A fantastic, high-octane romp through Hong Kong
Lets get this out of the way first, Sleeping Dogs has a few missteps. Not many, but some small technical glitches and minor annoyances, but these are as I said - minor. It is a hugely fun and enjoyable game that marries a serious Hong Kong cinema styled cop story with great mechanics in a fully realized open world. Hong Kong itself is the true star with it's blend of overall size yet attention to detail. There are highways and long windy roads and getting from one side to the other makes it feel pretty large. At the same time it is loaded with little alleyways with street vendors, side missions and citizens just going about their day to day lives.
Combat is great, fluid and empowering. As you develop your fighting style, you become more and more fearless. It makes you want to get into fights to just show off your new, brutal moves. Driving is a bit more inconsistent, but overall it handles well. It's a bit looser than most games, going for a more arcade style feel. It's super easy to pull of 180º handbrake turns and drift around corners. Shooting is definitely not a highlight of the game, but it is decent enough. There's a basic cover mechanic which is enhanced by the ability to leap from it in slow motion to gun down enemies. Overall, the actual gameplay isn't going to set the world on fire, but it combines together in a super fun way. It's just a joy to tool around town on your motorbike or car and kick some ass.
The story is where they get serious. Most of the jokes and laughs are kept to the side quests and the open world, but this works out just fine. Superb voice acting brings a sense of depth to the story and characters, making the relationships seem believable and the circumstances mean something to you. This is definitely one of the highlights of the game.
Overall, it's a well-made, excellent thrill ride. There are lots of collectibles if that's your thing, but the feel and vibe of the city just makes it a fun place to spend several hours. Add in the well conceived combat, decent driving and strong story and you've got yourself a pretty strong package. If you have any interest at all in Hong Kong action cinema, then this game was lovingly crafted for you.