scrapyard. One thing that is missing is some kind of boost ability, which some racing opponents appear to have. For one motorcycle race in particular, I found my opponents at the end were able to scream past me, robbing me of a victory that I had no way to reclaim.

In some missions you will be needed to leap to other cars. The process is not difficult, but is tricky as you have to be so close to the other car and at the right speed, it seems. You should get the hang of it, though.

One of the DLC (the Wheels of Fury DLC, specifically) can award you a true supercar in Sleeping Dogs. It is very fast, well armored, and comes with a pair of machine guns. I have to say that it is very satisfying to shoot out tires as it, unrealistically, sends cars into the air, in slow motion, and this car lets you do that whenever you want. If only you could use it in every race, instead of just the Class A races. (There are three classes of vehicles, A, B, and C, and you are only allowed to use the appropriate class in the races.)

 

There are a great variety of missions, both as part of the campaign and as side quests, that range from beating up certain enemies to karaoke. None of the missions are all that long, which is as it should be. This is an open-world game, so you should be free to explore and do as you wish, instead of being tied to missions for extended periods of time.

The NPC AI can be stupid, not bad, but stupid. On many occasions I have seen NPCs run cars into walls and drive into me because that is what they did. Perhaps the best example was in one of the DLC campaigns as an enemy I was chasing actually got stuck by an open door. Yes, stuck by an open door because he did not open it, and it swung out, toward him. He was trapped between the door and two walls for a while before eventually teleporting on the other side of the wall, after telling me how I would never catch him.

 

One issue I want to mention before wrapping this section up is the free-running. On its own the free-running is not that great, but it works. What can make it frustrating is that there are two ways to initiate it. One is to press and hold the spacebar while moving in a direction. The other is to double-tap W, causing you to free-run forward. The latter option is the source of frustration because at times it would cause me to vault over the cover I was trying to jump into. Something definitely worth being aware of when playing the game.

It took me 15 hours and 3 minutes to completely finish the campaign and many side missions, though not all. I would estimate it would take another two hours, at least, to wrap up all of them, and find all of the collectibles. That reminds me of one bone I do want to pick with the game. There are repeatable missions in the game, but these missions are not identified as such on the map, and whether you have completed them or not is also not labeled. This is somewhat annoying as I found myself replaying some missions just because I had not realized I had already completed them.

 

Altogether, Sleeping Dogs has some of the most fun, entertaining, and well-designed gameplay I can remember experiencing for its genre. It does not always stand out, but that is because doing something right does not make you stand out. It makes you a good standard and very enjoyable.




  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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