FIRSTLY. SPOILERS AHEAD. THE GAME IS VERY CHEAP IF YOU WANNA PLAY IT FIRST.

Okay, so recently Stu and I had an idea. We both love games, we both love trophy hunting and we both love Platinum Trophies especially so why not try and get the same trophy as each other at the same time? We had spoken in a podcast about how we both love Sleeping Dogs and we came to the conclusion that, since we both enjoy it, had equally small playtime on the PS4 and expressed an interest in going for the Platinum, that we would do it together.

I got the Platinum first (it wasn’t a race) and since then I’ve had some time to think about Sleeping Dogs as a game and as a Platinum, plus I like to write so let’s do both.

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The plot of Sleeping Dogs follows Wei Shen, an undercover cop who is tasked with infiltrating the Sun On Yee triad. The game is open world, similar style to GTA but with a higher focus on hand-to-hand combat which honestly I love. The whole game takes place in Hong Kong and early on most of the missions are basic tutorials on movement, combat etc. and introduces the characters we will be loving and losing over the course of the game. Among those characters are Winston Chu, A Red Pole (Lieutenant) of the Sun On Yee. Jackie Ma, Wei’s friend. Conroy Wu, Winston’s right hand. Superintendent Pendrew, the Obvious Bad Guy and Uncle Po who is the boss of the Sun On Yee.

Conroy serves as the “I don’t trust you, new guy who is probably a cop” and honestly I don’t blame him, it’s explained in game they had a cop try and infiltrate the gang before only for him to be found, tortured and buried alive. Conroy is voiced by Robin Shou who is probably best known as Liu Kang in the Mortal Kombat movies and in an interesting twist, your police handler is voiced by Byron Mann who played Ryu in the Jean Claude Van Damme Street Fighter film! The voice cast for this game is incredible and it really lends a lot to the overall greatness of the game.

The combat is, for the most part, hand-to,hand. As you level up and find hidden statues around the map you can unlock new moves, counters and upgrades to existing combos. Enemies will flash red when they’re about to hit you, giving you a brief second to counter them which can then lead in to more face bashing for the poor soul who crossed Wei Shen. Later on into the game you get access to melee weapons and firearms, the latter of which leads into some really cool bullet time slides over tables, cars and boxes. The gunplay can be a little rough in normal speed but bullet time really makes you feel like the cool hero of a story. The melee combat though is beautiful, the game rewards you the more you counter, mix up your combos and even use grapples to implement the environment into the fight (shoutout to the table saw for allowing you to just ram some poor guys forehead into a circular saw in a truly brutal fashion).

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The story gets to some truly great set pieces and is really well written and acted. The more you progress the more the Sun On Yee begin to trust Wei and after a truly upsetting wedding where a rival gang kills Winston and his bride at the altar (and also injure Uncle Po), an unfortunate hospital visit (where a mass of gun-wielding gang members attempt to kill Uncle Po, only for him to die later for no reason (there’s a reason) and the genuinely tear inducing kidnap and burial of Jackie, where he is rescued by Wei and laments on his wish to leave this gang life behind only for him to be found later again by Wei, strung up and gutted in full view of the player. It lands a gut blow because of how graphic it is and you expect Jackie to either survive and leave the criminal life behind or at the very least he’d die some kind of heroes death. Not alone, sliced open and strung up to be found.

It’s eventually revealed that NO WAY, SUPERINTENDENT OBVIOUS BAD GUY WAS CROOKED? At Uncle Po’s funeral, Pendrew sets the 18k (A rival gang) upon the Sun On Yee leadership, along with Wei and his crew. This is the moment you realise Pendrew wants Wei dead as with a little more digging it won’t be hard to find the roots of his corruption. It’s shown at the end of the game that Pendrew took a deal with Uncle Po where Uncle Po would give him a rival gang’s location to be arrested, securing a promotion for Pendrew and Uncle Po would be allowed to continue his business. Pendrew is shown to be the killer of Uncle Po, injecting him as he lays in bed but it was all recorded and Wei puts Pendrew away. Wei has informed the prisoners that Pendrew killed the well loved and respected Uncle Po and knows his death in prison is going to be long, painful and very very deserved.

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Overall the story and gameplay is super fun. The side quests are enjoyable, from singing Karaoke to street racing and more. The controls can get a bit janky in the karaoke but overall it’s not hard at all to get the associated trophy. The main issue I had was the game crashed a fair few times towards the end, sometimes dropping a chunk of progress I’d made. I can’t be mad though, as the crashes all came from the same thing which was trying to look at leaderboards in the middle of action and I think the game just kinda went “There’s a lot going on. I’m out.”

On to the trophies. Honestly the Platinum wasn’t hard at all but it’s timely. My total play time was 33 hours. A chunk of the trophies are story related and were picked up over the course of playing. Others come from getting your Face level to 10 (face is basically just your overall level), Getting your Cop and Triad levels to 10 (earned by doing cop jobs and main missions and performing well), purchasing every vehicle and clothing item, consuming food and drink, getting melee weapon and gun kills, finding every collectable and of course the “Do everything 100%” trophy which means do every optional mission, street race and favour in the game. The Definitive Edition also requires you to go to the DLC Zodiac Island which essentially feels like an 80’s action movie mixed with the Mortal Kombat island which is NOT a complaint. Also all the trophies can be gained on a single playthrough, there’s no difficulty based replay in this game!

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The progression from starting out as little baby gangster Wei Shen to ending with a Platinum trophy as Unkillable God of War Wei Shen is such a great arc, his growth and subsequent battle with doing his job as a cop and honouring his loyalty to the Sun On Yee makes you wonder what you would do, I personally always wish Wei had stayed with the triad but also I did see him getting literally tortured with a drill to the leg, a scalpel etc so maybe he would also just want to get out like Jackie did. The more trophies I got, the closer I got to that Platinum the more of a journey I feet I’d been on. I grew with the characters and eventually I felt like I’d also been through a wild ride. I got mad at a couple of missions that were a bit rough around the edges and the game can be a bit… glitchy. Sometimes the AI that controls the enemy movements can be really slow leading them to crash into things and slow down. There’s also a couple of bugs surrounding collision detection but it doesn’t hurt the game and honestly makes it 10x funnier when you fly kick a man into a corner so hard that he fires back out of it in ragdoll so much that he wipes out other enemies in the process.

My final words on Sleeping Dogs will be these: The game is by no means perfect. There are bugs, there are crashes but honestly I didn’t care in the end. It was a wild ride to go on again, I loved it more the second time around after not playing it for years and while some missions got frustrating I was happy to overlook it in the face of the fun, emotional journey it gave me. I don’t know if I’ll replay it again one day, I know that if I do though, I’ll adore every second of it a third time around just as much as I ever did.

 

BLAKE’S SCORE

five stars

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