Sleeping Dogs Game Poster Image

Sleeping Dogs

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

What parents need to know

Educational value

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

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.



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.


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.


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. 

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'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.

Families can talk about...

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Subjects:Social Studies: cultural understanding
Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Math: money
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
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Square Enix
Release date:August 14, 2012
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

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Parent Written byRun boy run. August 15, 2012

Great but to much sex, swaering, and drugs

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

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 bydadoftheworld2 November 16, 2012


Ok this is high up there where its really bad for kids.The reason why? because they use language like c*cksucker as$ b*tch son of a b*tch fck sh*t etc.Its also really violent because you can use the envorment around you like in one mission you can hang someone on a harpoon.There also was a scene were you are at a weeding and almost everyone gets murdered.Bad for kids!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking