This is easily the best open world crime game I've played in a long time (and yes, that includes both GTAs 4 and 5). That's because you can really tell the developers put a lot of thought into every aspect of the gameplay itself, as opposed to spending 99% of their time on graphics and map size (ahem). What's cool about it is the graphics are still really good, and the map is satisfactorily big. Cruising through the streets of Hong Kong with some smooth hip hop, classic rock, soothing pop or old school soul on the radio is truly a pleasure both day and night (That's assuming you don't want to just throw on some speed metal or techno and floor it, you can do that too). The streets are particularly beautiful when it rains, and the water is always beckoning you to take a dive or hop in a boat! There are tons of interesting locations to explore, indoors and out. A good selection of vehicles, including motorcycles and boats. No flying, but that's what Just Cause 2 is for! Besides, who would want to leave this place?!
GENERAL GAMEPLAY/MOVEMENT ON FOOT
There isn't a ton of gunplay. There's enough to keep you in practice and spice things up at just the right moments (and they even spiced up the gunplay itself with some really nifty incorporations of bullet-time, borrowed from Max Payne), but the melee combat is where SD shines brightest. It functions a lot like the combat sequences in Assassin's Creed but to me looks and feels quite a bit better somehow. You can use objects in your immediate surroundings to perform "environmental kills", take a human shield, or even throw a guy in your trunk and drive around! You can learn combo attacks that are actually pretty easy to master, and it doesn't take long before you can take down a whole mob of enemies with ease. But just like everything else, it stays fun. They did a remarkable job in making things challenging but not frustrating. There were a few missions I failed more than once, but none that made me want to give up or shout obscenities. Also borrowed from Assassin's Creed is the parkour. Free-running, jumping over objects, climbing short walls is a delight! You HOLD the button to run instead of tapping it repeatedly like a lunatic as in some other games, and the same button you use to run with is the same button you use to jump with, so there's no switching buttons when you want to climb or jump a short wall quickly. All in all, movement in Sleeping Dogs is quite smooth once you get used to the controls (as you have to do with any game).
There are literally countless little features in this game that you can't find in games like GTA. Things like having your favorite vehicle (indeed, ALL your vehicles) accessible in garages all over the map instead of just the one you happened to store it in, and a valet service you can use to have your favorite vehicle delivered to you (He's more dependable than the mechanic in GTA 5). You can save outfits, which makes deciding what to wear next a snap, and the clothes you buy often provide some sort of bonus in the experience points you earn while wearing them. Food/drinks give you temporary boosts in stats like health regeneration and melee damage. It goes on and on. And collectibles? LOTS of 'em! But just like so much else in the game, finding them is neither too easy nor exasperatingly difficult. Plus, you actually WANT to find them because they all unlock different rewards to keep you motivated.
...No... I'm not done talking about the features. The GPS puts arrows on the screen itself so you don't have to "play the mini-map" (keep your eyes glued to the mini-map so you don't miss a turn) like you do in GTA 5. Also unlike GTA 5, Sleeping Dogs gives you two buttons with which to change your radio station instead of just one, and you can adjust the volume of your radio without going into settings. You can change objectives (where your GPS directs you to) with the press of a button so you don't have to pause to look at your map as often. Abilities are like no other in this genre. You can ram enemy vehicles much more effectively, go into slow-motion while shooting at enemies in front of and behind you WHILE DRIVING, and perform action hi-jacks in which you leap from one moving vehicle to the roof of another to steal it.
The story is great, really keeps your interest the whole way through. Much more serious than GTA and Saint's Row, though there are pleasant moments to uplift your spirits in the midst of dramatic events. You actually come to care about several characters in the game. And the missions never seem repetitive. Maybe that's because they aren't, or maybe it's just because everything's so much fun you can't get enough of any of it! While similar to other games in this genre in that the mini-games are lacking (with the exception of karaoke, which is surprisingly entertaining when you want a break from all the seriousness), most of the side missions are a blast. Whether you're chasing down a purse thief, racing through checkpoints in the street, or putting the beatdown on a local gang guarding a camera you must then turn around and hack into, you won't be disappointed!
Point is, you should definitely get this game! That's especially if you like any of the GTA or Saint's Row games and are just in the mood for a change in scenery or mood.
This game contains fairly graphic violence, extensive use of obscenities (though half of them are spoken in Chinese and subtitled in English), no nudity/strip clubs but a few explicit sexual references, references to drugs and alcohol abuse but none that promote it, and the story won't make you torture innocent people by slowly pulling their teeth out with pliers to progress the story like some games that shall remain nameless *cough*GTA 5*cough*