Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is an open world action-adventure game set in modern-day Hong Kong. You play as Wei Shen, a double agent cop who infiltrates powerful street gangs, but finds himself getting invested in the lives of the criminals he meets.
Pro Great story that deals with plenty of gray moral issues
The story in Sleeping Dogs is done well, touching on some very human issues. Playing as Wei Shen, an undercover cop, you pretend to join certain gangs in Hong Kong in order to spy on their operations. You're technically not supposed to care about the members of the gangs, but Wei ends up growing close to them, genuinely wanting to help them and be a part of their lives. This conflicts with his role as a police officer, causing him to play both sides while he figures out his priorities and who he's really loyal to. It's an intriguing dynamic that lets you get into Wei's head and his emotions.
Pro Well-implemented hand-to-hand combat with cool environmental finishing moves
The hand-to-hand fighting system is rock-solid with some neat finishers you can pull off. Punches and kicks are snappy and responsive, with a good amount of weight behind your button presses to really make you feel involved in every fight. You can grab opponents and maneuver them however you want, mainly with guiding them over to the nearest shutter cage, window, the edge of a rooftop on a high building, and so on.
Finishing your enemies off with these environmental finishers is tons of fun: you can throw them off a building, ram their head into glass, or slam down a shutter over their heads. It's a brutal spectacle that makes the combat here stand out from other games.
Pro Really good open world set in Hong Kong
The open world setting is great. Modern-day Hong Kong is pretty unique for a video game, and thankfully it's a true-to-life recreation of what the metropolis looks like. There's a perfect mix of traditional temples, for example, with taller, Western-style glass buildings that you'd find downtown. You can go just about anywhere, whether it's on foot or taking a car for a spin down the roads and highways, with plenty of side quests and mini-objectives to find and complete. It's a good-looking world that's designed well and filled with a good amount of content.
Pro The Definitive Edition has all of the DLC included in one package
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition comes with everything added to the original game. This is pretty good for new players who have yet to experience Sleeping Dogs at all, or maybe for someone who played the original game years ago and didn't want to buy the DLC.
Con Feels too similar to other sandbox open world games
If you've played a bunch of other open world games in a modern city, then Sleeping Dogs will probably feel too familiar to you. This is fine if you really enjoy these types of games and you're looking for something similar. For anyone else who wants something fresh from the genre, the samey gameplay mechanics, tons of icons dotting the map, and mission structures may end up boring you instead. If you're feeling burnt out from these types of games, you may want to steer clear of this one.
There are a lot of strange quirks about the game that make it feel and look janky. Controls aren't particularly seamless, with Wei's walking and running animations looking off, and driving animations feeling too loose and unrealistic. Even with the polished graphics for the Definitive Edition, they still look low-effort and low-budget, a lot like the rest of the game. One thing here and there isn't too bad, but adding them all up, they can end up as a bunch of distractions.