on August 16, 2012
The game's combat system is predominately third person melee. You can melee whenever and wherever you want, but gun play is reserved for scripted scenes in the main story and a few quests. So if you were looking for a shooting open-world game then this game may not be for you.
- suspenseful and action packed story
- you can hijack any car while driving, but not every car!
- excellent voice acting, main character's voice is convincing
- has an in-game benchmark test, all PC games should have this
- slow motion shooting is very fun, and guns feel genuinely lethal compared to melee combat
- melee combat looks slick, and handles smoothly most of the time.
- You can Karaoke! Anyone can karaoke, but not everyone should!
- beautiful setting with good graphics, set on the highest settings; never settle for less settings
- Racing! Surprisingly deep, as there are many basic features that a normal racing game would have.
- large selection of music
- leaderboards for many actions, but not every action!
- each upgrade/level for your character feels significant
- no cooperative play for anyone, and everyone!
- mouse and keyboard issues, the mouse is disabled in odd places like the upgrade screen or map
- key-binding options are incomplete because some actions cannot be rebound, for example, the cellphone and change radio actions are fixed to the arrow keys
- shooting feels unnatural, as your mouse becomes slower/stiffer when you zoom in
- rebinding keys is cumbersome
- when driving normally the mouse accelerates very fast. It took me a minute to realize the camera auto corrects itself when driving, so you SHOULD NOT MOVE THE MOUSE while driving. This lets you put your right hand on the arrow keys to change to your favorite radio station or use your cellphone while driving
- when you start the game at the main menu, the default selection is to new game rather than continue game
- have to create an account at the official website to use leaderboards against other players that are not on your friends list
- you are kind of forced to explore and level up or the game becomes difficult. I am all for exploring, but this is an open-world game, some people (not me) may loath being forced to explore and do filler side quests they may not like. Maybe they do not want any filler, but every story experience instead!
- side quests are repetitive gameplay wise, but story context for each side quest alleviates this repetitiveness somewhat.
----still reading? comments----
First off, each car has a unique sound and handles differently, which is surprising because you would expect this in a racing game rather than an open world game. There is also good selection of unlicensed cars to choose from, around 30 - 40 cars that you can buy and probably 60 cars overall, if you include cars you can steal in the world. Keep in mind that racing games usually have 20 - 100 cars, so it is fairly impressive that a non-racing game would have so many cars. You cannot permanently keep cars you steal; only temporary obtain some vehicles through stealing: for example, if you wanted a police car, you would have to steal one every time it was destroyed or disappeared. Oh yeah, you can only customize your car's appearance by picking color schemes. The 18 tracks you race on are never the same.
When I play a PC game usually rebind all the keys to match normal typing position, so my left hand fingers naturally rests on the a, s, d, and f keys. I then use the e, s, d, and f keys for movement, and the a key for reload instead of the r key, which is the default in many shooter games. This is useful because you get access to more keys than when you are using the default w, a, s, d layout. Additionally, if you have to chat by typing then you do not have to shift your fingers from wasd to normal typing position. Anyways, why does it matter what keys I rebind to? Well, because they do no rebind accordingly in-game. There are many mini-games where you use up, down, left, and right, but instead of using what I choose to rebind my up(e key), down(d key), left(s key), and right(f key) keys to, it will use w, a, s, and d or the arrow keys instead.
Rebinding is cumbersome, compared to how it is normally handled in other PC games. I do not really know how to explain this clearly so I will just give an example.
move down = s key
move right = d key
Say you want to rebind move down (the s key) to the d key, the game will not let you, since d is already used for another action (move right). You would have to rebind the action used for d (move right) to another key that is not associated with an action first, say to the k key, before you could rebind d to move down. Normally, in other PC games, it would just rebind move down to d, and clear move right so no key was associated with it and wait for the player to rebind it as shown below.
move down = d
move right = wait for player to rebind to another key
Hardware used to play game:
- CPU = AMD phenom II X4 965, 3.4 Ghz
- graphics card = AMD Radeon HD 6870
- RAM = 5 GB
- Operating System = Windows 7 64-bit
- hard disk drive(HDD) = HD400LJ, 400GB, 7200 RPM, 8MB Cache, SATA 3.0Gb/s
I was able to set all graphic options to max at 1080p, except anti-aliasing, which was set to high. Using the in-game benchmark I got the following frames per second (fps) = 38 average, 25 minimum, 51 max
Although it seems like I have more bad than good comments, many of the bad comments are really just small personal nuances. In all honesty, the PC port was good enough. The real reason you want to buy this game is to experience the almost cinematic storyline as well as relieve any urges to melee ANYTHING, but not EVERYTHING! The game is about 15 - 30 hours, depending on how many of the extras you decide to do, and maybe even longer if you feel like competing against the world on the leaderboards. Sleeping Dogs has many gaming elements like: racing, shooting, fighting, gambling, adult storyline, parkour, adventure, RPG leveling, and MMO questing. Some people may list the many games that does one or more of these game elements better than Sleeping Dogs. To that I say, Fool! Kung fu is for anyone, but not everyone!
In any case, if you are the type of player who has to complete and collect everything then this game is for you. If you just want to experience the story, maybe you should rent it or wait for the price to drop. For sure, anything less than $30 is a steal (cocks eye). . . but not everything.
on September 12, 2012
This game is sleeper hit of the year, Square-Enix has really outdone themselves.
