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January 21, 2015

Sleeping Dogs ReMix Review


We're not in China anymore...

NOTE: This is a review of the Definitive Edition of the game, excluding the two story based DLCs, Year of the Snake and Nightmare at North Point, due to time constraints.

Reviewed By: KVR

Verdict: Mature Gamers Only (For Incredibly Strong Bloody Violence and Crude Sexual References.)

Release Date: August 2012

Developer: United Front Games

Publisher: Square Enix

Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One


Genre: Open-World Action



Areas of Concern:

--One mission has the player run a truck full of chickens into the ocean. While the chickens are never shown or heard, the implication of them drowning might be upsetting. 


Violence:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

NOTE: Violence is sometimes committed against women and civilians. While this is not actively encouraged, there are some scenes where players have to roughly kidnap women and innocent people.
 
--A man is slashed to death with a cleaver off-screen; we hear his terrified screams and hear three crunches, followed by blood spraying out into view. The man's screaming and sound effects make this scene quite graphic, in spite of nothing being shown.

--A man is cut up and cooked; we see some intestines and blood surrounding a bucket filled with organs. Later on, a man is forced to eat said person's cooked ear; we see it enter his mouth with some protestation from him, spitting the severed ear out in the process.

--A man is thrown into an ice-chipper, with lots of blood spraying out of the machine and graphic sound effects as the man screams and thrashes. This carries on for quite some time.

--We see the corpse of a man, with his stomach cut open and intestines clearly visible, with lots of blood dripping from his slashed abdomen. A blood pool is shown beneath him, and we see an extreme close-up of his bloodied face, bruised in a deathly expression.

--A man strangles a guard with the cord of a suspended lightbulb, choking being heard and the man struggles around for a while. The man stumbles away, leaving bloody footprints from his injured foot. 

He then encounters another man urinating in the toilet, punches him, slams his head against the toilet, and drowns him in the water. The man gurgles and struggles around viciously, before finally dying after some time.

Another man is then fought and stabbed through the chest with a machete in slow-motion, with lots of blood spraying out. He is then brutally punched repeatedly until his face turns entirely purple with bruises and his face is drenched in blood. Blood sprays out with every single punch, until he dies, a puddle of blood surrounding his head.

--A man is strapped to a chair and tortured with a scalpel; he is slashed once off-screen, a graphic slice heard and the man screams in pain. He is then sliced again, which is shown from the side with a spurt of blood and another scream. 

Afterwards, the interrogator takes a hammer and hits one of the man's toes (off-screen), a spurt of blood shown, a crunch heard, and the man shrieks with pain. Finally, he is drilled in the knee with an electric drill, blood squirting out and lots of screaming being heard. (This is slightly obscured.) 

--A man slashes the cheek of another man with a meat cleaver, blood bursting out and the man screams in pain. The man then chops him in the shoulder, blood spraying out and more screams of pain are heard.

--A man is executed at close range with a pistol; we see blood burst out the side of his head, and his entire face is covered with blood. We then see his corpse afterwards, a pool of gore forming around his head.

--Players can shoot people, and several people are shot during the game by other characters; bursts of blood are shown, splattering over the environment and clothing of the victim and nearby characters, and pools of blood form beneath fallen people.

--A man and a woman are shown with bullet holes and blood all over them, the man's face and shirt being covered in blood and his wife's dressed drenched in gore. The man dies shortly afterwards.

--Players can use cars to run over people, a scream heard and blood splattering over the environment. You can also ram into cars, with wreckage and sparks flying, before the car eventually falls apart, smoke rising from it's engine and then it explodes.

You can ram bikes as well, destroying the bike with wreckage flying and the driver flies off the bike, blood spraying out as they fall to the ground. 

-You can shoot cars with guns and grenade launchers, blowing them up in slow-motion with explosions and wreckage everywhere.

--Players can engage in hand-to-hand combat; you can punch, kick, knee, and stomp enemies, with mists of blood spraying out, staining their bodies, and cries of pain are heard.

You can grab them and throw them on the ground, or charge them into walls or tables, slamming their heads into the environments, painful cries heard. Or you can take the enemy and throw them hard against the ground, the ground shattering and a thud being heard.

You can twists arms and legs around and stomp on them, cracks being heard as they break and the enemy screams in pain. One move involves breaking the enemy's leg with a loud crack and a high-pitched scream of pain, which causes the surrounding enemies to cringe.

