Many of you will remember the True Crime series from the last generation, well, after some growing pains we finally have gotten the third installment.
In Sleeping Dogs, you play as Wei Shen a Hong Kong cop whose mission is to infiltrate the Triads and break them up from the inside, Wei Shen also has a personal stake in the matter he wants revenge for the death of his sister. The story isn't mindblowing, but I found it very engaging nonetheless, if you tend to enjoy high quality action films, then this will be right up your street.
In order to earn the trust of the Triads and work his way up the ladder, Wei Shen will be required to make some tough choices along the way, I shall say no more about this and get on to the real meat of the title, the gameplay.
Now this is the strong point of the game, the way in which in combines the three gameplay elements. The three elements at play here are driving, hand to hand combat and shooting - driving is as you would expect, like GTA you are free to take any vehicle to get around the city, each having their own characteristics which you can use to your advantage. Also added are movie style leaps from one car to another, so let's say you're driving a slow saloon trying to catch the bad guys and you a see a fast looking supercar alongside you which would be better, well rather than stopping to get that car, you simply press a button and jump from one car to the other and continue your pursuit.
Fighting is simple, but highly enjoyable, in addition to your standard punching and kicking attacks, the game also allows you to bring the environment into play, much like the Yakuza series, so now you can slam your opponents heads using car doors or shop shutters for instance to inflict massive damage, or pick up items laying around and swing them at the enemy. One thing to consider is that the fights will often pit you against multiple opponents and at it's this time when one of the issues the game has it rears it head, the camera, which often gets stuck on nearby walls or affords you a view which is not ideal meaning you will get blindsided occasionally as a result, this is particularly a problem in narrow or confined areas and can be frustrating.
Shooting like many titles, allows you to take cover, but unlike other games, Sleeping Dogs rewards players, who choose to charge out from behind cover when you do this you get a brief slow motion time period in which you can place your shots carefully, one thing I particularly liked was how free flowing the system is you can easily charge in shooting then start taking on the enemy with your martial arts skills if you so choose.
Sleeping Dogs is a very good looking game, however it is not the best graphics we have seen yet, some textures look rough around the edges or slightly blurry this is mainly for the environment and given the scope of the game, this is understandable. Character models look brilliant and highly detailed, they animate smoothly the facial animations are very good. The cars follow the genre trend of imitating actual cars closely but changing the names, ironically enough the real Chinese car companies do pretty much this exact thing so it's quite fitting really.
The sound in the game is excellent featuring a high calibre English cast who all do a good job job voicing their respective characters, their is some sporadic Chinese spoken in game but it is subtitled. The actual soundtrack for the game is also very good, like something out of a high quality martial arts film, it strikes the right balance to get your blood pumping or sometimes being more subtle to reflect the ambient mood of an area.
The cars also feature a radio station system each station has it's own variety of licenced tracks, I will leave it upto you to each decide which station you like best as this is very much down to personal preference.
Sound effects are very good on the whole, each of the guns has a distinct meaty firing sound which as you will will become recognisable, naturally there is a wide range of car associated sounds thrown in as well, each having their own unique engine note.
I would personally give Sleeping Dogs 8/10 - the things I liked it about are, the free flowing nature of the gameplay, how quickly you can go from driving to shooting or brawling, however, some issues such as the camera can make these parts not as fun as they should be, but it's not enough to ruin what is otherwise a high quality game.