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Deserving of perhaps the most anticipation, the Hong Kong cinema style game play of Sleeping Dogs should have some pretty good martial arts combat. By now many have seen the 6 minute and change combat video about Sleeping Dogs. What is less known for the general populace is the background of some of its key developers and contributors.
If some of the basic movement from the game “Bully” looks familiar, it’s because Liberty Walker, one of the combat designers for “Sleeping Dogs,” worked on that game as well. The transition between opponents is certainly smoother and much more polished in this Chinese undercover crime game, but at the foundation it works the same as it did in “Bully.”
There is a good bet that some of the buttons will have a similar lay out as well. Having said that though, only an actual release of the game will reveal just how similar the two are. While “Bully” is much older and far more dated, its roots are the same, and so “Sleeping Dogs” reflects the genesis of years of game designing experience.
Likewise, Sota Yuyama is another known key figure in the combat design of “Sleeping Dogs.” One of his notable works is SSX, the snowboarding game series that has reigned supreme for many years with its crazy body contortionist tricks and flips. It’s most recent iteration from 2011 features some of Yuyama’s work; players can see that fluidity of movement reflected in “Sleeping Dogs” as well. His skill in martial arts includes years of study at the Shito-Ryu school of Karate.
Research into this style of martial arts reveals that its roots in physical strength and stances grounded in the earth for balance. Yet its many diverse branches also feature sweeping multi directional attacks as well. Combine these two aspects with the style of gameplay from “Bully” and you reveal, in many ways, the combat system in “Sleeping Dogs.”
Measured between these two gentlemen, a wealth of gaming and fighting experience comes together to create a seamless transitioning fighter. Video and gameplay footage so far shows that Wei Shen has incredible dexterity and overall fighting prowess. His movement is smooth and powerful, using some of the best martial arts techniques with great speed. Mixing many styles of martial arts together, Wei Shen can punch, kick and grapple with his enemies for that much-vaunted special take down move.
To add plausibility and authenticity to the combat in the game, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre was also brought in to consult and add his expertise in the octagon to the world of “Sleeping Dogs.” St. Pierre himself, as a Mixed Martial Artist, is trained in multiple disciplines ranging from Jui-jitsu, Boxing, and Muay Thai to Gymnastics. It is perhaps a lucky coincidence then that St. Pierre fights in an octagon and Sota Yuyama’s training probably featured octagonal movement. Thus far, the combat in this game screams authentic, with a slice of gruesome on the side for good measure.
To say that gruesome would describe some of the combat in this game would be an understatement. This game is certainly not for the faint of heart, as special take downs from the demo game play reveal computer opponents being slammed between car doors, turned into soup in a grinder and forcefully ejected into oncoming traffic from atop flaming motorcycles. This is the edge of realism, and the octagon fighters in real life only wish they could do this in the iron ring.
Combat from video footage for “Sleeping Dogs” appears so far to be fun and exciting, never leaving a moment to consider what to do next. Evidence points to an almost instinctual combat play style that a player may eventually develop.
Whether it be shooting from cover and transitioning to an aggressive takedown with a chair or combat transitioning to a car chase, much of the game seems to meet the hype that is fast growing with its August 14 release. There is a lot of hope amongst the gaming public that this title will rise above the stigma of being Grand Theft Auto meets Kung Fu and so far, United Front Games and Square Enix London Studios seemed to have succeeded.