I used to be a huge fan of GTA but one day it seemed to take itself far too seriously, then Saints Row came chuckling along and offered all the thrills GTA offered but with a majorly hilarious undertone. My faith in sandbox-styled 3rd person titles was thus restored.
That being said this review will be a biased and subjective chronicle of how epic Sleeping Dogs actually is.
The main character, Wei Shen, is an undercover cop that has returned from America to his hometown of Hong Kong to infiltrate the Triad gang in order to take them down. Wei is not only following orders but also fulfilling his personal vendetta. This coupled with plot twists, hidden agendas and a few stars as the voiceovers makes for a tremendous recipe for enjoyment.
The gameplay is very similar to that of GTA and Saints Row, however there are a few aspects that make it a more enjoyable experience. The first being: the fluid fighting system where Wei is the perfect symbiosis of Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Tony Jaa. If none of those names mean anything to you, Wei Shen is able to take on 30 enemies at once with nothing but some bubble gum and a whoopee cushion and make them all wish that they were never born. There are plenty of bone-cracking combos which are attainable through missions and side-quests with a simple levelling system. There is also a counterattack ability that enables Wei to hand out all the hurt without receiving any in return.
In addition the cover and firing system are just as effortless. One very prominent feature is the ability to vault over your cover and slow down time all whilst turning enemies into red mist. Which brings me to my next point; the elegant free-running movement controls. Wei is able to chase after enemies through, over and under any obstacle. The possibilities are endless with such a studded résumé.
GTA and Saints Row both exhibit an underdeveloped driving system which lacks realism. Unfortunately Sleeping Dogs is no different, though the game rewards you more if you ride a bike as opposed to driving a car. The bike controls are more realistic but are still a far cry from any true reflection but shooting from either vehicle is very rewarding and requires that you steer and aim at the same time. This is done in slow motion makes taking out other drivers or enemies a synch.
I noticed that there are no planes or helicopters, which is disappointing but Sleeping Dogs makes up for that with Street Racing which has always been something neither GTA nor Saints Row could get right. Sleeping Dogs hits that nail square on the head.
Sleeping Dogs is by far the best game, in this genre, that I have ever had the opportunity of playing. I just wish the game was a lot longer. Sleeping Dogs is a definite must-buy. If you decide to give this title a skip I can almost guarantee you will regret it every moment thereafter.
Sleeping Dogs Rating: 9/10
Check out the Sleeping Dogs Website:http://www.sleepingdogs.net/