Old Salty Crab
The part you want to here is this, Sleeping Dogs is actually a really good game, seriously. Story and character driven and most importantly very limited in the tedious game ruining attributes often seen. Sleeping Dogs takes enough from other popular games and does those features equal or more justice than originally so, as well as shedding some of the elements that made previous open world crime games more tedious than need be.
The over all gameplay in Sleeping Dogs is neither a high or low point in the game. But it does work, just without stunning anyone. Lets just get the cat out of the bag and say this will be compared to GTA, so with that said character movement is smoother than say in GTA 4. Through most of GTA 4 I found the character movement to be sluggish and sloppy being one of my largest problems with that game and while not perfect in Sleeping Dogs it is better. With Sleeping Dogs being an open world crime game the lack of guns was quite surprising at first. I'll be honest when I say I thought this was going to be a bad idea but man was I wrong. The hand to hand combat in this game works great and feels immensely satisfying. Getting a 1, 2 punch followed a roundhouse kick to the face and then picking your enemy up off the ground to finish them by bashing their head into an electrical conduit is as fun as it sounds. The melee combat in my opinion was better than that of recent Batman titles. In Sleeping Dogs I actually got the feeling I was really brutalizing and killing criminals where as in Batman it just felt weak and childish doing insane levels of damage only to result in a 5 minute dirt nap for said victim. The incorporation of shooting sequences in between the hand to hand combat was also very well done. Having to switch between an all out brawl between you and 5 goons when you didn't have a gun to then using an assault rifle or semi auto shotgun to blast through enemies kept the combat refreshing. The driving in Sleeping Dogs is also a high point, you aren't going to find any simulation racing but who wants to in an open world game. Cars seem pretty robotic but that allows for little screw ups which would only ruin the experience in a game like this. There are however three features that I really enjoyed while driving. Ramming, an ability which swerves your vehicle in your desired directions to cause additional chaos or aid in losing the cops. Action hijack, where you can jump from vehicle to vehicle while driving makes for very exciting gameplay and in the few racing events they actually give you arrows, road blocks and limited traffic. Thankfully they realized it was a video game and added to the fun factor rather than making me restart an entire race because I missed an alley way turn because I hit a parking meter avoiding oncoming traffic.
The story in Sleeping Dogs was surprisingly good. The usual twists and turns are there but are hidden enough to still be quite entertaining. I felt compelled to continue playing various times just to continue the story. The characters are also quite good along with the voice acting. The people close to you actually give you a sense of feeling close and your enemies actually make you hate them. The main story lasts about 12 or so hours which is a perfect amount of time. It gives you a fulfilling story but at the same time doesn't ruin the good parts by watering them down. Old Salty Crab is a hilarious character and one I will remember for a while. One issue I might have is that when the main story ends which is essentially your Triad missions your gang life takes a pretty abrupt end and your post story is left finishing off some mediocre police missions which aren't as good as the Triad ones. Maybe that is setting up for a Sequel but it would have been nice to be able to continue the gang life if you wanted. Overall it's not a huge complaint and I can easily see reasons in their execution, it is however a good sign that my small complaint is that I really just wanted more game to play after 12+ hours.
The engine in this game is great. I played on PC and pulled a constant 60FPS at near max settings with a Mid-High end rig. The graphics overall were beautiful and the world seemed to be alive, the character lighting was particularly good. There were a few low texture issues if you sat around for too long or wanted to read a magazine off the rack but no one really cares about that right? In my entire play through I only experienced one bug and it was half my fault, getting in an out of vehicles too fast bugged out my "follower".
I realize that GTA 4 is aged now but even story wise and character wise I found Sleeping Dogs to be a better game. I openly dislike busy dirty metro areas and Sleeping Dogs was good enough to let me look past Hong Kong. This game is easily worth your time and some money. Hopefully people notice it because it deserves to be noticed more than its B or C level release status.