Sleeping Dogs (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC), SquareEnix's crime game based in Hong Kong, might have Rockstar's longtime GTA series to thank for its some of its game play mechanics, but for me, the former's strong narrative is what makes it such an enjoyable game.
Filling the shoes of undercover cop Wei Shen, who recently moved from the United States back to Hong Kong to infiltrate the Son On Yee triad, players will find much that reminds them of GTA: side quests, in-car radio stations, chases involving pursuing police cars, pedestrians that yell out as you bump past them and mission locations found using an in-car GPS system. But Sleeping Dogs has a story and a combat system that I think is more compelling than GTA's.
As the game develops, Shen gets deeper and deeper into the triad culture and while it starts off fairly slowly - the first few missions are nothing more than tutorials for the game's mechanics - by the time a major event involving a family celebration is over, the game suddenly kicks into fifth gear and becomes a much deeper and more compelling story.
As the story unfolds you can start to see Shen's internal conflict between his duties as an undercover cop and his loyalties to the crime family he has risen through the ranks of. It's a story that has kept me up late at night as I lead Shen deeper and deeper into the murky world of triad gangs.
So, what have you been playing lately?
* I'm heading to Auckland tomorrow to attend Microsoft's TechEd NZ conference until Thursday so the chances of a blog between now and Friday are slim. Just thought I'd let you know in case you came looking for one on Wednesday.
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