A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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'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?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding
Language & Reading: following directions, reading
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, investigation
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct
Emotional Development: identifying emotions
Self-Direction: self-reflection, work to achieve goals
- 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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.