This summer hasn't been very eventful. I dabbled in some DLC, tried to get back into Skyrim unsuccessfully, and ultimately have not played an awful lot of good games. The month of August held hope though. Dark Souls was coming to PC and I already had my copy pre-ordered and there was another title that used to be a True Crime game. Now If you are unaware of the True Crime series, you are lucky. The first True Crime game was advertised and sold to us as an ultra-realistic GTA open world style game set in an exact street for street replica of LA. Oh and Christopher Walken was in it. I like so many others bought the game well before any reviews had hit the streets. After 1 hour in the game I knew I had been had. It was garbage, pure and absolute garbage. A child could have written a better story, the scaled city of LA was big, but lifeless and colorless and overall the game was very disappointing. I never got around to playing the sequel and regardless of hearing some unique things about how the world changed based on your actions, I still had that first games shitty taste in my mouth and passed. Years later True Crime : Hong Kong was cancelled and I just thought the world had escaped another crappy game, yay! Then Square came out and said NOOOO!!! This is a good game and we must salvage it and we will call it Sleeping Dogs. I honestly have avoided press since that announcement and again passed it off. Then the buzz began, great reviews, a ton of ads, oh and blog after blog about how amazing it is. So I bought it, and ummm yeah it is utterly fantastic.
Open world GTA style sandbox games really have been coming out in droves lately. Some really good and some not so great. Sleeping Dogs is not only one of the really good ones, it is the best one to date! Yes I said it, I enjoy this game more than Red Dead. RDR is my all time favorite Rockstar game and right up at the top list of my all time favorite games period. Sleeping Dogs in a matter of days has surpassed it, how??? ACTION, ACTION, ACTION!!! While the Rockstar style focuses primarily on semi-realistic gameplay, Sleeping Dogs just wants you to be an ultimate bad ass. Your main character, Wei, shares a lot of the same abilities that Rico from the Just Cause series. Unlike Just Cause though there is a greater focus on realism, it really is a perfect blend of arcade and realism. Then you also have to factor in the world. Hong Kong is amazing! The world itself is filled with more life than any other sandbox game I have ever played. The character of the city is just as vital as Wei himself. Walking down any alleyway is fraught with people looking for help or just looking to con you. It is just alive and that is the biggest difference from your standard aimless pedestrians you find in so many other games like it. I liken it to Mafia 2 in some ways. The 2nd mission when you are arriving home and you walk down the alley and run into people from your past and hear couples fighting and yada yada, only that was scripted for a specific scene. In Hong Kong you find this throughout the game and in great quantity. Bottom line it is very easy to get lost in.The radio is filled with both Chinese and proper British voiced English ads and djs. The game itself doesn't have the light-hearted feel of GTA (did i just say that?). There is not nearly as much humor to be found in the story or the radio broadcasts, which is welcome change since to me that will always be Rockstar territory and not one to compete with. Instead you get a very heavy story and one that will interest you if you are into action movies in general. The entire game is one that needs to be noted by other Devs and for good reason.
Combat is intense
After putting a couple dozen hours into Sleeping Dogs I realized, its the little things that count. When I get into a fight and I take a beating my character is visually cut up. I can control the radio volume by holding the d-pad left or right. When I hold my phone and try to walk and control it I have as little coordination as I do in real life. So many little pointless things that immerse the player into the world. It is not perfect and that's the major point that devs can really learn from this. The lack of polish gives gamers a unique flavor to try as opposed to the same ole bland shit we all too often digest. Trying new things is what our industry is supposed to be about, however I have played more rehashed shit this year then I can name.
16 year old me would love this game
I am 26 years old and my tastes in games are changing. I find myself enjoying most games less and less. Your standard level based action/adventure just isn't cutting it anymore. Granted there are exceptions. Max Payne 3, Space Marine, and Shadows of the damned are few I can think of. Then there are games like The Legend of...*cough* I mean Darksiders 2. I played about 4 hours of that game and I really...didn't care. It bored me. I knew what was going to happen. Wander the map, find a dungeon, get a new power, kill a boss, repeat. Don't get me wrong it is a very well put together game, it just is far too didactic for me today. When I was 16 I would have had a marathon probably.
The future is pretty wide open for gaming I'd say. The medium for entertainment in general is extremely wide open due to expanding technology of course. As this current generation dies off the next generation has a lot of work to do. As a PC gamer primarily It is hard to really pin a generation leap. The last leap we had was 2004 with Half-Life 2 and Farcry. 8 years later and counting I am still waiting for that next awe inspiring creation. Code was found for Source Engine 2 in the Source Filmaker lines of code and that is very exciting. I am curious on what its going to be and yet as the next console generation nears I am not very excited. Remedy released a statement that the next generation of consoles is going to be a "quantum leap". Really? What cards are Sony and Microsoft holding that could impress me at this stage in the game? Does the console talk to you? Know you by name? All kidding aside the future of gaming is going to be very interesting and I am looking forward to seeing that.