You can also knee enemies in the ribs, alternating between right and left, with cracks and cries of pain being heard.

--You can use objects to attack enemies with:

-You can use knives, cleavers, angle grinders, and blunt objects to fight enemies with; "puffy" slicing sounds are heard and blood sprays out after every slice/hit, staining the environment and the enemy's clothing. You can also throw knives/cleavers at enemies, which impales them with a spurt of blood. 

--You can perform environmental takedowns on enemies:

-You can slam an enemy's face into an upright standing fan, blood spraying out of the fan and splattering all over you and the enemy, violent screams of pain heard. Alternatively, you can slam him face first into a table with a saw in it, with similar (bloody) results.

-You can pick an enemy up and throw him down on a spike, blood spraying out of his abdomen as the blade penetrates him with a crunch heard, and he screams in pain. You can also throw him on an suspended hook, which bursts through his chest with a graphic sound effect and scream of pain.

-You can stick an enemy's head into a fire pit, setting him on fire as he screams in pain. He then runs around, on fire, for a while afterwards, screaming in pain until he becomes black and charred, and expires. You can also slam a man's head on a stove, with similar results.

-You can put a man's head in boiling water, with the man gurgling underwater as steam rises. This goes on for about five seconds, until your character throws the man to the ground, steam rising from the man's face as he screams and scratches himself.

-You can throw a man into water with eels in it; we hear electricity noises and the man gurgling and convulsing as the eel electrocutes him.

-You can throw an enemy against a breaker box, which explodes and electricity surges through him as he screams and convulses in pain, before finally collapsing.

-You can throw an enemy head first in-between two rotating gears, a loud SPLAT and CRUNCH sound being heard, blood spurting out, and the body of the enemy spasms as he screams intensely. 

-You can slam their heads into the door opening of a car, slam the door against their heads several times, blood splattering all over the car, and then kick it against their head, a burst of a blood, a scream and a crack being heard.

-You can slam a man into the empty bonnet of a car and dropped a suspended car engine on him, a huge splatter of blood and a scream of pain heard.

--Players can visit a "cockfighting" ring, where two roosters are pitted against each other in a fight to the death. We see the two roosters claw at each other, feathers bursting out, until one falls over. (This entire fight is bloodless.)

--There are several environments stained with blood and with corpses littering the environment, gore-stained. In one sequence, players run through an entire building splattered with blood and with large blood pools all over the place, leaking out from underneath doors.

Context of Violence: Shock Value

Sex/Nudity:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--Frequent (and occasionally graphic) sexual references:

-A gang leader talks about a girl being the first one ever to perform a specific sexual act on him, mentioned in explicit deatil, and then says if he sees her again, he wouldn't mind "giving her a mouthful".


-A woman cups a man's the front of man's pants while she kisses him. This is shown in close-up very briefly.


-We faintly hear a woman making noises inside a bedroom. This is suggestive, but not very graphic and somewhat hard to hear.


-A man asks another man if he ever "[expletive]" some famous "[expletive]", to which he replies "not yet, maybe one day". The previous man then talks about taking her to a place and explicitly references a liaison with her.


-A man asks if another man doesn't want to "[expletive]" a woman before she comes to the studio, and that she'll "[expletive]" him in a way his "wife never could".

-A woman asks if a man ever had sex in car. He implies that he has, and asks her if she did. He then asks her to come over to him (in a car) and she replies that he is a "bad bad boy", implying a liaison. (The scene cuts away before anything happens.)


-A man asks a man if a woman bought his bluff to have sex on the first date. He replies: "Well, she was already naked, so it wasn't a hard sell."

-A woman calls another woman a derogatory term and references "sexy toys".

-A man stares at a woman's backside, with the camera doing likewise.

-A man says that one "encounter" doesn't determine your sexuality, implying that he a one night stand with someone of the same gender.

-A man sarcastically asks if a man performed oral sex on another man as he died, or if they were just "kissing and feeling each other up". He mentions that another girl wasn't shy "like that", and if he flashed "dope" at her that her "panties disappeared".

-A man talks about another man's sister being hot, all whilst making gestures depicting her female form, and then making suggestive motions.

-A man asks you to tell another man that he should stick to "girls over 14 this time".

-A woman asks if her shirt is too "tight", and a thief robs you as the woman distracts you. She then berates you for being a "pervert".

  -A woman suggestively tells her lover she would like to see him again, and that she'll keep herself "nice and juicy" for when she sees him again. She later flips out at a man for "jumping into" other women.

