I frequent gaming sites commonly to know what's on the horizon for any given season, this led me to reading much about Sleeping Dogs the once abandoned game that was saved by Square Enix and released just this week. Let me just say this is the most realistic review on the game you will see.
After much ado on other sites I picked up the game on release date expecting a glorious gaming experience which sadly enough this game never lived up. I expected a grand theft auto meets L.A. Noire type of business and while it does embody some of the characteristics of those games it fails miserably at capturing the essence of both.
You start off as Wei Shen a Hong Kong to L.A. and back officer of the law. His job is to bring down the biggest crime syndicate in all of H.K. Sounds like an amazing story eh? From the first 5 minutes you jump head on into the underworld working your way up the ranks and creating new relationships that introduce you to even more powerful criminals. So far so good. The driving in this game takes some getting used to as two factors are involved opposite side of the street driving and opposite side of the car driving. After an hour or so of driving you should have this down. The fighting is nothing short of button mashing ala Ninja Gaiden and purely comical at its best. The highlight of fighting is breaking arms, legs and using your environment for hazard attacks. This gets old rather fast, and they don't hand you a gun until at least half way through the game. If you die within that time frame in a fight against a gang you should probably just turn off the game and take it back to the store because quite frankly the fighting is so basic it's boring. No choppers, outrunning cops takes you all but 5 seconds or so kind of kills the challenge of this game. Personally the only saving grace of this game is the story line and how you can immerse yourself into the conflicting emotions Wei Shen feels as he delves deeper into this underworld. Many sites rant on and on about the open world presented here, that just means you end up driving a million different places and do very little on foot, sort of like an undercover fast and furious if you ask me. You can steal cars but you can't keep them, you can buy cars in stages as your characters traits increase.
All in all this game is a snooze fest from my personal perspective, more of the kind of game that is one big run through for those who don't like challenging games that require you to keep trying to succeed over and over. In other words this is a casual gamers kind of game, light on the challenge and heavy on the side quests. You may find your money's worth in these side missions that require camera hacking, racing, doing favors for the locals, etc. Just not something I think should come with a $60 retail price. Do yourself a favor and wait for this to end up on your local used game stores $20 shelf because it won't be long before it ends up there.