Sleeping Dogs Game Poster Image

Sleeping Dogs

(i)

 

Learning(i)

High-adrenaline adventure packed with blood, sex, and drugs.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While you play an undercover police officer in this game, it does not have a positive message. There is extreme violence, blood and gore, sexual content, foul language, and other questionable material.

Positive role models

Wei Shen seems like a good person, out to avenge his sister's murder and take down the Hong Kong triad from the inside, but he inflicts so much death -- including over-the-top kills using the environment -- that he shouldn't be considered a good role model. You'd think an undercover cop would be a positive role model, but not so.

Ease of play

The game has a mandatory tutorial at the start of the game, and controlling Shen isn't so difficult. The game layers on some of the more complicated moves over time, too. That said, this game does employ all the buttons, triggers, analog sticks, and d-pad on the Xbox 360 controller (used for the purposes of this review), which might be overwhelming for some.

 

Violence

The game is extremely violent, bloody, and gory. While you're fighting and killing bad guys who are part of a criminal organization, you are punching, kicking, shooting, and using the environment to kill them -- often with large amounts of blood splatter. For example, you can push someone's face into a spinning fan (and hear shrieks of pain from the victim), use a power drill to impale them, or crush their body with a metal door.

Sex

While there is no nudity in the game, the dialogue sequences are very suggestive, including references to sex with underage girls, oral sex, rape, and torture. You don't see any of this happening -- except one or two scenes of women touching men (off-camera). You can also purchase time at a massage parlor that offers more than a backrub. Women often show lots of cleavage or wear short skirts, and are often talked to in a disrespectful way by the men in the gangs.

Language

The game has very strong profanity, including words like "c--t," "f--k," motherf--ker" and "s--t." This kind of language is heard often in dialogue sequences. 

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The game does depict scenes of drug use (such as someone snorting an illicit substance), along with people smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. The lead character doesn't do any of these however, unlike some other video games that let you choose to get drunk (and see the screen blur, etc.).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Sleeping Dogs is an extremely violent, gory, and bloody game -- including the ability to kill enemies (even unarmed ones) in a number of gruesome ways. There is also a lot of profanity, sexual innuendo, and imagery tied to consuming drugs and alcohol. Parents need to take heed of the "Mature" rating for this content that's inappropriate for young eyes and ears. Unlike Grand Theft Auto games, however, you cannot kill innocent pedestrians. This game is programmed to support "Family Settings" on video game consoles, so parents with a password could prevent this game being played by underage kids.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Math

  • money

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • applying information
  • investigation

Self-Direction

  • self-reflection
  • work to achieve goals

Emotional Development

  • identifying emotions

Responsibility & Ethics

  • following codes of conduct

What Kids Can Learn

Sleeping Dogs wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Math

  • money

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • applying information
  • investigation

Self-Direction

  • self-reflection
  • work to achieve goals

Emotional Development

  • identifying emotions

Responsibility & Ethics

  • following codes of conduct

Sleeping Dogs wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Marc Saltzman

What's it about?

Influenced by Asian action flicks, SLEEPING DOGS introduces you to Wei Shen, an undercover cop who infiltrates one of the world's most infamous criminal organizations: the Hong Kong Triads. At the start of the gritty game, the tattooed hero starts performing odd jobs for seedy types to win their trust, but as you dive deeper into the underworld you'll take on tougher tasks –- some which challenge your resolve and question your motives. Without giving much away, you learn Shen spent some time in the U.S. but returns to Hong Kong to work with the authorities, in part to avenge his sister's murder. Similar to games like Grand Theft Auto, this is an "open-world" game that lets you venture anywhere you like, take on side missions for people, and use money collected to customize the look of your character. Played from a third-person perspective, you'll experience many dozens of intense shoot-outs, escort missions, and engage in dramatic car and foot chases –- but there's a lot more hand-to-hand combat in Sleeping Dogs, as you might expect from a Hong Kong cinema-inspired action game.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

For mature players who like gritty action games, Sleeping Dogs it's a blast. The martial arts fighting is the best part, even when taking on more than ten enemies at one time -- Bruce Lee-style. Early on in the game you'll learn how to punch and kick, perform chained combo moves, block and counterattack, and even grab a baddie by the lapel to toss him in to others. You can also use the environment to inflict major harm (such as smashing baddie through a payphone). Again, take heed to the game's "Mature" warning, but these imaginative and cinematic finishing moves will make you wince and laugh at the same time.

While the character animations are a little stiff, the virtual Hong Kong looks fantastic, be it the neon-lit streets (reflecting off wet pavement), bustling markets in Kowloon or jumping between rooftops, across docks, or tearing down busy roads while in pursuit of someone. Story sequences are entertaining to watch, with well-written dialogue, memorable characters, and competent voice acting (in both English and Cantonese, with subtitles). Sleeping Dogs is an extraordinarily fun –- but graphic –- interactive drama. Fans of games like Grand Theft Auto or Hong Kong action movies will no doubt find this game an enjoyable blend between the two worlds.

Families can talk about...