  -A man is stated to be into prostitution and porn, with human trafficking involved in both. This is referenced several times.

-A woman says she likes to work up a good "sweat now and then" and when a man flirts with her, she asks if he is "coming on to her", and says she wants to "show him something".

--We see several suggestively clad women, dressed in attire exposing cleavage, thighs, midriffs, and so on. A couple of prostitutes are shown dressed in miniskirts and revealing tops. Several billboards also shown women stripped down to bikinis, revealing lots of skin.

-Players can also choose to strip their (male) character down to his underwear, and one outfit shows him wearing very minimalistic briefs.

--Players can go to "Massage" parlours and pay a girl on the outside for said "massage", with her claiming to be "extra naughty" tonight and asking for "help" with that. Your character then walk with their arms around each other to the inside of a building, but the scene cuts away before anything happens.

-A woman talks about sitting on a man's lap and "singing" to him. He accepts, and the camera pans away when the woman says they should go "sing". It's mildly implied that this is a sexual encounter.

Context of Sex/Nudity: Fanservice, References

Language:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

Frequent Uses of F**k, S**t, P**sy, C**ks**ker, Pr**k, C**k, A*s, D**che, B**ls, B**ch, P**s, B**t**d, C**p, H**l, and D**n.

--A few uses of "Jesus f**king Christ" and several other uses of God and Jesus' names in vain.

Context of Language: Grittiness

Spiritual Content: 

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--Much symbolism focuses on dragons and the like, going with Chinese culture. Statues of ancient Chinese creatures are also depicted in temples and the like. The Ying and Yang symbol is shown a few times. As a side mission, players have to collect sculptures of Chinese creatures. The man remarks that they are probably destined to find their way back.

-A Chinese funeral is shown, with incense altars shown and characters praying.

-A man is said to be obsessed with Feng Shui, and a mission involves breaking objects in his house in order to freak him out and make him believe that evil spirits have visited his home.

-An initiation into a triad is depicted, with men taking oaths, agreeing to die horribly if they betray their "brothers" and references to "gods" destroying them if they are traitors.

-A man wishes you "good luck" and says that the "gods are watching".

-A man asks if another man is a "zen master" and he replies in the affirmative.

-A man has to bluff about being a monk, and talks about there being energy among flowers, and that draws people together, that all people are part of the same cosmos, and that they are all part of a single organism that never dies. 

--One of the shirts you can buy features an illustration of a goat head, not unlike Baphomet.

--Players can light an incense stick and bow several times at an alter, in order to gain additional skills. In a temple, several monks are shown bowing before a statue of Buddha, surrounded by candles and dragon sculptures.

Context of Spiritual Content: Chinese Religion, Justified

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive

--References and depictions of drug use:

-A buyer samples cocaine by snorting it, which is shown in detail. Later on, another man samples drugs as well, but this is obscured.

-A man says he dropped a "tab" and acts in an obviously "high" manner. Later on, the same guy mentions that he took some "mushrooms".

-A man talks about his sister dying of an "OD", or a drug overdose.

-A drug dealer is said to be selling to schoolgirls.

-A shop vendor talks about a man demanding twenty times the normal payment, possibly due to a drug habit.

-References to a ketamine racket. The player later buys a package of ketamine as part of an undercover operation.

-A bus driver sarcastically asks if you're "stoned" when you start harassing him.

-Several references to drug deals, the "dope" and people have drug addictions or stealing money for drugs. 

-A woman says she "got high" at a party.

-A woman discusses influencing a man to overdose on heroin by causing him grief.

--Characters are depicted as drinking heavily and getting drunk. Players can go to a nightclub as well, where a lot of people are shown drinking and dancing.

--People are depicted smoking cigarettes.

Context of Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco Usage: Cool Factor, Shock Value,

Gross Stuff/Gore:

--Several scenes take place in a butcher shop, and show pig carcasses, dripping with blood, and several buckets stained with large amounts of blood.

-In one scene, a man chops a (dead) fish apart out of anger, blood squirting out.

--Several characters are shown urinating during the game, yellow fluids visible but no nudity. Urine is shown in toilets, which can be used in combat, with the enemy's face ending up inside the bodily fluids. In one scene, a man is drowned in his own urine.

--A man gathers a group of vagrants and orders them to vandalise a store; one of the vagrants pees into a plant pot, yellow fluids shown (no nudity), and a man throws a stink bomb into the shop, with several of the people inside throwing up vigourously, yellow fluids and all shown in detail.

