When Sleeping Dogs was released on the 360 it got all the natural comparisons to Grand Theft auto, but it had a different pace and a much better story. As with many games this years Sleeping Dogs has been whisked into the new generation to become the Sleeping Dogs Definitive edition, but was it worth it?
For those who didn’t get to experience this underrated gem of a game, let’s give you an overview of the story. Sleeping Dogs tells the story of Wei Shen, a former low-level Triad player turned LA cop turned undercover mole, who has relocated to his hometown in an effort to infiltrate his old gang, the Sun On Yee. Wei Shen has to find a balance between doing his job while maintaining the trust of his gang members. You’ll help Shen through his struggles whilst finding yourself gripped by the storyline. I found the story really interesting throughout and was never quite sure what was going to happen. It was always nice to have the game set in Hong Kong as opposed to a fictional city in America, the game has a great atmosphere and feels so alive, it just make me want to visit Hong Kong even more. As you explore the city you’ll come accross markets that will allow you to buy new clothing, tattoos as well as food and drink that will give you boosts to your abilities. You can explore the city in a vehicle but it’s just as entertaining on foot especially with Wei Shen’s parkour abilities.
The Definitive Edition gives the game an upgrade in graphics department, which brings the city even more to life. Character models are improved, and te lighting effects are superb, you’ll notice as soon as the game begins as the rain hits Hong Kong just how much of a difference there is. The Xbox One version brings even more life to the city with more NPC’s who look much more human, there is much more traffic on the street and there is much more to destroy as you drive through the streets, draw distances are much better too.
The game still struggles to keep its frame rate while driving but generally the game performs pretty well. The voice acting is excellent and have a really strong cast with Tom Wilkinson, Emma Stone, and Lucy Liu all taking part in the game.
One of Sleeping Dogs strengths is the combat, lending ideas from the Batman series, Wei Shen is able to take down big groups of enemies using combos, grapples, throws and finally taking them down using the environment. Whether you are throwing them through windows, slamming shutters down on their heads or even throwing people over buildings the combat is hugely entertaining. As you explore the city you’ll discover martial arts centres where you can learn more impressive combos to use against your enemies. Guns are available but the physical combat is so much fun you’ll rarely want to use them.
Aside from the main storyline there is plenty for you to do. There are drug busts and gang favours to play as well as a whole host of mini games. There are street races, collectables to find and dates to go on. You’ll also notice little leaderboards popping up to show your progress against friends for things like the longest wheelie on a bike or the biggest jump in a car, little things that distract you from the main story and adds to longevity.
In total you’ll have about 15 hours playtime, with the Definitive Edition you get all of the previously released DLC too. It’s pretty comprehensive when you start to go through the list, there are loads of outfit packs, themed vehicles and buffs for Wei Shen. There are two big bits of DLC that were released for Sleeping Dogs, the first released was Year of the Snake. This story takes place immediately after the original story of Sleeping Dogs. Wei Shen starts doing normal police work again, but is initially given punishment duty as a beat cop due to the carnage caused in the main storyline. However, Wei almost immediately encounters a cult that is doing their best to usher in the apocalypse with a bang during Hong Kong’s New Year celebrations. This piece of DLC is good fun and is 12 missions long. One difference in this from the main game is the fact that Shen is given a Taser to take criminals down with during combat. The other DLC was Nightmare on North Point which sees Wei Shen’s girlfriend get abducted by the ghost of a former gangland leader, to get here back Wei Shen needs to get hold of a special tea brew to allow him to take on an army of possessed gangsters, it’s all a bit silly but will add a good few hours to your total play time.
Yet again, I’m faced with another remastered game, thankfully this one has been well worth my time. It’s great to go back and play through the brilliant story, the DLC is pretty good and visually the game looks much better It’s always hard to recommend this to someone who has already played the game, especially as the price is quite high for the game, if it had come in at around the same price as Metro Redux you would be on to a winner but until that time I’d only go for this if you hadn’t played it before, you’ll be in for a treat.
Thanks to XBOX for providing the code.
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