Sleeping Dogs was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2012. A game that had been through development and publisher hell came out the other end as a pretty solid experience with a fantastic storyline. Now, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners can get in on the action with the Definitive Edition, which features some visual improvements over the previous console iterations, and of course the post-release DLC. The question is, is it worth the hefty price tag for a two-year old game?
For anyone who has yet to play Sleeping Dogs, the core game has held up fairly well. The combat is definitely the highlight of the package. Taking on multiple foes is simple, and the environmental kills are as brutal as I remember. The story is genuinely interesting, and Wei Shen is still one of the best protagonists of last generation.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
The open-world is interesting, and I still love the dynamic between cop and criminal missions. Also the upgrade system makes finding collectibles actually mean something. Every side mission or trinket is tied to upgrading Wei’s combat abilities or other attributes. United Front games did a great job of making the normal side stuff actually matter.
Of course the biggest upgrade to this version, at least on consoles, is the visuals. Taking a cue from the superior PC version, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions now have higher resolutions and much nicer textures. The game looks great, well great by last generation standards. No one would mistake this for a current generation game. Sadly there are some hiccups with this version as well. The frame rate takes hits more often than I would prefer. Walking or driving around the city causes it to dip below 30 fps, which is extremely disappointing.
The city does look better when compared to the old consoles, but it still cannot hold a candle to the smooth frame rates of the PC version. Which leads us to the next issue, price. Sleeping Dogs is an older title, and this new Definitive Edition is running full price on XB1 and PS4. When considering the PC version is running for a much lower price, it is hard to swallow. Even the PC version of the Definitive Edition is much cheaper, and players even get a bigger discount if they own the original. It feels wrong. This is a game that seems like it should be priced at $40, even with the included DLC.
Speaking of the DLC, the two main packs included are actually pretty well done. Neither one has to do with the main campaign, and the Nightmare in North Point is about as crazy as it gets. Think of it like the Festival of Blood for inFamous and you get the idea. Supernatural beings and new combat mechanics at least make an interesting romp for its duration.
Year of the Snake on the other hand feels like a classic kung-fu movie dipped into the Sleeping Dogs world. In fact, it almost reminds me entirely of Enter the Dragon. A tournament is being held and Wei Shen decides to join up to gather information. It is interesting, but one of the final combat sequences is frustratingly hard. Still, adding both packs does spruce up the package quite nicely.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is a better-looking console version of a solid open-world game. That might be the most generic description of a game I have ever concocted, but it breaks it down perfectly. I enjoyed playing through Wei Shen’s story again, but the hefty price tag makes it a little hard to recommend, especially to those who have already played it. If you don’t have an expensive gaming PC, this is definitely one to check out when it drops in price just a bit. For those that have never played it, it is a fantastic experience that no gamer should miss.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.