Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition review for Xbox One, PS4, PC

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: United Front Games
Medium: Blu-ray
Players: 1
Online: No

If we didn?t live in a world where there was a pre-existing version of Sleeping Dogs readily (and cheaply) available on PC, then I suppose this Definitive Edition would be far more tantalizing than it currently is. While I still feel Sleeping Dogs is an exceptionally good open-world game, even post Grand Theft Auto V, it?s hard to argue that this Definitive Edition releasing next week on Xbox One and PS4 is worth the $60 price tag attached. Is it a clear step-up from the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions? Yes. But for those that played through on PC? Not at all.

Maybe it?s my fault for wanting to compare this to the PC edition, and not just looking at Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition as a console upgrade. But I?ve also seen far better previous-gen to current-gen ports with releases like The Last of Us and even Tomb Raider, so my expectations for these releases is somewhat high. And clearly Sleeping Dogs is a great looking game on Xbox One and PS4, and a huge step up from the previous generation. But really, it should be, considering it?s been a couple of years since the original released. I don?t think that the ball has been dropped in any significant way with this port, but I don?t feel like a new bar in quality has been set either.

Sleeping Dogs DE-screen-brutalBy and large, this release feels comparable to the original PC release, despite a few graphical tweaks and minor modifications. Features like volumetric fog, increased draw distance, and larger traffic volume sound great, but their actual impact here feels minimal. I struggled to see the difference between the two versions looking at the same scenes side by side. And was even surprised to see some framerate hiccups during cutscenes, along with a couple of full on crashes while playing. Car handling is also supposedly improved, but again, I had a real tough time noticing any significant difference.

One the plus side, the Definitive Edition does come with DLC packed in and ready to use up front. Story related DLC releases like the fun Nightmare in North Point, are accessible from the start. Plus you can get some pretty quick access to significant cash via the 50k money drops scattered about the city, which weren?t originally available in the initial release. It?s easy enough to buy some of the zanier costumes, which provide significant bonuses, making for some entertaining cutscene sequences. Nothing says serious gangster like running around in full on Monkey King garb.

Sleeping Dogs DE-screen-crumpleAlso, and well worth noting, Sleeping Dogs is still a ton of fun to play. Despite having played a lot of Sleeping Dogs across different platforms already, I found myself quickly addicted to exploring Wei Shen?s world as an undercover cop with a score to settle. It?s one of the few open-world games to really nail that mix of exploration and combat well, focusing strongly on melee-based attacks to drive home that mix of Shaw Bros. / John Woo flair that I loved so much when I first played the game two years ago. Considering that Sleeping Dogs was going to be a True Crime (remember that one?) sequel at one point, I think it?s still amazing that the final result turned out to be as good as this.

But again, this Definitive Edition is a tough sell. If you?ve only played the game on PS3 or Xbox 360, and don?t have access to a PC solid enough to run the game at decent settings, then I can see a reason for checking this out. It?s a clear step-up from last-gen, even if it doesn?t wow me at every corner. But if you?ve already played a ton of the game across multiple platforms, and have already had the opportunity to sample the story-based DLC. then I?d definitely wait for a sale. Either way, Sleeping Dogs is still a lot of fun, but the when it comes to throwing hard-earned money at 4th quarter releases, I can?t suggest putting this port at the top of your must-have lists.

Grade: B