Going bonkers in Honkers
There’s nowhere quite like Hong Kong- a bizarre mash-up of eastern mystery, skewed by its British colonial history. It’s a city that has produced some of the most awesome action movies ever made, giving us legends like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is a remastered version of the hit last-gen console and PC game, plunging players into the murky world of the Hong Kong criminal underworld.
Square Enix rescued the original version of the game after being abandoned by Activision, turning it into a surprise hit and one of the top games of 2012.
Players take on the role of Hong Kong native, Wei Shan. Having recently returned home from the US, Wei is now working for Hong Kong police.
Going undercover he has managed to infiltrate the Sun On Yee, a notorious triad gang. The result is a double life where Wei’s loyalties are tested as he gains the trust and friendship of the Triad gang members.
The Definitive Edition, with its polished-up new-gen visuals, is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. The game is effectively the PC version with the optional the HD texture pack ported over to the current-gen consoles. It also includes all the premium DLC add-ons. The result is an extremely nice-looking game and incredibly good value, if you’ve not played it before.
It’s a third-person game very much in the style of a Hong Kong action movie. The game features a mixture of martial arts fighting and driving, with the streets of Hong Kong Island beautifully recreated and pack full of trouble.
Player have a diverse range of vehicles, from mopeds to supercars, to get around in. The vehicle handling is good, but the driving seems a bit pointless.
Police chases are dull affairs compared to the escalating lunacy of Grand Theft Auto, with cop cars being take out via a clumsy ramming ability. But driving is really only a means to an end, getting Wai from one set of bad guys in need of a good beating to the next.
The combat uses the increasingly popular attack/counter-mechanic familiar to Batman fans and more recently Shadow of Mordor fans. There’s steady flow of unlocking moves to keep things fresh. Wei Shen can also use the environment to finish his opponents- flinging them in dumpsters and shutting their heads in car doors.
The fighting is fun, but there never seemed to be enough of it to sate my longing to beat up bad guys. I often found myself actively looking for trouble rather than playing through the missions.
The game does takes itself rather seriously, even if the player doesn’t. It just lacks the gritty realism to properly carry it off. Instead it sits uncomfortably in between the absurdity of the Saints Row games and the sublimely tongue-in-cheek violence of the Grand Theft Auto series. It’s a game packed with clichés, right down to the British Hong Kong police boss and the comical, but eyebrow-raising, bowing in front of the shrine to gain health.
But is it is still a good game and even better in this Definitive Edition. Whilst PC owners are unlikely to notice a difference, visually, the leap from last-gen to new-gen consoles is very apparent. And there’s all that extra DLC thrown in.
If you own a current-gen console or PC and have not played Sleeping Dogs before, this a great opportunity to give it a go.