Posted: January 19
One of the best games that I have played in a while. Sleeping Dogs outperformed my expectations. While a few things are somewhat finicky, I didn't really have as many problems as people said they did. In terms of controls, I managed very fine except for a few minor things, and the game is definitely playable with a mouse and keyboard. Sadly, the controls are indeed better with a controller, and after several hours (probably 6+) I decided to try out the controller and noticed that it is much better. Mainly, though, there are some delays in driving with KB/M, but other than that, the controls were still fine without a physical controller, if you got used to the driving delay.
As far as the game, everything in it was pretty well-done. Hong Kong was a nicely detailed area to explore, and I was still fine roaming to some places after playing the game for a long while. The game's length is rather long, though the story is probably something like half the time needed to 100% complete the game. The collectibles in the game were all rather easy, but they weren't bothersome, except for the lockboxes. If you grab most of them as you play the game and notice them though, then it won't be a pain really.
The story was rather detailed, and most of the characters were built up as much as they should be. The voice acting was great throughout the game and I didn't have any problems with any of the characters. I grew an attachment to some of them, actually, and got fully involved in Wei Shen's issues. As far as the side missions throughout the game, they were a nice trip. None of them were too difficult, and they let you take your mind off of the story for a short bit. The only ones I really had problems with were a couple of the Motorcycle Races, because the AI somehow zoomed past me during the last 10% of a couple races, and I only lucked out if they crashed somehow.
Combat-wise, I enjoyed it. Learning the martial arts moves was very helpful and made the game more interesting when you're dealing hand-to-hand combat most of the time, as opposed to yet another guns blazing game. There are some games where combat has its flaws, but I think this game did everything perfectly between melee and gun-blasting; I had no issues with it whatsoever.
The game, in the end, wasn't that difficult, especially if you upgraded your health quickly and constantly bought food and tea to increase health regen and decrease damage taken. But if you want to challenge yourself, don't bother finding the shrines nor buying those items. The game willl get decently more difficult without them; but once you upgrade your health, there's no increasing the difficulty again. However, I had no problems with it actually, as the game wasn't too easy, either. I was always in the moment and never found myself complaining, really.
The only other things would be graphics, sound, and one or two things that bothered me. The graphics were very pretty overall, though my system couldn't handle Extreme nor a Hi-Res package. The frame rate was decent though it seemed like I was encountering memory leaks after playing the game for a very long time, but I don't know what from. I would be in some area of the map with lots of people and cars and would have 45+ fps, but then at some point later would be back in the same area with like 15 fps. I eventually had to quit the game and restart in a couple places to get it to fix, though I don't know why.
For sound, as I said, the dialogue was great, and everything else was as expected. The sounds of the city were fine, and the soundtrack was rather varied. For some games like GTA, I usually only listen to a small subset of the songs. For this game, I was actually interested in almost all of them, and varied the stations throughout the game, listening to a variety.
Finally, only a couple of small nitpicks I had with the game were with gameplay. After playing the game for a long time, it is eventually tiring to drive across to the other side of the map, then back again. That is a general complaint about games, and some people are fine, and some aren't. The taxi's in the game were useful, but it would have been nicer for them to drop you at other places on the map, perhaps for varying price, and also for you to be able to call one to you. Sometimes, the game just wouldn't spawn them for several minutes and it would have been quicker just to drive there, though it still wouldn't have saved you any time.
The other thing is for missions. You have the bonus items that you get for health, damage, etc., but the game throws them away if you die during a mission or you fail a checkpoint. It would have made sense if dying forced you to leave the mission (though that probably would have made the game much harder later on), but dying allows you to restart the same checkpoint too. So restarting a checkpoint but losing your powerups can make it a lot harder on a handful of missions, though not often.
And that brings me to another point. If you choose to cancel a mission to regain these items, the game just throws you back to a random apartment instead of dropping you beside the mission marker. Most people say the game takes you to your last visited apartment, but that wasn't ever true for me. I could be returned to Central, then I'd visit North Point, but would get returned to Aberdeen/the docks the next time. Either way, it is a pain if the game returns to across the other side of the map, because it's a waste of time to get back there. Besides quitting missions for powerups, the same idea applies if you need to quit for time reasons.
Anyway, small things in the end, I guess. All in all, the game was really great, and it is one of my favorite games in recent years. I highly suggest you play this game and enjoy the streets of Hong Kong.