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Square Enix
Release date:August 14, 2012
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs

This review of Sleeping Dogs was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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About Our Rating System

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byPART III August 15, 2012

Very graphic violence, sex, and drugs and drinking.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bythe wise one August 15, 2012
LEARNING

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

People should know that this game is a work of art. From the brightly lit neon signs of Hong Kong, to the gritty storytelling of the life of an undercover officer trying to infiltrate the Chinese Triads. Parents should know that this game is NOT appropriate for children whatsoever. The game contains frequent, graphic violence (hand to hand combat and gunplay), constant strong language (around 100+ F words), sexual dialogue, and references to drug use. The story is thrilling and engaging for mature audiences. Racketeering, violence, prostitution, gambling, and street racing are all explored in this game.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byVic 2.0 March 31, 2014
LEARNING

Best since GTA: San Andreas

This is easily the best open world crime game I've played in a long time (and yes, that includes both GTAs 4 and 5). That's because you can really tell the developers put a lot of thought into every aspect of the gameplay itself, as opposed to spending 99% of their time on graphics and map size (ahem). What's cool about it is the graphics are still really good, and the map is satisfactorily big. Cruising through the streets of Hong Kong with some smooth hip hop, classic rock, soothing pop or old school soul on the radio is truly a pleasure both day and night (That's assuming you don't want to just throw on some speed metal or techno and floor it, you can do that too). The streets are particularly beautiful when it rains, and the water is always beckoning you to take a dive or hop in a boat! There are tons of interesting locations to explore, indoors and out. A good selection of vehicles, including motorcycles and boats. No flying, but that's what Just Cause 2 is for! Besides, who would want to leave this place?! GENERAL GAMEPLAY/MOVEMENT ON FOOT There isn't a ton of gunplay. There's enough to keep you in practice and spice things up at just the right moments (and they even spiced up the gunplay itself with some really nifty incorporations of bullet-time, borrowed from Max Payne), but the melee combat is where SD shines brightest. It functions a lot like the combat sequences in Assassin's Creed but to me looks and feels quite a bit better somehow. You can use objects in your immediate surroundings to perform "environmental kills", take a human shield, or even throw a guy in your trunk and drive around! You can learn combo attacks that are actually pretty easy to master, and it doesn't take long before you can take down a whole mob of enemies with ease. But just like everything else, it stays fun. They did a remarkable job in making things challenging but not frustrating. There were a few missions I failed more than once, but none that made me want to give up or shout obscenities. Also borrowed from Assassin's Creed is the parkour. Free-running, jumping over objects, climbing short walls is a delight! You HOLD the button to run instead of tapping it repeatedly like a lunatic as in some other games, and the same button you use to run with is the same button you use to jump with, so there's no switching buttons when you want to climb or jump a short wall quickly. All in all, movement in Sleeping Dogs is quite smooth once you get used to the controls (as you have to do with any game). GENERAL FEATURES There are literally countless little features in this game that you can't find in games like GTA. Things like having your favorite vehicle (indeed, ALL your vehicles) accessible in garages all over the map instead of just the one you happened to store it in, and a valet service you can use to have your favorite vehicle delivered to you (He's more dependable than the mechanic in GTA 5). You can save outfits, which makes deciding what to wear next a snap, and the clothes you buy often provide some sort of bonus in the experience points you earn while wearing them. Food/drinks give you temporary boosts in stats like health regeneration and melee damage. It goes on and on. And collectibles? LOTS of 'em! But just like so much else in the game, finding them is neither too easy nor exasperatingly difficult. Plus, you actually WANT to find them because they all unlock different rewards to keep you motivated. FEATURES (DRIVING-RELATED) ...No... I'm not done talking about the features. The GPS puts arrows on the screen itself so you don't have to "play the mini-map" (keep your eyes glued to the mini-map so you don't miss a turn) like you do in GTA 5. Also unlike GTA 5, Sleeping Dogs gives you two buttons with which to change your radio station instead of just one, and you can adjust the volume of your radio without going into settings. You can change objectives (where your GPS directs you to) with the press of a button so you don't have to pause to look at your map as often. Abilities are like no other in this genre. You can ram enemy vehicles much more effectively, go into slow-motion while shooting at enemies in front of and behind you WHILE DRIVING, and perform action hi-jacks in which you leap from one moving vehicle to the roof of another to steal it. STORY/MISSIONS The story is great, really keeps your interest the whole way through. Much more serious than GTA and Saint's Row, though there are pleasant moments to uplift your spirits in the midst of dramatic events. You actually come to care about several characters in the game. And the missions never seem repetitive. Maybe that's because they aren't, or maybe it's just because everything's so much fun you can't get enough of any of it! While similar to other games in this genre in that the mini-games are lacking (with the exception of karaoke, which is surprisingly entertaining when you want a break from all the seriousness), most of the side missions are a blast. Whether you're chasing down a purse thief, racing through checkpoints in the street, or putting the beatdown on a local gang guarding a camera you must then turn around and hack into, you won't be disappointed! SUMMARY Point is, you should definitely get this game! That's especially if you like any of the GTA or Saint's Row games and are just in the mood for a change in scenery or mood. Parents: This game contains fairly graphic violence, extensive use of obscenities (though half of them are spoken in Chinese and subtitled in English), no nudity/strip clubs but a few explicit sexual references, references to drugs and alcohol abuse but none that promote it, and the story won't make you torture innocent people by slowly pulling their teeth out with pliers to progress the story like some games that shall remain nameless *cough*GTA 5*cough*
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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