Published on June 11th, 2012 | by Cameron Woolsey
E3: We Go Guns Blazing with Sleeping Dogs
Developer: United Front Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC
Release Date: Aug. 14, 2012
When we first tried Square Enix and United Front Games’ upcoming crime drama Sleeping Dogs, the demo only featured some hand-to-hand combat and racing. There was another element to the game we had yet to check out–gun combat.
It’s hard to have a good action game like Sleeping Dogs without some solid gunplay. When I tried the game out during the Game Developers Conference (GDC) earlier this year, I liked the Arkham Asylum-type combat and looked forward to seeing what else the game had to offer in putting the hurt to the badguys. What I saw, however, wasn’t all that encouraging.
Perhaps it was the guy playing, but the aiming in Sleeping Dogs didn’t seem to be nearly as accurate as one would hope. This was the case when hiding behind a bar table as thugs with machine guns pour into the room. The aiming was all over the place, several times forcing the player to reload while firing at them. The gangsters taking the bullets rarely showed it: shots to the legs or arms didn’t cause them to buckle or lose aim.
The game utilizes the popular cover shooting mechanic, which allows you to hide behind overturned tables, chest high walls or corners and either blind fire or peek out for a more accurate aim. You can also aim down the sight to try and pull off headshots or clip an arm or leg of an opponent careless enough to expose his body parts.
After the room was cleared, the protagonist Wei Shen and a few of his Sun Oh Yee triad buddies hit the street to chase down the leader of their attackers, a straight-talking tough guy by the name of Ponytail. No really, that’s his name. Ponytail and his crew were on their way for a classic vehicular getaway, but Shen was ready with his own wheels. The fight went on the road with Shen in the passenger side of the car and his fellow gang member behind the wheel.
The aiming from the car seemed far more accurate than what we saw earlier. It looked easy to aim at chasing vehicles and plug away at them until the driver was killed or the car was damaged enough to explode. One positive aspect of the car shooting scene was the ability to take down cars fast and easy by going for the vulnerable tires. Yes, going for the tires will definitely take out a vehicle quite permanently, because I’ve been around long enough to know that cars can’t fly.
What do I mean by that, you might ask? Well, interestingly enough, shooting a tire on a moving vehicle in Sleeping Dogs causes it to lose touch with the ground momentarily. And by that I mean vertically. It wasn’t that the laws of physics were bent a little, it was more like physics grabbed its suit case and tipped its hat in fond farewell. I watched some of the vehicles fly through the air upwards of around 20 feet or more. The cars didn’t appear to be moving at a rate that would justify this disrespect to Isaac Newton, it was honestly a part of the game.
The game awards players extra experience points by shooting certain targets. Headshots will grant more points than hits to the body, and taking out tires or blowing up cars does the same. There aren’t any rewards for sending a car upward, which is too bad.
I wasn’t able to get my hands on the shooting segment of the game to try my own luck, but going off the demo I believe that the shooting in Sleeping Dogs isn’t terrible, but there is some tweaking to be had before the game ships.
To sum things up, the game is still looking like it will be a thrilling action game with a strong story and voice cast to support it. Hopefully United Front Games will get all the problems smoothed out before Sleeping Dogs ships this August.