Sleeping Dogs is here! Wei Shen’s thrilling and deceptive spiral into moral obscurity has become 2012’s "sleeper hit", as I called it in the official MMGN review, and it's an absolute blast.
While the game packs a killer storyline and a vast array of awesome characters to interact with, United Front Games have provided plenty more on the gameplay side to get invested in to make your Sleeping Dogs experience the best possible. Here are a few quick tips to maximise your playtime, skills and abilities, or even just make things a bit easier, and be the best undercover Cop, or brutal Triad, you can shape Wei to be.
1. Pimp out your wardrobe
Dress to impress and get some stat boosts for looking good.
You're playing with the Big Dogs now, so you gotta dress the part! Paying attention to the bonuses particular clothing sets bestow Wei is very useful if you want to easily maximise your Triad and Cop XP, or gain some stat bonuses.
Some early outfits like the “J.Jiggler” streetwear give a 5% to Triad XP, and others such as the “Thug” set give useful temporary upgrades to melee damage, so taking on that group of fifteen hardened, knife-wielding Triad gangsters can become that much easier. Plus you can kick their ass in fashion-conscious, coordinated style.
The clothing bonuses are a no-brainer, really. You can upgrade Wei’s abilities and gain more moves quicker, as well as dish out all the more damage as well as take more. Who doesn’t want that?
2. Be a Playa: enjoy the ladies man lifestyle
Who said Cops can't have any fun?
Wei “Heartbreaker” Shen is able to date several women throughout the duration of Sleeping Dogs, and while the ‘date’ missions are linear and brief, each successful date brings about bonuses for Wei that are extremely useful for any playthrough and playstyle. So whether or not you’re a Achievement/Trophy hunter, completionist or you just want to maximise your abilities and gain all collectibles, doing these missions and taking up the mantle of Hong Kong’s biggest playa is a must.
For example, if you complete all date missions with Tiffany, every Jade Statue will be marked on your minimap, making it easier and quicker to upgrade your moves and combos. Here are the others benefits:
Amanda Cartwright: Marks all Health Shrines on the minimap, which can maximise Wei’s health points.
Not Ping: Marks all security cameras throughout the city on your minimap.
Sandra: Unlocks race tracks in Victoria’s Peak district.
Ilyana: Marks locations of all Lockboxes on your minimap, which provides bonus cash for Wei.
Be careful in relation to Not Ping and Tiffany’s missions, and do them as soon as you receive them. If you get Not Ping’s number for a date before completing ‘Tiffany’s Song’, it will say that the number was added to your phone, but won’t actually be there, preventing you from getting Not Ping’s bonus of marking all security cameras on the minimap, which makes locating them all the more harder.
3. Collect the Jade Statues early
You want to learn this? Get 'dem Jade Statues, boy.
As part of the scripted storyline, you’ll be introduced to Wei’s former Kung Fu master before he left Hong Kong for the United States. His master will tell him of how the majority of his rare Jade Statues collection was stolen save for one, and Wei can task himself to return the statues to his former master and friend.
Wei's reward is getting skill points to spend on Wei’s melee skill tree and learn better abilities, which grant him more powerful and extended combos that make Wei more effective in kicking and punching the shit out of dirty Triad gangsters (or innocent civilians and fellow cops, take your pic). These combos also allow him to chain his moves more fluidly and flexibly, so making the statues a priority is a must.
A useful offensive upgrade is the ‘Jumping Power Roundhouse Kick’, which, after pressing the attack button four times and holding it down on the fifth, makes Wei execute a devastating and extremely cool roundhouse that knocks big mobs down. If you prefer a more tactical solution, Leg Breaker is a great choice, incapacitating an enemy by, that’s right, you guessed it, breaking their leg.
To experience the most out of the game’s solid and enjoyable hand-to-hand combat emphasis and to get through the more challenging activities and missions, such as the Drug Busts, easier and more effectively, find as many of the shiny green Jade Statues as early in your playthrough as you can. As mentioned above, a good way to locate them if you’re having trouble is to complete the mission, “Tiffany Song”; at its completion, all Jade Statues will be marked on your map.
4. Binge on Dragon Kicks & herbal teas, indulge in “massages” and eat lots of pork buns!
"A man who never eats pork buns is never a whole man!"
Food, drink and “massage” boosts in Sleeping Dogs are easy and pricey enough to ignore early in the game, but as the story progresses and the missions become harder, it’s always helpful to try them out for some very useful (but temporary) stat boosts.
The defense bonus from herbal teas, the attack bonus from dragon kick sodas, and the health regeneration bonus from food items will most likely be the difference between life and death when you’re ambushed by twenty grapplers and brawler Triads looking to kick your ass in this life and the next. Also, massages net you slight Face XP gains, which help as the temporary bonuses from these consumable items increase as you level up your Face meter.
So, don’t deprive Wei of food, drink or special “massages”, and let him indulge for the better! Remember, as the hilarious Pork Bun vendor NPC always states, "a man who never eats pork buns, is never a whole man!"
5. Smash parking meters, get money
"Keep the change, you flithy animal!"
At the beginning of the game, cash can be harder to come by. A quick way to get some easy money other than doing missions and finding lockboxes is to smash parking meters with your vehicle. While individually they don't provide much cash, a string of parking meters will net you at least a couple of hundred dollars.
Combine this with your regular income from missions and you'll be rolling in the benjamins in no time. Just be careful to only run over parking meters though, or you'll lose too much Cop XP and get relentless police attention.
6. Utilise the in-game Medals system
Pull off some cool stunts, get rewarded.
Sleeping Dogs already has a massive variety and number of missions and activities to do, but United Front Games have spoiled gamers with more. The in-game medals/stats system which awards you based on the feats Wei has achieved, such as how long you drive without crashing is extensive, and grants Bronze, Silver and Gold medals for achieving certain milestones from these feats during your playthrough.
These medals can be viewed in the "Social Hub" aspect of the game, which is used for competitive recording against other players. There are a total of 30 stat awards and you will have to get a gold medal in all of them if you want all the trophies and achievements in the game.
The Stats Award system adds extra fun and competitiveness to the game, and also grants you cool new outfits and certain other bonuses to enjoy. If you want to extend and maximise your experience and playtime with Sleeping Dogs, give the Stats Awards system a try, and remember to just have fun with one of the best games of 2012!
Sleeping Dogs is out now in Australia and all other territories, available on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
By Nathan Misa