It would be easy to pigeon-hole Sleeping Dogs as yet another Grand Theft Auto (GTA) clone.
Apart from being set in Hong Kong, there initially seems to be very little else to distinguish it from Rockstar’s infamous open-world crime series.
It has a similar blend of driving and combat, a mission-based main story as well as a large open environment for you to explore. It even uses virtually the same interface and button mappings on your controller or keyboard as GTA.
However, dismissing the game outright would be a mistake. The story, for example, offers an interesting alternative to GTA’s gangster-on-the-make template.
Taking its influence from Hong Kong cinema – in particular the excellent Infernal Affairs (remade in the US by Martin Scorsese as The Departed) – Sleeping Dogs puts you in the shoes of Wei Shen, an undercover cop charged with taking down the Triads from the inside.
Then there’s the gameplay itself.
How the Combat System of Sleeping Dogs seems like?
The combat system, for example, also takes inspiration from cinematic influences, with a surprisingly refined hand-to-hand fighting system that feels like you’re playing a Bruce Lee martial arts film but with slow-motion shootouts that are straight out of a John Woo action movie.
The driving sections are fun too. The physics is hardly realistic but you get a great sense of speed and the various different types of vehicle handle distinctively.
Overall, there’s plenty of variety on offer, even if some of the actual mission types occasionally feel familiar from other games of this type.
Sleeping Dogs also happens to be a great looking game. Characters models are distinctive and detailed but the real star is Hong Kong itself.
With backstreet markets that bustle with life and rainy night-time roadways bathed in bright neon, this is unlike any other sandbox world we’ve seen. Your PC will need to meet the game’s system requirements though.
Overall, Sleeping Dogs is an enjoyable if somewhat humourless action game.
The over-the-top violence, brutal characters and morally questionable gameplay elements might have been easier to swallow with a dose of GTA’s trademark tongue-in-cheek wit to wash them down.