Review: Sleeping Dogs (Xbox 360)

Reviewed by Devin, posted Aug 14, 2012, last updated Feb 19, 2018
I'm typically not a fan of these types of games. I typically play game like Grand Theft Auto and such in order to randomly go around shooting things, run away from the police and such. Not really caring about the story line, but Sleeping Dogs caught my eye from the E3 presentation. I wasn't too hyped up, but it's a game I couldn't resist trying out.
Aug 14, 2012
  • Release Date (NA): August 14, 2012
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Genres: Open world, Third-person shooter, Action, Role-playing
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
Sleeping Dogs is an open world third person shooter developed by United Front, and Square Enix London Studios. You play as an undercover cop named Wei Shen, who slowly works his way through the underground factions of the Triad group called the Sun On Yee, and takes them down from the inside. Armed with Kung Fu and persuasion abilities do you have what it takes?
The Objective and Backstory.

You are a police officer named Wei Shen who goes uncover in order to cripple, and then break the Triad group called the Sun On Yee. Who get their power from drug deals, weapon exchanges, and prostitution. The list goes on. One by one you have to cut the supply of power without getting discovered. Before joining the force you were an associate of the Sun On Yee, but moved to the US with your family in order to break away from that life. Ready to aid the police you rejoin the Triad, but will your past come to haunt you? Old grudges brought back to the surface? Will you have what it takes to grasp sanity?


Y Button - Counter Move, Interact, Enter/Jack Cars.
B Button - Grasp Enemies, Throw Them Into Obstacles.
A Button - Sprint, Jump Onto/Over Obstacles.
X Button - Light Strike, Heavy Strike.
LB Button - Go Into Cover.
RB Button - Reload, Pick Up Weapon.
Left Trigger - Lock On, Aim Weapon.
Right Trigger - Shoot, Throw.
DPad Up/Down - Equip Weapon, Show Weapon, Drop Weapon, Open Phone
Start Button - Menu.
Select Button - Open Map.

The controls work very well with the game, when I first started playing I found them easy to adjust to. Camera control is fast, as well as smooth. Counters are easy to do. (Just spam the Y button.) You know Kung Fu, so using the X button allows you to do a combination of kicks and punches. If you sprint towards an enemy, and press the A button it allows you to do a running Jump kick. The combat system works well with the game, and requires a bit of skill in order to survive. Button mashing doesn't work. (Except for the Counters.) You'll learn new moves, and skills later on in the game. Which keeps the fighting fresh. Throughout some missions guns are scattered everywhere, if you have a gun and press LB to go into cover and then press A to skid across the cover while holding LB you go into a Slow Motion mode allowing you to kill enemies. Carefully, and precisely. (Also great for aiming in hostage situations.) When riding in a car, and on a mission that require you to destroy cars on the road you can hold LT and then press RT to shoot out of the car while driving. Same goes for being on a boat.


There are quite a few enemies in the game. There are the police, grunts, brutes, and bosses. I'll describe each one individually.

Police: Even though you're a cop, you'll still get arrested. Your commanding officer breaks you out once you are arrested, but warns you not to do it again. Police can be evaded by ramming into them with a car. When on the street fighting them you're going to face an endless torrent of cops, followed by Swat.

Grunts: These are pretty much the lower end enemies. They go down in a few hits, and are usually the ones holding guns as well as knifes. When holding a knife, they won't allow you to grasp onto them. However if they're holding a gun you can tackle them and snatch their gun.

Brutes: These guys are the heavy hitters. They tend to only use their hands/brute force in order to kill you. There are two types, a heavy set one who tends to tackle and throw you on the ground. As well as stop on you as you are on the ground. The counter button allows you to well, counter these moves. The other type is just muscle. They punch hard, and are much easier to take down then the other brutes.

Bosses: They are the leaders/second in commands. They usually carry a knife, or some other weapon. You have to chase them, as they run into a secluded area filled with some of their grunts/brutes. You have to take them down, before the boss takes damage. They are just a little stronger than a brute.

Upgrades: The game has a ton of upgradable features. Once you complete a mission whether it is a Police mission, or a mission for the Sun On Yee an experience bar fills up until you get to the next level. Each level allows you to select one upgrade for that category. For example if you complete a Drug bust for the police, and you level up you can select a upgrade that allows you to use a Slim Jim in order to unlock cars rather than to break the window and sound the alarm. Other upgrades include new moves, and abilities such as the Slow Motion ability I described earlier. More takedowns and resistance to damage can also be acquired by these means.

Kung Fu Teacher: A bit later in the game you get to visit your old Kung Fu teacher, who's jade statues have been stolen by an old student and have been scattered all over the city. In exchange for returning them, each one you bring back allows you to learn a new move from your Teacher.

