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Definitive Sleeping Dogs still thrills

Nov 24, 2014

By Alexander Cattani - G4 Canada

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Sleeping Dogs: Definitive EditionSleeping Dogs is a game that should've garnered more attention when it first debuted in 2012. It was easily one of year's biggest surprises and was well-received. It boasted brilliant combat, a dense world to mess around in as well as an impressively written story.

It is two years later and Square Enix has decided to re-release the open world crime drama for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is exactly what you'd expect it to be, an upgraded version of a game, minus the inclusion of some rather insignificant DLC, what you're getting here is generally the same deal. But with a title as solid as Sleeping Dogs, that's just fine. The sandbox that has been created remains one of the most exciting open world action games in the last couple of years.

The narrative follows Wei Shen, an undercover police officer tasked with bringing down the notorious crime syndicate: Sun On Yee. After experiencing a close loss within his family, Shen carries himself with a vengeful attitude. He's a damaged man out to do his job who also may have some personal motivations bottled up that are desperately trying to get out. The story hits on the typical narrative beats of most big city crime dramas but manages to do so in a way that doesn't feel contrived or predictable.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive EditionUnlike the other open world contemporaries such GTA and Saint's Row, the story here follows a much more serious tone and maintains steady pace that'll keep you engaged throughout.

Gameplay is where Sleeping Dogs sets itself apart from its free-roam peers. For starters, the hand-to-hand combat system takes notes from Rocksteady's Arkham series and implements the increasingly popular free-flowing system. Be prepared to be significantly out numbed in brawls. Scores of tatted thugs will surround a lone Wei Shen in the majority of encounters. Having multiple attackers at once made face-offs feel cinematic and intense. It was if I was playing a scenes out of Woo's Hard Boiled.

There is a strong emphasis on using the environment to your advantage during fights. Throwing goons off ledges, slamming them into walls and even forcing some unlucky chaps head through an industrial-sized air fan makes for a satisfyingly morbid sight. This adds a layer of depth to combat and made me always assess my options when fists started flying.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive EditionThe combat in Sleeping Dogs isn't all punch and kicks though. From time to time, Wei will trade bullets with enemies both on foot and during vehicle sections. The shooting while sufficient fells clunky and made me yearn to get back to fisticuffs. Driving is handled well and cruising around the game's rendition of Hong Kong makes for a great time. With a countless number of side missions to take on, you won't be bored.

Some technical enhancements have been made to the surrounding world in the form of a bigger population density, improved lighting effects, smoother driving and glossier animations. These changes while welcome are ultimately unnoticeable unless directly compared with the last-gen version.

Sleeping Dogs, remains just as great as it was two years ago. While there may not be enough new content for old fans to justify double dipping, next-gen console owners who have yet to experience the high octane action of one of 2012's sleeper hits owe it to themselves to pick this re-master. Knuckle up and get ready to clean up the streets of Hong Kong, one generically tank top wearing thug at a time.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
Format: PS4
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: United Front Games
ESRB Rating: M for Mature (17+)
Official Site: http://www.unitedfrontgames.com/games/sleeping-dogs/

Rating: 8 / 10

 
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About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.