The gun fights are easily the worst aspect of Sleeping Dogs. Some of the side missions involve wiping out an entire gang, and these are especially annoying. While there are finite number of enemies you must fight, the game will literally spawn new enemies behind you to murder you. No the Ai isn't outwitting me by flanking me. To test my theory, I ran backwards to actually see new enemies magically pop into the environment. While I despise the shooting, I found myself really enjoying many of the game's other activities. As an undercover cop, you have quite a stable of gadgets at your disposal. The game's various hacking mini-games are surprisingly clever, albeit over-used. One of my favorite missions involves parkouring on a building to break into someone's apartment. After picking the lock, I had to place bugs in the apartment while avoiding detection by the couple that lives there. It's incredibly tense, and a testament to the gameplay variety on offer. Perhaps the game's greatest asset is the environment. Hong Kong is spectacularly recreated here. While not "accurate" by any means (somehow there's no MTR ... or traffic), United Front Games has managed to capture the spirit of one of my most beloved cities. Driving up to Victoria Peak felt a bit nostalgic. Each of the game's neighborhoods really captures the feel of their real-world equivalent, making Sleeping Dogs a great virtual tour of one of Asia's great cities. It's a refreshing change of pace from the Americana that saturates the genre. It may not be as polished as a Rockstar effort, but Sleeping Dogs does its part to make an impression. Yes, the story is absurdly heavy-handed. And yes, the gun combat is, simply put, not good. But it's the only game I know that lets me, go offshore and play mahjong, bet on a cockfight, and woo girls at the karaoke after hawking fake watches. It's not perfect, but it's a trip well worth taking.
The game is pretty good, except for the gunfights.
This review of Sleeping Dogs is based on retail Xbox 360 and PC code provided by the publisher. The game was primarily played on Xbox 360, with additional testing on PC. The PC version offers significantly better visuals, and is highly recommended over the console versions. Sleeping Dogs is also available on PlayStation 3.