Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition Xbox One Review

Get ready to return to Hong Kong and infiltrate one of the biggest crime organisations in the world and it’s your job to try and unravel it all.  Will you succeed?

Gameplay

In Sleeping Dogs, you play as an undercover Hong Kong detective known as Wei Shen.  Shen grew up in Hong Kong in his earlier years and has spent the most recent and largest portion of his life in the United States.  Shen has become a detective in the United States but is remembered by his friends in Hong Kong as a trouble maker and one that doesn’t respect the law which is perfect for being part of a crime organisation.  Shen has recently returned to Hong Kong and his objective is to embed himself into the Hong Kong underworld and take the organisation down, without becoming unravelled himself.

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The game style is that of an open world environment that’s akin to games such as Grand Theft Auto.  You have the entire city of Hong Kong at your fingertips to explore, whether it’s on foot, motorcycle or car.  Sleeping Dogs is one of those games where you can choose to follow the main story or just loiter around the city participating in side quests, car races and more.  Hong Kong is a very vibrant and full of life style city and it shows.  From the hundreds of merchants and shop stalls all across town, to the towering buildings and beautiful waterfronts, there is always something to see and explore.  I found myself constantly walking around certain parts of town, stopping to grab some Green Tea, or a soup on the go to eat and there was so much variety, it makes we want to go on a holiday to Hong Kong myself.

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As expected, there is a heap of fighting that you will engage in while exploring the streets of Hong Kong.  Luckily you’re skilled in the art of Kung Fu, although you are a little rusty.  As you progress, you will unlock lessons which you can redeem at the local Kung Fu school to further unlock your knowledge from years ago.  It’s a great idea, and personally I like the idea of fighting rather than turning to guns and ammo.  Although you do get to use guns at later stages, it’s far more rewarding to enjoy the combat style of the game as it feels more at home.  There is a lot of fighting in the game as you encounter other gangs and fight at every opportunity.  The combat feels great and the controls are rather easy to learn, however timing is key.

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Sleeping Dogs also has a multi-tiered levelling system.  You don’t just play as Shen the Triad, you also play as Shen the Cop and Shen a normal citizen.  Hence there is different levelling up abilities for each variant.  For example if you drive over citizens and fail to help, then your Face meter wont level up all that well, however if you uphold the law as a Cop, your experience here will grow instead.   The choice is yours.

Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition has a truly engaging story line that kept me enthralled throughout my gameplay experience.  There was a great mix of cut scenes and dialogue that weren’t overly drawn out and were just right in terms of taking in little bits of the story at the time, which made for a truly engaging experience. 

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In terms of value, there is a heck of a lot of it here in Sleeping Dogs the definitive edition.  Apart from the solid campaign, there are a host of collectible’s to find that are scattered all over town, plus there are many side quest missions also to undertake.  Also included in the Definitive Edition are both the supernatural-themed Nightmare in North Point and the cop-centric Year of the Snake DLC.

One or two small criticisms of Sleeping Dogs the Definitive Edition were in regards to the camera angles at times which felt like they had a mind of their own, especially when driving and trying to reverse which was trying at times.  The driving doesn’t quite feel as smooth as say GTAV, however it’s adequate but there doesn’t seem to be a real sense of spend and the handling is questionable at times.

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Graphics & Sound

As with any next generation port of a title there is a large expectation for the graphics to blow you away with vast improvements.  However I must say the original Xbox 360 version was no slouch graphics wise however the next generation systems allow for sharper details, less jaggies and far bigger draw distances and steadier frame rates.  All of this comes together well, however not as well as if it was being built entirely from the ground up but there is no denying that it certainly is a vast improvement.  The audio is well executed with Sleeping Dogs from the sounds of people hustling around the city, to the sounds of markets and restaurants.  Also, the character voices are great and fans may notice that the voice of Wei Shen is played by Will Yun Lee who speaks in both English and Cantonese (thank goodness for the subtitles).

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Overall

As someone who never had the chance to play Sleeping Dogs on last generation consoles, it was perfectly fitting to try out the Definitive Edition on Xbox One.  United Front games have done a great job at improving all aspects of the original title for today’s next generation systems.  Sleeping Dogs has an intriguing story that kept me on the edge of my seat and was a pleasure to play.  Definitely worth picking up for new players, however for those who have already completed the title last generation, it really comes down to the technical improvements and if that’s enough to drive a re-purchase or not. 

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Written by

Paul Barbara

I've been an avid gamer since I was 5 and owned almost all systems possible in that time. I love podcasting, having produced over 280 episodes over the last 7 years and I get a real buzz out of discussing all this gaming news with other gamers. So tune in!

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