Sleeping Dogs looks freaking awesome
We recently had a chance to go hands-on for an extended period with the game, and came out not only impressed, but convinced that it has a shot to be one of the coolest, most entertaining games of 2012.
Hong Kong is an awesome location
Its also a different society, which makes for a unique vibe. One mission we tried out, for instance, had us bashing up a van transporting people from one location to another and then stealing their passengers. Apparently, the van services around Hong Kong are actually run by the Triad, and the different groups will sometimes clash over popular routes. Its a somewhat silly thing, but its unlike anything weve experienced in other open-world games, for better or worse.
Playing as an undercover cop seems awesome
We also saw some side missions, including the ability to beat up a bunch of drug dealers and then tap into a nearby security camera. After a quick mini-game, Shen could return home to watch the camera, alerting police when a criminal activity was taking place there and watching them swoop in for the arrest. Its minor, but neat, and should flesh out the idea of being an undercover cop outside of the cutscenes.
The melee is fast, brutal, and absurdly awesome
Anyone who has played a recent Batman game will know exactly what to do one the tutorial kicks in. Protagonist Wei Shen can execute strong and light attacks, beating his enemies into submission, but more important is his ability to counter attacks. Just like in the Arkham games, a small notification over the head of an opponent signals the start of their attack, and a quick counter will send Shen into action, countering the ability and taking his enemy down.
...and awesomely upgradable
Its more complex than that, though. Doing missions for the police or for the Triad will raise their respective levels, opening up takedowns for the police side and brutal, unforgiving maneuvers for the Triads.
You can use environmental objects for awesome, bloody kills
Whenever you do this, it actually has a chance to intimidate opponents, which will send Shen into a frenzy and have a chance to scare off enemies. Which, obviously, makes sense, since theres no better deterrent to fight than seeing someone toss your buddy onto a meat hook.
Gunplay reminds us of the awesome slow-mo of Max Payne
But what makes it interesting is the slow-motion. Whenever Shen jumps over an object and aims, the action slows down a crawl, letting the player clear out a room before hitting the ground. Weapons dont have a ton of ammo in them, so its almost more like a cool power-up than an actual gun, but it elicits more of a powerful feeling than guns usually do in other shooters.
It's awesome to to smash other vehicles
This, too, was extremely fun, even if it didnt make a lick of physical sense. It also provided an alternate way to take care of cop cars that were chasing us down, letting us disable the vehicles without murdering the officers behind the wheel. Which is good, because
Jumping between moving cars is absolutely awesome
Its hilariously unrealistic, but we really dont care. Its incredibly fun, and we ended up jumping between cars whenever our vehicle would take damage, or just because we felt like it. Seriously, jumping between cars is cool we didnt need an excuse to do it.