If you are not playing these PC titles, the first of which I'm covering is Sleeping Dogs, you are a worthless, steaming pus sac.
Three games. No more, no less. Well - more, maybe; I could include Worms Revolution, but I haven't played enough of it; or Borderlands 2, but I've already played plenty of Borderlands and, let's be honest here, there's not a hell of a lot new in the sequel to lure me away from porn.
But the three I'm about to write about - wow. Even Metacritic, that infallible bastion of completely informative opinion aggregation with which developers are simply in love - even Metacritic, that site frequently mistaken for the binary Rotten Tomatoes in that gamers, in all their unfathomable wisdom, read it as if 80 or more equals GOOD, 79 or less equals CRAP - even Metacritic agrees with me. That doesn't mean I've sunken to the level of Metacritic, merely that I've discovered Sleeping Dogs, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Dishonored and I totally dig them - so much so that I can't imagine writing this crap any further instead of playing them some more.
But for you, my reader, I soldier on. But not too soldiery do I soldier on, because that would mean I'm somehow not lazy. Thus, I'll divide the three reviews into equal parts, to be published once a week. Hell, who am I kidding? I'll publish them in random intervals depending upon how much sleep I've recently gotten and how much I've had to drink that morning.
Sleeping Dogs: Is it GTA Without as Much Reckless Murder, or Saints Row Minus the Dildo Humor?
That's a fantastic question!
|I feel like this every morning.|
Garnering the lowest Metacritic score of my trilogy of reviewed games, Sleeping Dogs still racks up a healthy 80 critics' average. I don't know about the reader score because I don't read those things. People use them to give zeros for bullshit, like bias against DRM or inconsequential technical glitches, rendering the user score about as useful to knowledge-thirsty gamers as tramp stamps are to geriatric nuns.
That said, Sleeping Dogs is very much its own game. You play an undercover cop Wei Shen, attempting to weasel his way into the Triad without getting caught and buried in a shallow grave. That's the way the leader of the little arm of the gang Wei though which Wei gets his start likes to dispose of snitches. It's not a tempting dish, but neither is the way that Wei likes to dispose of people who get on his bad side: by kicking the living shit out of them.
The combat system, as everyone who has ever reviewed this game has pointed out, is reminiscent of the recent Batman: Arkham X games. Sleeping Dogs is best played with a gamepad, and default controls on the Xbox gamepad for Windows are almost identical between the two budding franchises: You attack with the X button, block and/or parry with Y, and so on. Wei can grab enemies with B and apply brutal, environmental finishes to bad guys (such as satisfyingly stuffing their heads into electrical boxes or tossing them over railings).
|Drug money has its privileges.|
As a cop, Wei seems to have no regard for public safety or life in general. As Wei, you can steal cars just like you can in GTA and Saints Row, you can run down pedestrians with little more punishment than an experience point drop or, if you do it in front of another cop, a car chase that likely results in even more deaths of innocents.
Experience plays a big factor. You gain it in three fields: Cop and Triad, which give you new and better ways to hard people, and Face, which gives you better defense and even the ability to heal during fights. Besides the primary plot of the game, which guides you through a revenge-ish story about Wei and the secrets of his past, you can tackle side quests for the po that include drug busts and full-on cases (you track and nail serial killers, human trafficking dirtbags, and such).
Why the Fuck are GTA and Saints Row Considered So Much Better?
|Blocked, but I'll kill him later.|
Sleeping Dogs has a deeper plot, a more playable combat system, better driving mechanics, and a more likable protagonist than either of those games, but I suppose the critical blowjobs that GTA and SR receive has more to do with pedigree than anything else. Popular sequels tend to do better in terms of critic scores than do original IPs, even considering Sleeping Dogs itself was started as a sequel. Oh well.
Personally, I think that's all bullshit, and I give it:
28 Hong Kong Gangbangers Dying Slowly In Shallow Graves Out Of 30!