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Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition game review


1. Brand new high-fidelity graphics
2. Tweaked gameplay
3. Fantastic kung fu action
4. Captivating storyline

Carl Douglas got it right when he sang "Everybody Loves Kung Fu Fighting." Having grown up on a staple diet of kung fu movies, on some fundamental level of our core being, we yearn to be kung fu masters. We'll take the bad lip sync dubbing and all, just to have those fists of fury and all too real to be choreographed fight sequences.

Sleeping Dogs made that dream a reality when it launched in 2012. Combining great visuals, a storyline right out of Hard Boiled or Police Story movies and unbelievable blazing kung fu combat. Now, Sleeping Dogs is making it's next generation re release on PS4 and Xbox One as Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition.


Meet Wei Shen, an undercover cop returning from an overseas trip and now infiltrating the deadly world of the Triads. Shen soon finds himself caught in the power struggles between the Triad bosses and his friendships with people on both sides of the law, making him question who he is as he treads the fine lines between the law and the Triads, all the while kicking all shades of derriere in his quest.

Open world games usually have stories to get you to fetch this and that so that you get used to the idea of exploring the world around you, which is lazy in many ways. Sleeping Dogs is a rare gem in this regard. Featuring a genuine Godfather-like story with levels of tension as you play the undercover cop rising in the Triad's ranks. Do you betray your best friends and do you job, or do you just do your job? Every mission you play, you are graded on how well you performed as a cop or Triad henchman.

Kung fu fighting

The action is where this game excels above even the likes of Grand Theft Auto. In a system very reminiscent of the Batman Arkham series, the kung fu system in Sleeping Dogs is fluid, deep and most of all addictive, and it's not a mash-buttons-till-your-fingers-fall-off either. It's a combination of heavy, light and grapple attacks as well as a deep parry system, so you have to move through fights tactically; stunning and getting behind bruisers to defeat them; dispatching the quicker nimbler foes faster; and most of all, knowing how to use the environment to your advantage.

Environmental attacks are brutal and not for the faint of heart. You can slam metal gates down on enemies heads, smash them into speakers, burn them on stoves and the more bloody ones have you throwing them into grinders or smashing their faces on saws.

As you gain experience points through the battles and go about the city getting collectibles, you can unlock more moves, which you can test at the dojo. The advanced moves require a lot of timing and skill and you can chain attacks one after another. The effect is positively mesmerizing, as Shen moves from enemy to enemy executing moves that flow into one another so well. You can find yourself lost in Sleeping Dogs for hours and hours just getting your kung fu skills down pat.

If flying fists of fury aren't your thing, there's also gunfire. The gunplay system takes a page out of every John Woo film, then amps it all up. You can move into slow motion bullet time and jump over obstacles, diving across the room guns akimbo, firing bullets into the enemies.

Bottom line, the action in Sleeping Dogs is the best you will ever find in a game.

Open Hong Kong

As with any open world game, there's a huge space to explore. Sleeping Dogs takes place in Hong Kong, a fantastic near recreation of the place, complete all its sights and sounds. The city is practically bustling with people in the Definitive Edition. Taking advantage of the extra power of the next-gen consoles, the game can handle a lot more crowds.

Like Grand Theft Auto, you are essentially a criminal, so you can grab any car and take it for a joyride across the city. The cars look a lot like real world cars today and handle superbly. There's a lot to do in Hong Kong, from finding stuff to unlock to taking part in the various fight clubs around the city, you will not get bored fast with Sleeping Dogs. If you're done with the main campaign, you can play through two mini campaigns bundled in this edition.

Definitive Hong Kong

The Definitive Edition adds a lot in the way of graphic fidelity. Hong Kong really comes to life, especially at night, when the city is full of lights and neon. Some parts of the city are illuminated by lanterns. When it rains it's positively gorgeous with rain running down in rivulets, and reflections of the neon lighting up the pavements. Truly amazing. Not just dusting off an old game game with new graphics, but actually bringing the original vision of the developers to its full potential.

While the graphics are still gorgeous, the developers could have improved the variation of the bad guy models a bit more. Sure, you could put out the flimsy excuse that all Chinese look the same, but after the 10th fight, you have seen the same character models again and again.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition comes with a pretty steep price tag for a re-released game. At full price on the next-gen consoles, it's a whopper. If you have played the game on the PS3 or Xbox 360, there's nothing much you haven't already seen or played, except for the graphics overhaul. This edition is meant for those who have not played the original or for those of you who are rabid fans (no pun intended) of the games. Either way, if you're a newcomer or a fan playing through it again, Sleeping Dogs is worth the price, again and again.

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