Sleeping Dogs 2 debate: does Shen deserve a sequel?

Our scribes brawl over the potential of Sleeping Dogs 2. Do you think Wei Shen merits a sequel or would you like to see the undercover cop consigned to history?

Yes

Says Shen-worshipping Hong Kong obsessive, Ben Wilson

The most important three letters in videogames aren’t G, T, and A. They’re U, F, and N. Rearrange them to form a word that’s become almost taboo in a social-media-dominated world where the initial reaction to //anything that happens ever// is to complain. Bloggers, reviewers and forumites alike are determined to knock a game on ten thousand different technicalities, more often than not forgetting the most simple (and hence important) question of all: is it fun?

In Sleeping Dogs’s case: well, yes. The brawling’s strong, environmental kills are deliciously violent in a balletic John Woo way, Hong Kong’s a pleasure to explore. Sure, it’s a bit glitchy, but the same critics who pull it up on this charge will happily laugh about the //hilarious// time they rode an invisible horse in Red Dead. One colleague of mine was even put off Dogs permanently because, I kid you not, ‘the Emma Stone character has a funny nose.’ (He’s now overanalysing the visuals of a cupboard’s inner door. ‘5/10. A bit brown.’)

No matter how desperately contrarians pick holes in it, the bottom line is that while Sleeping Dogs isn’t GTA, it //is// fun – and for that reason alone, United Front deserves an opportunity to develop another. If they don’t, you’re stuck with Saint’s Row as the only alternative to Rockstar’s sandboxers for another decade. And not even cupboard boy wants that.

No

Says GTA cult member #7481, Dave Meikleham

F, U and N? More like F, U, G, L, Y… you ain’t got no alibi. Alright, that’s a bit harsh. Sleeping Dogs’ rain effects are some of the best I’ve seen since Snake took a right royal dousing from the wet stuff in MGS2. But impressive cloud juice aside, it’s hard to look over the general lack of polish that gives Emma Stone’s character her melted Barbie face. Yup, I confess: I am contrary Calvin Cupboard.

I should clarify that I’d take Wei’s drowsy pooches over 17 Saints Rows. And while my stupid Terminator peepers are bothered by his Vaseline-smeared city and occasional dodgy character model, they’re not game-breakers. No, what smashes Sleeping Dogs to pieces for me is the fact that I simply don’t have room for a sandbox where the buckets and spades are inferior to Grand Theft Auto.

Compared to Rockstar’s biting satire and pitch-perfect radio chatter, Sleeping Dogs’ scripting is more Hong Kong Phooey than Infernal Affairs. And as geographically correct as its Asian metropolis might be, it feels as lifeless as a Friday-night ceilidh in Auchendinny next to Liberty City’s thriving, seedy hub. Add in the floaty vehicles and Shen just can’t hold a criminal candle to Niko. Still, United Front Games deserves huge credit for salvaging Shen from the car crash that was True Crime: Hong Kong. If only my Arnie eyes would let me cheat on Mr. Bellic…