Friday, 06 April 2012 10:59
Games - Games
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Sleeping Dogs is an open world action title based off Hong Kong cinema. You play an undercover cop trying to take out the triads from within. It was once known as as True Crime: Hong Kong before Activision dropped the title. Since then, Square Enix has picked up the publishing mantle for developer United Front Games.
First impressions first: it looks nice and the world certainly feels like a densely packed city in China. The market place is packed full of people and all the neon gives it the right air. But that’s about it. The game does not play well.
The representative told me the game was developed upon the 4 pillars of gameplay: melee combat, driving, story and shooting. None of which really works. I’ll pass on the story because the demo is choppy and doesn’t really give an adequate idea of what the game is about, and I only know what was going on because I specifically asked the presenter. Also, I don’t mind over the top violence, but here it has next to no context and was really off putting. Maybe the final game will be fine given it the right context, so take that how you will.
The game Sleeping Dogs reminds me of the most is Sega’s Yakuza series. The melee fighting is very reminiscent, but where the Yakuza games have tight combat that responds and flows to the player's control, with Sleeping Dogs it is almost the opposite. Melee combat mostly consists of mashing a single button and holding it down for heavy attacks that you never want to try and pull off. The counter button, a real necessity for taking down the swarms of enemies, is finicky at best—it's temperamental really. I’m not sure what the timing window of it is because a yellow exclamation mark glows above the characters' heads when they are about to attack and signals to the player to counter, and it's rarely precise. It’s also really the only way to take out the enemies that block normal attacks so it turns combat into a slog. It tries to do Arkham City but doesn’t do it right.
The racing isn’t much better. Developer United Front Games has experience making ModNation Racers and the upcoming Little Big Planet Karting, but street racing is not kart racing. The driving is very loose and since real cars are longer than racing karts you end of swinging to wide or losing speed from trying to make minute adjustments. Yet again, the controls are too loose. It looks like Need for Speed, but doesn’t even have the control of even Hot Pursuit or The Run.
Finally the shooting—it’s alright. The cover is again finicky and you can’t shoot from the hip, which is a real nuisance with the shotgun, but the over the shoulder style works. You point and stuff and it dies in visceral sprays of blood. There is nothing wrong with it, but it's nothing special.
There are also action sequences that are trying to do Uncharted's thing. I don’t know what it was, but these action sequences of chasing down a gangster and running out of a collapsing building don’t have the solid feel of the Uncharted games and feels tacked on and real slow.
As a whole the game just feels off. I figured it could use some more development time to tighten things up before release, except it’s coming out this summer. If this is an earlier demo than maybe they can make the controls more accurate, but the demo didn’t make me excited for the game. It feels like just another action title cobbling together pieces from other better action games.
Sleeping Dogs is being released this summer for Xbox 360 and PS3 with no plans for a PC release.
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Sleeping Dogs is an open world action title based off Hong Kong cinema. You play an undercover cop trying to take out the triads from within. It was once known as as True Crime: Hong Kong...
© 2013 - Screen Rave
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