Sleeping Dogs is not an original game in any way and it’s hard even for the more casual gamer not to notice that the game borrows with abandon from sources as different as Grand Theft Auto and Batman: Arkham Asylum.
This is not a bad thing per se, because the mix between the open world structure and the hand-to-hand combat, the two core elements of the game, basically works and serves to deliver a story that also lacks any sort of originality but manages to do some interesting things with its characters (and some really impressive ones with one of the potential girlfriends).
The hand-to-hand fights work very well and even if I know that they are very similar to those seen in the Rocksteady-made Batman games I am having enough fun with them to push that out of my mind.
The open world structure owes a lot to GTA and Rockstar and the fact that it’s not very well realized (Hong Kong deserved better) makes the comparison even clearer in my mind.
Given how good the developers at United Front Games are at internalizing systems and then adapting them to their own games I expected them to raid other sources of inspiration.
The story in Sleeping Dogs could have used more Naughty Dog in Uncharted characterization, for the main character and the supporting cast, while the gun play is so underwhelming that even Dead Space would have been a good source to copy some ideas.
The driving is another area of the game that’s lacking in quality and could have done with an injection of ideas taken from either Need for Speed or from Burnout.
The future will probably bring more AAA titles that are based on concepts already seen elsewhere and developers need to make sure that they get their inspiration from as many sources as possible to create solid games.