We had a chance to sit down and play Sleeping Dogs during PAX East 2012 for what must have been more than 30 or 45 minutes. This title looks incredible. Now Erik Norris and myself are going to talk about it, back and forth style. Onward!
Joey: Is this Grand Theft Auto meets The Departed meets Batman: Arkham City?
Erik: Man, that’s one hell of a way to kick this off. You set a high bar, sir. But yes, Sleeping Dogs caught me completely by surprise. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from the game. But after seeing it in action, I’m sold. The story, which is heavily influenced by Infernal Affairs aka The Departed in America, seems engaging, the graphics are pretty damn slick and yes, the hand-to-hand combat system takes obvious cues from Rocksteady’s Batman titles.
Joey: Let’s start there, then. The combat plays a lot like that in Batman because of the counter system. When you’re fighting in hand-to-hand segments, you’ll be prepped for an attack as combatants get an alert icon above their heads. Just like Batman, time your counters and keep rolling.
But this game is so much bigger than that. There’s gunplay, contextual fighting finishers (like impaling someone with an open spike, burning their faces on a stove or shoving them into an electric box) and an enormous open world to do it in.
It feels big, and it looks incredible.
Erik: Yea, I was actually very impressed with Sleeping Dogs from a graphical standpoint. Here’s the thing: at these conventions you’re usually a foot away from a massive television when you check out these games with their developers. Therefore, graphics, rightfully so, look jaggy and a little rough around the edges. Now, I’m not saying Sleeping Dogs didn’t have it; it did.
However, even being up close and personal with the television the game was on, Sleeping Dogs looked quite good. There was one particular moment where the player — in this case you, Joey — ran out into the city streets of Hong Kong while it was raining and the Kill Bill-inspired track suit you were rocking started to get soaked in water and glisten. I sat back and said, “Damn, that looks really good.” That’s just one particular instance, but the game all around looks great.
Now, Joey, what did you think of the game’s story thus far? You were the one playing the demo and rocking the headphones after all.
Joey: Right, based on the little we saw, this one looks deep, dark and intense. All of the building blocks are there: seemingly solid voice acting, a whole host of various characters and even great supporting music for the moment-to-moment action.
Beyond that, we’ve also got a deep and potentially significantly layered story. This is a game that has the main character infiltrate a huge crime syndicate and attempt to take it down from within. There’s going to be betrayal, intense drama and moments of suspense that thrust the story forward between every segment of gunplay and driving.
Based on the limited time we had with it, things look serious and complicated. That’s something I’m really looking forward to.
Erik: Yes. As I mentioned before, Sleeping Dogs is officially on my radar. I’m liking all the ingredients I’ve seen. The story looks engaging; the visuals impress; and the combat is fundamentally solid. There’s not an official release date yet for the title, but it’s one that will be written on my calendars for sure when it gets announced.
Until then, this sleeping dog will lie impatiently.
This article originally published as part of our PAX East hub coverage. Head over to the site to read more articles from our weekend in Boston.