Emotional Scenes:

--A man and his wife are cruelly gunned down; the man dies holding his wife, in denial of her passing.

Dialogue/Miscellaneous:

--Players can extort shop vendors for personal gain, which is usually done by demanding money from them in a gruff and threatening way. If they don't cooperate, you have to fight with their employees in order to make them see "reason".

-Players can also harass other people to get them to back off out of your territory. One mission involves the player continuously blowing their bus's horn at another bus to harass them into getting out of their territory. 

-Players can also do missions which require players to intimidate people, commit insurance fraud, bug a person's telephone, bribe people, and so on. 

-References to organ harvesting in relation to a serial killer. Nothing graphic is shown. 

-A man is stated to be into "castrating" people. 

Gambling:

--Players can play Poker Mahjong for money. (Not real money of course. In-game money only.)

Morality:

Abysmal Bad So-so Okay Good Very Good

While players take on the role of an undercover policeman, the morality is clearly shown to be that of someone living a life of crime, even though there is some moral aspects to be found here.

Morality Type: Life of Crime

Review of Game:

Hello everybody! Welcome back to another "fabulous" review brought to you by your favourite undercover cooking website, KVR Gaming!

Speaking of undercover, our latest review's subject is a little game known as Sleeping Dogs. (No, not Watch Dogs, it's SLEEPING Dogs. There's a tonal difference between the two titles, you see?)

Sleeping Dogs revolves around an undercover policeman known as Wei Shen, seeking to bring a dangerous Hong Kong triad known as the Sun On Yee, and has to deal with conflicting loyalties to the police and the triad, which is fast becoming the family he never had. 

Sound interesting? Well, yeah, kinda. But anyway, let's find out how this tale of conflicting loyalties holds up, shall we?

Right off the bat, Sleeping Dogs is an Open-World action game, anchored firmly in the fruitful soil of Hong Kong. The setting is brought to life by stunning attention to detail, setting itself apart from the rest of the Open-World pack by being scarily close to reality, not unlike the other "dogs" game.

The setting is filled with fun side-quests and activities, some of which are police jobs which involve stopping a robbery, engaging in a high-speed pursuit chase with a suspect or using surveillance cameras to take down drug dealers and potential murderers. (Another similarity to Watch Dogs.)

But what really sets the game apart, is the twisting story about the dealings of the Sun On Yee. Wei is chosen to go undercover and bring down the triad from within. The narrative unfolds across several high-octane action-filled mission, featuring characters with moderate amounts of depth.

While not the deepest story, the tale of Wei and his two opposing "bros" makes for an entertaining story guaranteed to keep you playing.

Storyline out of the way, the gameplay is where the game really becomes it's own. While most Open-World games give you guns and projectiles, Sleeping Dogs arms you with the two fists your mum and your dad so graciously provided you with.

The combat is very satisfying, even if it doesn't reach the addictive standards of Batman Arkham City or even genuine Fighting games. Performing successful takedowns with upgraded moves (earned by collecting lost statues) makes you feel like a true Master of Hollywood Martial Arts.

Also, this game has karoake bars where you can play cheesy 80s music a la Guitar Hero. Need I say more!?

Quality Verdict: Great (B+)

While not the greatest Open World game ever made, Sleeping Dogs provides you with way more than your money's worth, with an intriguing story, enjoyable side missions and an overall wealth of content. 
Highly recommended.

Conclusion:

Let's cut to the chase: Sleeping Dogs is violent. And I mean, violent. This is one of the most graphic games I've ever played, with brutal killings and hard-hitting combat. As you can see by the none too expansive Content Rundown, there's a lot of content to consider here before playing.

Besides the violence, there's a large amount of moderate to graphic sexual references, even if sexual content is largely limited. Language is also similarly graphic, with F-bombs being dropped like money falls out of my bank account. (Sniff, sniff.)

Spiritual content is prominent, with "health shrines" your character can pray to, demonic creatures in Nightmare at North Point, and a cult in Year of the Snake, both DLCs I didn't include in this review due to time constraints and external pressure.

All in all, a game exclusively for the mature. Play with caution...

Verdict: 18+

For Incredibly Strong Bloody Violence and Crude Sexual References.

Outro: First review of the year complete. Sorry it took so long, people. Had a rough month, and couldn't get to things in a timely manner due to being burned out.

Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this first review and found it insightful. Until next time, this is Kyle, signing out!

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