Sleeping Dogs Reviews

Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare in North Point review

United Front's open-world Hong Kong crime thriller wasn't exactly shy about borrowing from the Grand Theft Auto playbook when Sleeping Dogs launched back in August, so it's not that much of a surprise to see the developer taking inspiration from another Rockstar hit for this single-player add-on chapter.

Just as Red Dead Redemption looked to the darkness for its Undead Nightmare spin-off, so Nightmare in North Point drops a big bloody slab of horror into the neon sprawl of Hong Kong.

It would be a mistake to call this a zombie game though. Although the monsters that have suddenly populated the streets are technically the undead, they're actually Jiang Shi, creatures from Taoist myth that are as much vampire as zombie.

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Sleeping Dogs Review

Sleeping Dogs Review

Woof justice.

Wei Shen, a Chinese-American cop working undercover to infiltrate a notorious Hong Kong Triad gang, has just received a panicked message from Jackie, his childhood friend. They came up together on the mean streets of Hong Kong and it was Jackie - skinny, endearingly inept in criminal matters and blissfully unaware that his old friend is now a cop - who opened the door that allowed Shen inside the Triads.

But something has gone wrong. Trying to set up a big score for himself with his customary clumsiness, Jackie has tried to sell a shipment of stolen watches and been ripped off. He calls in Shen. "What are you going to do?" asks Jackie. Shen sits astride a motorbike, ready for action. "What I always do" he replies, and roars off to exact revenge-by-proxy on the thugs who took advantage of his friend's weakness.

As played out in one of Sleeping Dogs' many cut-scenes, this exchange is clearly intended as a rousing hero moment for Shen. But "what I always do" is also an unfortunate commentary on the rote structure that constantly holds Sleeping Dogs back. Originally developed as a new entry in Activision's middling True Crime series, before being abandoned and subsequently resurrected by Square Enix, this is as predictable an entry in the open-world cops-and-gangsters genre as it's possible to get.

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