Staying Alive: In some areas there are a few things that allow you to regain health. Food stands, and other things allow you to but the golden gem here is the Health Shrine. It's a red pole with a house structure on top that contains that incenses you pray with, and smell. Health is instantly restored. Sleeping also restores health. By utilizing the Counter feature, these things aren't going to be needed that much. (I haven't used a single food stand, and maybe one or two shrines.) Over time, if you stay still you slowly regain a bit of health.

Transportation: The main sources of transportation in the game are cars, motorcycles, buses, and boats. You have the choice of either high jacking a ride, paying a taxi to instantly transport you to an area for a fee, or get a car you own out of the parking garage. Later on in the game you get access to boats as you need them in missions. Eventually you'll meet an auto dealer who will sell you cars for cheap. In order to get him to sell you the cars however you have to acquire face which is done by completing Side missions.

Customization: There's some customization in the game. You can change clothes, change the color of your car, and that's pretty much it. The most customization is your clothing where you can select outfits, shirts, pants, shoes, hats, and such. I wish there was a bit more customization in colors, as well as being able to customize your rides a bit more. Like motors, lights, and such. More clothes and cars become available as you gain more face.

Side Missions: There are side missions located on the map. Two kinds really, there are just random people on the street that need help or there's police missions such as busting a drug deal, planting cameras, and taking down robbers. These missions allow you to get face which allows you access to buy more clothes, and vehicles. Other missions aren't really missions. Just things you can do on the side. Cock fights, racing, fighting for money, and jacking cars and bringing them to a chop shop.

Interactive Features: In the game there are some parts when you need to use a little skill in order to do things that require your interaction with the analog sticks. Like in order to unscrew a screw, pick a lock, set up a bug, or even to trace a call. (You can find an example of tracing a call in the video I posted above.)

Hidden Treasures: All around Hong Kong there are treasures hidden around. Some are jade statues that you can give to your Kung Fu teacher in exchange for learning some new fighting moves. Others are lock boxes that contain either cash, or outfits. Some side missions also give you outfits as well. One example of an outfit you can get from a side mission is Rico's outfit from Just Cause 2.


I felt the graphics in the game were pretty basic. The textures really give the game a realistic feel to the environment, and even to the character's clothing. The cars look slick, the blood is a dark red or deep crimson. I also liked how when you kill or punch someone their blood gets over your face and or clothing. So when you leave other people will know you've been in a fight. My only complaint really is the lack of facial expressions. Lack of emotion in the characters faces sort of derives from the seriousness that the game portrays.


The soundtrack in the game is typical of most of the games in this genre in the sense of how the game plays out. When going into a boss fight the music starts to get a serious tone. I sometimes feel as though the music syncs with the fight. Almost all vehicles have a built in radio that allows you to change the station. So if you want to listen to some classical music on your way to bashing some heads you can. The different stations and music changes throughout the game really makes it so that the music isn't repetitive and gets you pumped up at times for a big event.


Overall this game is definitely a must have. The gameplay is great, controls are solid, and the graphics/story is easy to follow. I've played a few games in this genre that were good, but not a "can't put controller down" good. There are some realistic aspects of the game I really enjoyed. The small ones being that when you drink a can of soda you just throw it on the ground, and it rolls away. If you steal someone's car they run after you, and if you aren't fast enough they will throw you out of the car. Damage to your car sticks, so there's no entering a cut scene and your car being brand new. My only complaints are that I get some glitches where an area doesn't completely load right away so I fall through the map. Making me restart the game from my last save. Extremely annoying in races, but i solved by slowing down when you see the level isn't loaded, and then you wait for it to load. Some games don't need multiplayer, but I feel like it'd be a really nice bonus to have it implemented in this game. The game does have leaderboards, so I suppose that's a plus as well. Other than those things the game is entirely solid.
+ Excellent Graphics
+ Side Quests
+ Smooth Controls
+ Open World
+ Leaderboards
- Loading glitch
- No multiplayer
- Lack of facial expressions
9 Presentation
I feel like the game was presented just as it should have been. Excellent story, some nice music that gets you pumped up for whatever you're going into, and to pull it all together nice graphics. Just wish it had better facial expression to add onto the dramatic effect.
10 Gameplay
I feel like the Gameplay is spot on, and easy to get used to. Controls are smooth, and easy to memorize. Camera control is smooth, not jerky at all. It's nice to just cruise around finding things to do.
10 Lasting Appeal
If you're just playing the main Triad quests you'll be able to beat the game in about 3 days, but the real lasting appeals are the side missions, and unlockables. Wanting to get that 100% completed.
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
The game has a certain feel to it that makes you not want to put down the controller. Whether it be doing Police missions, Triad missions, or just randomly going into the misc events such as Cock Fights, or Races. The glitch makes the game a bit frustrating, but only a little bit.


  • Devin
  • EyeZ
  • Devin
  • Hadrian
  • wrettcaughn