E3 2012: Sleeping Dogs (Impressions)

by: Travis -
At my visit to the Square Enix E3 booth, I was able to view a brief presentation of the upcoming open-world action game Sleeping Dogs from developer United Front Games. The presentation focused on showcasing the game's over-the-top driving and shooting sequences that take a few cues from Hong Kong action films and the signature style of director John Woo. As Detective Wei Shen from the San Francisco Police Department, players are tasked going undercover for the Triad Bureau of Hong Kong Police and infiltrating a triad criminal organization in Hong Kong. The assignment will entail brutal martial arts combat, slow-motion gun battles, and high-octane street racing.

The presentation begin with the main character refusing a fellow triad group's request for protection money, which escalated quickly into a gun fight and ending with an intense car chase. Dialogue sequences accounted for about 5% of the demonstration with the rest showcasing non-stop action. I lost count for the number of vehicles that flipped in spectacular fashion through the air after a well-placed shot to the tires. The realism of Sleeping Dogs falls somewhere between Grand Theft Auto IV and Saints Row: The Third, with a significant focus on providing an inordinate amount of action.

Visual quality of the Sleeping Dogs demonstration was a mixed experience that ranged from non-playable characters falling through the game world to a beautifully-crafted digital representation of Hong Kong. A few of the bugs involving an enemy falling through the floor and odd animation of the main character snapping to cover were only brief encounters in the demonstration's beginning moments. The gameplay eventually transitioned from the club's interior to the neon-drenched streets of Hong Kong. The world on display in Sleeping Dogs contained an immense amount of detail from diverse crowds of city locals to its dense and cluttered environments.

What originally began as True Crime: Hong Kong, Sleeping Dogs has undergone a lengthy development process that is aiming to pay off with an entertaining and thrilling open-world action game. There were a few rough patches in the game's demonstration at E3, but the majority of the content featured has reaffirmed my interest in the subject matter and anticipation for the release of Sleeping Dogs on August 14 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC.


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