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E3 2012: Sleeping Dogs hands-on

E3 2012

Sleeping Dogs has potential sleeper hit of the summer written all over it. When Activision canceled the title it seemed to be a prime pickup for Square Enix, one that fit into their catalogue naturally and was necessary for someone to publish. And so, despite the troubled development cycle, Sleeping Dogs – formerly True Crime: Hong Kong / Black Lotus – is back on track and looking sharper than ever. We went hands-on with the upcoming Eastern-leaning crime game at this year’s E3.

We needed to track down some drug dealer named Ming who had refused to pay his debts to our friends and make some kind of an example out of him. After our mission was relayed to us in cut scenes, we took to the street and found a unique atmospheric city filled with festivities and life. There were dancers dressed up as dragons prancing around on a stage and a swarm of people crowded around street venders, as we made our way through the narrow streets in search of Ming.

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Soon we found Ming mingling with some woman and approached him, leading into an on foot chase sequence which carried through the streets and found us moving seamlessly through the environment, lunging over fences and keeping pace with the target.

Ming leads us into a room filled with his thugs. This is where Sleeping Dogs comes into its own, with a emphasis on fluid martial arts attacks and over-the-top grappling kills. We grab one thug and smash his head into a fan, take out some others, and throw the last one into a dumpster, before taking up chase after Ming again. This leads into a rooftop sequence with more thugs and stylish opportunities for more hand-to-hand kills before our character is arrested and the demo ends.

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What especially stands out in Sleeping Dogs is the unique setting of Hong Kong. It’s one that’s rarely featured in videogames and from the early pieces of content we’ve seen, the title shows a unique promise for capturing the stylish elements of Eastern cinema and tradition. After years of anticipation and accumulating an early kind of cult buzz, Sleeping Dogs is set to release this August.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in July 2007. Get in touch on Twitter @Calvin_Kemph.

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