Death of the Critic

The Backlog - Sleeping Dogs

Written by: Tom Blaich


I have a confession to make. Like many of you reading this, I have a list of games that I’ve been meaning play for years. I have way too many games on Steam, and a stack of cases sitting next to my TV. Close to five hundred games now. Maybe more. It makes me feel guilty. I haven’t touched 90% of them in one way or another. I need to fix that. So this week, I dug deep into my
backlog and pulled out a game. I want to play all of them; I’ve just never had the chance. Now’s the time.

I’ve made my feelings known about open-world games before, but I just can’t stop playing them. It has been a few years since Sleeping Dogs came out, which still surprises me given the troubled lineage of the title. It was warmly received, finally giving a GTA-style open-world game a satisfying combat system. It made the game fun to play in a way that few open-world titles manage to be. By making combat fun, it made the inherent experience of playing the game better.

They did a really good job at creating a living world that you can run through. It feels populated and crowded, like a city full of people instead of a playground. And that adds a lot to the story by making it more believable. You get the feeling that there are stories behind the scenes that you are encountering. Your romance options have a life outside of your dates. They leave and they move on when you aren’t talking to them and they don’t appreciate it when you two time them. They want you to care about them, not just trying to complete all of your options.


Sleeping Dogs takes a well established genre and mixes things up in a refreshing way. But it does suffer from the same problem that many open-world games have. You do the same thing over and over again. The combat system is solid and satisfying, obviously based off of the free flow combo and counter based system of the Batman Arkham games, which had a huge effect on games for a fe years, but at a certain point it gets boring to keep fighting the same enemies over and over. I found it was faster and easier to just grab my enemies and throw them against the environment instead of taking the time to actually fight them.

There are your standard array of open-world collection missions and side quests, but I just didn’t feel like screwing around in this world. You don’t just hang out in intersections and blow up cars and get chased by police, because it just doesn’t feel right, and at a certain point, the gameplay loop wore thin for me and I walked away. I enjoyed the world and the story a lot, but by virtue of its genre, it did lose my interest.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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