In a gaming sphere that currently adores sandbox and open world games, too few gamers would recognise the name Wei Shen. Sleeping Dogs' lead is a troubled character who makes the likes of Aiden Pearce seem annoyingly lacking in the personality department, and the aforementioned title that our chaotic cop comes from is often similarly overlooked.
Needless to say, if you enjoyed Sleeping Dogs on the PlayStation 3, you'll know exactly what we're talking about here: brutal melee combat, slick driving, and cinematic gunplay all combined to make a memorable Hong Kong romp – and all of that oriental madness is now available on the PlayStation 4, courtesy of the predictably named Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition.
So, what's new on Sony's latest system? Unfortunately, not much. Developer United Front Games mentioned in the lead up to launch that the fighting system in this re-release has been tweaked, but we struggled to note any differences from the original. Likewise, speeding through city streets feels just as arcadey here as it did on the PS3, still sporting its hilariously fun 'ram' mechanic that sees you smash into enemy vehicles with reckless abandon.
If there's any difference to be spotted, it's on the visual side of things. Unsurprisingly, the release looks reasonably better on the PS4, and is largely in line with what you'd expect from the PC version on high settings. An increased draw distance means that you can see past the city's haze and stare at the clusters of skyscrapers on the horizon, while better lighting provides a greater sense of atmosphere, especially at night when the streets are lit up with neon signs.
Textures have also seen a noticeable improvement, with characters and cars looking a little more lifelike across the board. Sadly, the game's sometimes wonky animations haven't been touched, although during fights, where they matter most, everything's satisfyingly smooth and responsive. Despite its graphical overhaul, though, there are no eye-poppingly obvious improvements. If you played plenty of the original, you'll appreciate the alterations, but nothing about the Definitive Edition screams next-gen, and newcomers may even end up disappointed by the visual side of things.
Still, this remaster is a decent reminder that Sleeping Dogs is an incredibly enjoyable sandbox adventure. As previously mentioned, protagonist Wei Shen is a genuinely likeable and interesting character, who's surrounded by a cast of hardline cops and ruthless triads as he goes undercover to investigate Hong Kong's grim criminal underbelly. It's a story that's told with fantastic pacing, particularly for a sandbox title, and it's a tale that'll have you zipping from one story map marker to the next in order to find out what twists and turns await.
Having said that, it's easy to dismiss the release as another gritty, tired Grand Theft Auto wannabe when countless f-bombs are dropped within the first ten minutes, but you shouldn't let the somewhat overbearing dialogue put you off what is otherwise one of the best sandbox stories that we've come across.
The multifaceted gameplay helps to keep the storyline fresh, too. One minute you'll be smashing opposing triads into oncoming trucks on a motorway, and the next you'll be diving across tables in a restaurant as you pull off slow motion headshots; meanwhile, at the core of all this is the melee combat. With a counter system akin to something like the Batman: Arkham games, and button-holding combos reminiscent of the Yakuza franchise – complete with absolutely brutal environmental takedowns – beating the snot out of gangsters is always a pleasure.
When you're finished causing chaos in the main story, there's plenty of optional content to tackle, too. From street races to karaoke, there's quite a bit on offer, and seeing everything takes quite a bit of time – especially if you're eager to grab all of the collectibles scattered throughout the city's main districts. Meanwhile, alongside all of this is the upgrade system, which eventually transforms an already deadly Wei Shen into a whirlwind of total destruction. Spread across multiple skill trees – each dependant on separate reputations as a police officer, a triad, and a citizen of Hong Kong – forging the protagonist into a leg breaking, gravity-defying kung-fu master and expert marksman is a rewarding process.
And if you're hungry for yet more content, the Definitive Edition comes packaged with all of the original's DLC, which includes the creepy Nightmare in North Point and Year of the Snake mission packs. Together, the side scenarios offer roughly eight more hours of gameplay, and even though they don't bring any real variation to the table, they complement the core release rather nicely.
There's no doubt that this is indeed the definitive edition of Sleeping Dogs, then, but sadly, it's hard to recommend at full price if you've already taken a blood soaked Hong Kong holiday in the PS3 version. Sure, you'll probably enjoy the story all over again, and the city feels more alive than ever, but this is essentially the same game that released back in 2012, complete with a frustratingly uneven frame rate when travelling through crowded areas.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition provides a good excuse to get involved with Hong Kong's shady dealings if you haven't already, but a lack of new features makes it difficult to recommend a return trip – at least at full price. It's still a fantastic sandbox title, however, sporting cohesive, engaging mission design, satisfying gameplay, and a great story – a formula which makes Wei Shen's tale a fantastic alternative to the likes of Watch Dogs and even Grand Theft Auto V if you're looking for an open world time sink.
A little sad they didnt make more of an effort but I'd like to go back to this at some point, didn't give it a proper go on ps3, I'll probably pick it up next year. I'll bet Sony is loving all these ports, a greater chance to flog these b rated next gen titles on the instant game collection down the line, a port and an indie for the next 2 years, yay.
Pass. I'll keep an eye out for this one in the bargain bin down the line...
@BLPs Sony only published one of those games, though.
@Bad-MuthaAdebis @BLPs please do tell how how sony are responsible for this, gta, resident evil etc?
@hadlee73: If you have never played the game I say go for it on PS4. Heck I played through it once already and I will be picking it up here on the PS4.
@hadlee73 to be honest, while there were a few things I didn't like about the game, I enjoyed this more than gta. I was actually very surprised by it. You should give it a go if you're even slightly interested. And slamming into motorcycles with the ram mechanic is scarily fun.
