Sleeping Dogs: Review
Sleeping Dogs is an open world, GTA-style sandbox game based in Hong Kong. The game had several setbacks during its creation including originally being considered a True Crime sequel. Eventually Square Enix was able to release a game that, despite some flaws, is an overall fun experience I would recommend to everyone.
The story revolves around Wei Shen. A police officer who has been asked to go deep undercover to infiltrate the Sun On Yee, the most powerful organized crime syndicate in Hong Kong. Along the way you realize Wei Shen grew up with several of the characters so when things begin to turn upside down, it's tough to see where Wei's loyalties lie.
The story is nothing you haven't seen in a John Woo or Stallone movie from the '90s. Individual moments can be gross or heartbreaking, but overall the story is exactly what you'd expect from this type of game. Some characters are developed very well and this includes Wei. You sometimes forget you're a police officer when doing some missions (such as watching a character hacked to death with a cleaver) but Wei also forgets this as well. Making the player feel the same way as Wei (see what I did there?) is great storytelling.
Other characters are not as well developed. Besides Wei, you have a rouges' gallery of "That Guy with the Hat" or "Wife Beater Guy" that are interchangeable and forgettable. Some guys you only remember because of their absolutely absurd names (Dog Eyes, Big Smile Lee, Ace, Winston). Some dialogue (and I'm assuming names i.e. Ace) sounds like it was put through Google translator to be more Americanized which can take you out of the game occasionally.
When on foot, Sleeping Dogs is like playing Batman: Arkham Asylum. Combat has the "free flow" feeling when fighting a group of enemies. Wei's combat has a lot of variety considering the open worldy-ness of the game (two things that don't normally exist in the same game). This game is great when it comes to finding collectibles that are meaningful. Finding Jade Statues to unlock attacks or completing various police work around town to upgrade your skills are challenging and just plain fun.
Then of course there's driving. Remember we're in Hong Kong, so driving (for us American folks) is backwards... actually a cool idea but I never remembered to stay on the correct side of the road. This isn't inherently a bad thing (it's awful during missions when attempting to not destroy things or commit vehicular manslaughter) but what makes driving unbearable is braking. Namely, it is non-existent. All cars feel like you're driving on sheets of ice.
Tires spin and you can travel several feet before coming to a complete stop. Hong Kong is a large place (imagine that!) and when attempting to get from one end to the other you destroy so many people and objects just trying to cut turns that driving becomes a hindrance instead of convenience. When simply reversing or looking around the vehicle, the camera decides to spin around making it impossible to see where you're going. So.. Driving is no good.
***Also, this is a thing***
This game is fun. Pure and simple. Is it the greatest sandbox ever? No. Is it revolutionary to gaming? No. Would I recommend you play this game? Absolutely. Driving is atrocious. The story isn't spectacular but it has some moments that genuinely shocked me. Everything else is awesome. Combat is fun and missions are varied. THIS GAME IS FUN. It's currently $15 at Best Buy so if you missed this one when it was released go pick it up.