Sleeping Dogs Racing Minigames Are Kinda Fast, But Furiously Infuriating
Sleeping Dogs is an open world action/adventure game set in the city of Hong Kong. As with the trend of any open world games, there will bound to be the inclusion of additional sidequest elements to lengthen the player’s gameplay experience, from treasure hunts that unlocks more moves, additional health bars, or add more Hong Kong Dollars to your pockets, to minigames such as streetfighting, gambling in illegal casinos and cockfighting, which are regionally appropriate (as someone born in Southeast Asia, I can confirm the last two). Hell, you can also do what most players in any open world game tend to do: travel to the end of the map by boat and see if you get blocked off by an invisible wall, or crash the game outright. However, the focus is on one of the most common staple of any open world games with modern driveable vehicles: racing.
Playing through one of the racing minigames in Sleeping Dogs. Unfortunately, the racing aspect of this game is awfully broken that I’m suprised the Definitive Edition didn’t rebalance the cheatingly near-perfect AI racing opponents.
In Sleeping Dogs, racing spots in the streets of Hong Kong are identified by a bright glowing golden yellow circle with a dragon icon in the center. Vehicles parked nearby or around the circle indicates the vehicle classes used in the street race, be it motorcycles, regular sedans, to souped up sports cars. Walking into the circle will prompt the player to select vehicles of the appropriate classes available in their garage before the race begins. As soon as you reached mid-way into the racetrack, several glaring flaws in the racing minigames became more apparent.
Even in the significantly improved, re-released Definitive Edition, the problem of near-perfect AI racing opponents with cheat abilities were left unrectified. Not helping that vehicle controls in this game lacks proper fine tuning in their handling properties: cars don’t seem to grip corners the way you want them to, while motorcycles are finicky and oversensitive. Make no mistake, it’s not entirely impossible to win street races in Sleeping Dogs. There are occasions where I do feel some of the street races are balanced difficulty-wise in their track layout, though I can’t say the same for the rest of other racing events scattered around Hong Kong. However due to demigod AI opponents, the players will have to gamble more with their luck, relying on probabilities rather than their own skills, of the AI committing enough dumb maneuvers that it forgot how to get back on track. Unfortunately, even when it did that, the AI would frequently cheatboost their acceleration and catch up to you within seconds for even the slightest bump you hit on the road!
Despite the flaws of the racing minigames, I do enjoy all other elements found Sleeping Dogs, from the Hong Kong movie influenced storyline to the ferocious yet fluid hand to hand fighting mechanics, which I will talk about in upcoming posts. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is an enhanced version of Sleeping Dogs for next-gen consoles, featuring graphical upgrades and the inclusion of all DLCs released in the original. The game is available for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC, which can be purchased from Amazon and Play Asia.