Honestly if you haven't played it before man I'd recommend it. You liked inFamous right? This is a different kind of open-world game, but a much better one.
I'll get this eventually.
@Gamer83 Really? I heard this game was mediocre from a number of people. Well, I shouldn't say mediocre, but just, not great.
Thing is, I have so many other games pre-ordered (40+ something? I lose count) that I know for a fact I would rather play, which makes it hard to justify yet another $60 game purchase. Those $60 games add up quick, especially when you have 3 consoles to buy them on, AND 2 handhelds. But, I'll keep your recommendation in mind for when this drops in price.
My brother actually told me it was a decent game, back when he got it free with Plus a year or so ago on PS3.
its very mediocre for my taste, ill stick with saints row
i liked it better than watch dogs and saints row, but i'm not sure about this edition.
I thought it was great game, I guess it just depends what you're looking for. It may not be the largest open world but it gets the job done. Has some of the best hand-to-hand combat, fun side activities, good story, lots of good DLC in this package. It doesn't have to be right away if there's other games you're more interested in but for all the content that's in this edition, if there's a good holiday deal, I'd say it's worth a purchase.
@viciousarcanum they ain't? I didn't suggest they were. My comment had no second meaning. Sony will be loving this as it adds lots of b titles for their future instant game collection.
@hadlee73 definitely worth getting, I wasn't expecting much but it really hooked me in. The hand to hand combat is great fun, particularly the environmental kills, and the story is better than a lot of similar releases. With all the DLC thrown in on top, this is a great deal for newcomers to the game
My copy has just come through the letter box and my tv has died. Ffs...
@JaxonH It is no way mediocre. It's like someone made GTA an arcade game really. It's not the longest but it draws you in quite quickly and is incredibly enjoyable. It actually, to me, feels like a Dremcast game.
@JaxonH I think it's really good. I personally preferred it to Grand Theft Auto V. It plays a lot better in my opinion, even if the world isn't quite as fleshed out.
Bit of a shame that there's not much new in there, as if there was I would have been on this like a tramp on chips.
If you haven't played it though, this is a superb game. I went in with zero expectations last time and found that I enjoyed this more than any sandbox game apart from Red Dead Redemption. Can't recommend it enough.
@rastamadeus @get2sammyb @LDXD
Right on. Well now that I've got a few recommendations I'm going to have to try it at some point...
It's the GTA killer.
@Gamer83 Except it's not at all better than infamous. It's a very average open world game with a few minor good ideas.
@LDXD Yes you could.
This is more comparable to a GTA than an inFAMOUS in my opinion. Both are open world, yes, but play very differently.
Yeah this one's good if you enjoy driving around an open world half as interesting as GTA's. But don't expect the driving to be any good. Or the shooting.
@Wesker even though it's not realistic, I can't believe no one else has thought of the ram mechanic yet.
Eh I'm sure its good, but a full $60 for a 1080p goty edition of a 3 year old game is a bit much.
yeah, I played it on the PS3 and it was awesome, but I see no need for me to buy it again. Is the Definitive version equal to the PC? Because on the PC version, the city was loaded with signs and stuff like that, but in the PS3 version they took out a lot of that. I think this may have been [email protected]#$ed
@Wesker As @get2sammyb said they're not comparable really but for me it's better than all the inFAMOUS games combined by miles. Great fun and likeable characters are Sleeping Dogs' main selling points, things the inFAMOUS games lack (as much as I enjoyed Second Son). Plus Sleeping Dogs has Emma Stone in it. You can argue your preference over mine, entitled to like it of course, but you can't beat the Emma Stone inclusion.
I loved Sleeping Dogs on PS3. I dismissed it as a GTA clone but gave it a shot when it turned up on PS+. There is no reason for me to play it again on PS4, it Id certainly recommend it to anyone who missed out on it 1st time around. I didn't like the driving much but I loved the setting and the hand to hand combat was slick...and while the gunplay feels a bit stodgy it's still good enough.
@LDXD I'd love another Red Dead, it was a lovely game...and the Undead DLC was so substantial it was like have a whole other game to play. I've rarely came across another open world game that feels as alive as the one in RDR.
Brilliant game I played it on the ps3, I'm not sure I would want to buy it again for the ps4 I would like for Sony to bring some new ps4 games I haven't played it.
I enjoyed this on PS3, it grabbed my attention since I first saw the commercial. I doubt that I will get this again when I get a PS4, especially since I already got some of the DLC. However if someone hasn't played this yet, I would recommend it for newcomers.
If you played Watch Dogs and were left disappointed you won't be after playing this. It's a much better game. Can't compare it to Saints Row though because this game has a serious tone and Saints Row is not serious at all. Sleeping Dogs has the best combat system out of any open world game to date though. A man who never eats pork bun is NEVER a whole man!
@Bad-MuthaAdebis personally, this game was a highlight of last gen for me. Best open world game I've played after RDR (although RDR wins on story, SD's gameplay is head and shoulders above it). This game made GTA5 boring for me and it's sad it's so overlooked. Therefore, I highly recommend you pick it up, particular if you enjoy sandbox games.
Is this really worth getting ? Its been sitting on my shelf for the ps3 for a while and havent got around to it yet.
@BLPs Does it contain Heavy Rain or Ar Tonelico?
I loved Sleeping Dogs enough to get it again on PS4, but not at its current price. I doubt I'll need to wait long to get it at a decent discount.
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