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Release Date: October 14th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition

Overview -

Back in 2012, there was a game that had all the makings of AAA bust. The spiritual successor of the 'True Crime' franchise, this was a game that had been batted around and was left twisting in the wind after Activision Blizzard axed  its original incarnation, 'True Crime: Hong Kong.' Ultimately, Square Enix picked up the publishing rights to the series and 'Sleeping Dogs' was born. With the gritty underworld of Hong Kong as a backdrop, the game became a last-gen (and PC) hit. 'Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition', packages the core game with three main story DLC packs as well as over 20 DLC packs with additional vehicles, weapons and costumes. The new version also promises some light rebalancing and fixes as part of its new-gen polish. In addition, the release has been upgraded to native 1080p with the promise of a more robust, vibrant Hong Kong due the additional horsepower of the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

OVERALL:
Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p
Audio Formats:
LPCM 7.1
Release Date:
October 14th, 2014

Video Review

Ranking:

Visually, the 1080p Xbox One version of 'Sleeping Dogs' is a definite step up from the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, namely due to what's happening in the background of the level design. Hong Kong feels more alive as the developer was able to crank up the weather effects and increase the number of cars and people traversing the city The city also seems more colorful, likely due to the neon lighting effects being amped up a bit.

Draw distance has significantly improved and character models look slightly better than the original, mostly due to the overall sharpness of the image. However, if you have a decent PC rig that's able to run the game on maximum detail, there's not a significant level of difference between the two versions. I also ran into the occasional framerate stutter when spinning the camera around Wei Shen's ride.

Sleeping Dogs; Definitive Edition

Speaking of the camera, I ran into situations where I had to spin the camera around to get a better angle than the default angle designated by the developer. Here's one example: There's a mission in 'Year of the Snake' where Wei Shen is attempting to track down a bomb-maker and the trail leads him into a fish processing plant. After the first couple rooms, Wei Shen runs into a small room with fish hanging up everywhere on hooks in the way of the camera. I found it impossible to fight the enemies effectively and attempted to goad the enemies out of the room to fight. Sadly, the enemies hit an invisible wall (tethering) which forced me to re-enter the room, spam the counter button and hope for the best. 

Audio Review

Ranking:

Easily one of my favorite radio stations in any video game (even the GTA franchise), I could listen to Boosey & Hawkes for hours. I purposely change to that station in every single car that I hop into. The sheer chaos of a frantic car chase is balanced by the serene calmness of Bach’s Air on the G String. The same goes for Pavarotti belting out ‘La donna e mobile’ or Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. Classical music provides a simply amazing counter-balance to the insanity of action games. Beyond B&H, there are plenty of stations to choose from across a variety of music genres. 

Regarding the voice work, nothing has changed from the original 2012 release. The voice cast is top notch featuring actors and actresses such as Tom Wilkinson (‘Batman Begins’, ‘Michael Clayton’), Kelly Hu (‘Warehouse 13’, ‘Phineas and Ferb’) and Will Yun Lee (‘The Wolverine’, ‘True Blood’). In addition, the mixture of English and Cantonese is extremely well balanced. It’s easy to keep track of what’s being said using the subtitles if you prefer the most authentic experience in the game. Regarding the directional audio, I couldn’t tell any difference between the base game on my PC and the Definitive Edition, both of which were running through an Onkyo 7.1 setup.

Final Thoughts

The biggest flaw of 'Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Editio'n isn’t really anything in the game itself, it’s the fact that Square Enix has priced the game at the same MSRP as brand new 2014 games, $59.99. At such a high MSRP, it doesn’t make any sense to upgrade to the Definitive Edition if you still own a previous generation console or a gaming PC. Heck, the base game was free for Xbox Live gold members during January 2014 and for PlayStation Plus members during May 2013. In addition, the base MSRP of the Definitive Edition on PC is half of the Xbox One edition, $29.99 (a price that will likely drop under $10 during the Steam Autumn Sale). 

It feels like Square Enix lost an opportunity to encourage owners of the previous generation game to upgrade to the Definitive Edition. Anyway, I can only recommend this edition to gamers that only own an Xbox One or PS4 and never played the game on any other platform. If you are brand new to Sleeping Dogs, the Definitive Edition is the absolute best way to experience the game. In addition, look into preodering the physical disc edition rather than the digital edition. The disc edition comes with limited edition artbook packaging, a cool collection of concept art related to the game.