Hitman Absolution vs. Sleeping Dogs: Chinatown Throwdown

There’s no doubt that Hitman Absolution and Sleeping Dogs are two very different games, but they also have a ton in common. Both are Square Enix games, both allow the player to dispose of enemies in unique ways and both games have a playable demo set in China (alright, so technically the Hitman demo is set in Chinatown, but just roll with me on this.)

So the question is: Which one of these games has me salivating more? If you had asked me this question before E3, I would have said Hitman: Absolution, easily. Sneaking around, disposing of bodies, disguising myself and poisoning people with Fugu Fish, these are the things that excite me about a game. In the demo I was slightly distraught by my lack of ability to pull up a map, but that was a small issue and did little to detract from the fun I was having.

On the other hand, Sleeping Dogs caught me off-guard with it’s amazing brutality. In the space of three minutes I managed to slam a solid metal security gate on an opponent’s sternum, shove a man’s head into an industrial air conditioning fan and electrocute a guy with exposed wires. All of these deaths were accompanied by fantastically vicious animations that both shocked and delighted me. On top of that there was an incredibly cinematic foot chase akin to something a player would experience in Uncharted 3. The free running mechanic in Sleeping Dogs was also a fluid and welcome experience.

The graphics on both games are fantastic, and both have excellent dynamic crowds of people who genuinely seem to be going about their everyday lives. The environments are also a huge part of the game and it seems like both games are filled with objects that can be turned into weapons. As far as immersion goes I feel that Hitman and Sleeping Dogs are on equal footing.

As much as I hate changing my mind about these things, I think I’m actually more excited for Sleeping Dogs. I’ve always considered myself a fan of stealth games over action or shooting but in this instance I have to go with the much less stealthy game. There’s just something about the way the protagonist uses his environment in such deadly and creative ways that has me wanting more. I saw kitchens in the game. Does this mean I can burn a man’s face off on a skillet? Can I shove someone’s hand in a garbage disposal? Most games I’d just chuckle and say: “yeah that would be cool if it were possible.” But with Sleeping Dogs I feel as though I might actually be able to do these horrible things to people. And in the end, I guess I’d rather see a man’s skin flayed off by industrial fan blades then take pride in a well executed disguise and hidden body. I suppose I learned something about myself today.

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