Hands up those waiting for Grand Theft Auto 5 - almost all of you, right? While you're waiting for that unknown release date, there's a game that any GTA fan should check out - Sleeping Dogs.
Although the reference to GTA is obvious in the open-world gameplay, similarities to other highly successful titles are, too. The hand-to-hand combat screams of Batman: Arkham City and the gunplay mixes the best of Gears of War and Max Payne. There are also strong likenesses to the highly underrated Stranglehold in all aspects of gameplay, especially the gritty underworld setting of Hong Kong.
You play as Wei Shen, an undercover cop who is tasked with infiltrating and taking down a triad empire. But the deeper you get within the gang and the more relationships you forge, the more the line blurs between your duty to the badge and the code of honour of the triads.
Few games have generated the genuine feeling of isolation and nervousness as Sleeping Dogs. The threat of blowing your cover and imminent death is present with every move and every decision. Thankfully there are plenty of side-missions to break up the seriousness, such as street races and car-jacking, gambling, street fights, karaoke, and you can even take girls out on dates.
The game does have its frustrations, however, as do most games of this scale. The cover system - an important part of the game - is inconsistent and will have you vaulting obstacles at inopportune moments. Aiming can also be an issue in battles.
But on a whole, Sleeping Dogs is an intriguing masterpiece that can suck you into its deep and gritty narrative.
From: Square Enix
For: Xbox 360
Rating: 5 / 5