Sleeping Dogs looks like a hell of a game, but it started out with a bad reputation. Due to company changes and acquisitions, the game originally had the name True Crime: Hong Kong, continuing an ill-fated and critically panned series despite the fact that the games were not really related. Once Square Enix stepped in to work with developer United Front Games, it was renamed Sleeping Dogs and as soon as I sat down with the title, the past was forgotten and I was hooked.
Sleeping Dogs is an open world game that has you playing an undercover cop in Hong Kong (and other locals) trying to infiltrate the Triad. The developer told me that the heart of the story is similar to the Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs (or The Departed starring Leonardo DiCaprio which is essentially the same movie) and has the protagonist Wei Shen lose himself in his role somewhat. The game is steeped in Asian culture and really evokes a feeling of the country and it's environments.
Sleeping Dogs is a sandbox game, but unlike the Grand Theft Auto series it obviously takes as inspiration, it tries to be as effective in as many ways as possible. Take the driving aspect of the game, much like GTA and similar titles you can take over any car you see, but the similarities end there. A number of members of the development team come from Black Box studios who made the successful Need For Speed games. This means the driving and racing is very well implemented, and having driven around like a madman and taken part in races in-game, I can assure you the driving is tight and most importantly, fun.
While driving is important, the meat of the gameplay is on foot, either chasing, fighting, or shooting it out with your enemies. Again, Sleeping Dogs does this very well. As this is framed as a typical Hong Kong action experience, a the protagonist, Wei Shen, is a martial arts expert and nearly superhuman in combat. Shortly into the demo I stumbled on a gang of Triad members and I had to take them on without weapons. Instead of being approached one-on-one, groups of enemies attacked, and much like the recent Batman games you could battle many enemies at once effectively.