There are plenty of reviews for this game already, but I'll give my quick two cents:
The combat in the game is excellent puts the GTA series to shame. The storyline although short is memorable and exciting. This is a tough game to put down for the entire 40 hours or so of main story. I would recommend playing the game at a leisurely pace and attempting the side missions while getting through the game. Don't blaze through it... immerse yourself.
Having been to Hong Kong many times the maps and atmosphere are very accurate. The Cantonese dialogue is hilarious.
I would recommend buying the xbox 360 controller to get the full experience. I think the game would be rather clunky with a keyboard and mouse. Play it the way it's meant to be played - buy the joystick.
on April 1, 2013
Sleeping Dogs does a lot of things right, however it does too many things wrong for it to be considered great. The story is decent, combat is fun and varied, the voice acting is phenomenal, and the world is beautiful with an eye for detail and it's citizens are brimming with personality.
It revolves around you as Wei Shen, a cop who goes undercover in a Hong Kong triad as you to try and take them down from the inside. The plot is passable as it is, the story doesn't stray too much from your objectives, you almost always have at least 1 "cop" mission and 1 "gang" mission to accomplish as you wade through the game. The issue with the missions is that there simply wasn't a lot of variety in them. Most of the time it's drive somewhere, beat up or shoot some people, and drive back. It follows a formula made famous by Grand Theft Auto, and while the missions themselves are fun, it fails to capture the charm that GTA often does. And the game also sets up a lot of interesting side plots but never really gives them any conclusion. For example, early in the story, Wei meets 3 different girls and takes them each on a date. Doing this opens up hidden items on your map which is nice, but the developers missed a chance to try and flesh out the characters and show a different side of it's protagonist. After your initial date with each, you don't have more contact than an occasional phone call and a couple of "she cheated on me" side quests. It stumbled on something that could've been a nice diversion from the main story.
The game also add a couple of side quests you can do at any point. One has you go steal a specific car and take it to a chop shop and the other is to be a debt collector for the triad. These are both good ways to make money in the game but are still essentially doing the same thing 20 times each.
The main problem with SD is something that, sadly, a lot of games still suffer from...a poor camera system. You can't adjust it permenantly, moving the right thumb stick with turn in up, down and around but it flashes back to normal as soon as you start to move. This is especially vexing when you're driving. The game does a terrible job of getting the camera turned around so you can see yourself back up a car to the point where if you try to align it before you take off, the camera will occasionally swing wildly and do a 360 around your car. It's annoying when you spend at least half the game driving places that they didn't take some more time to smooth out this issue. It causes you to inadvertently hit people or other cars which can ruin your mission score or send the cops after you. You also can only have one view, no inside the car or on the hood view like a lot a driving-centered games, which is odd because there are about 15 street racing missions, which are a lot of fun, but I wished for the ability to change the view to inside the car, just my personal preference and won't bother a lot of people.
Now, enough criticism of the game, here's what worked for it. The combat is pretty great, imagine either of the Batman Arkham games and you've got the idea. You learn moves by collecting statues for your "sifu" which I guess is Chinese for sensei. Combat is often mixed up by adding different ways to beat your opponents. Like dropping them off a pier, throwing them into a garbage dumpster, and my favorite, beating them up with a giant fish. You can punch, grapple, block, and finding the right way to beat your opponent has a paper rock scissors feel to it as each opponent is a little different.
The version of Hong Kong built here is lively and fun, it's not too big that you can't get around quickly which is nice because unlike a lot of sandbox games, you can't fly anywhere, you're strictly set on boats and cars. Getting from one end of the island to the other takes about 3 minutes or so.
In the end, SD is a bad animal you just can't stay mad at. It's got a lot of charm, it's well acted and is like watching the violence of a Quentin Tarantino film without the wit. Doesn't mean you should pass it up, definitely worth a purchase if you can get it for around $15.
on August 25, 2012
I was surprised how well they put the Cantonese dialect in here. Bystanders, radio stations (some not all) were completely in Cantonese making it really feel like you're in Hong Kong not some stereotypical Chinatown with broken "Engrish". Even the NPCs that do speak English do the accent really well even if it is stereotyping. But this is completely how Chinese speak English so props to them for capturing it just right.
The dialogue in this game is great I think. Though some transitions from English to one-word canto phrases can get some brush ups, but for the most part it flows nicely.
Although many can probably argue about this, but I think you gain a greater appreciation for the game if you know Cantonese. Myself being canto, I crack up at conversations solely spoken in Cantonese in the game. Although you definitely do not need to know Canto to play this game, understanding it will enhance your attachment to sleeping dog's world. Even the billboards with Chinese are hilarious to read.
SPOILER: Mr and Mrs. Chu's babbling in the kitchen is hilarious.
This game is a lot different from any sandbox game I've played thus far. The environmental attacks and interactions are great (tho it can sometimes be a bit repetitive?) The fighting can get hard if you do not time your counters (fighting is similar to Batman games if you ever played it). It offers a great alternative to your typical guns blazing GTA tho.
I did not give this 5 stars because I think this game can be completed fairly short for a open-world sandbox game. I'm only 7 hours in and I already found about half of all the secrets and 30% into the game. I feel like I can completely finish this in 20-25 hours, that's short for any game I believe as I love taking my time to explore, which I am doing within those mentioned 7 hours.
Driving on the other side of the road will get accustomed to you quickly after a few rides here and there. It's not like you follow the law in these games anyways (that's right, all those who drive in the middle of the road! Including me..>.>)
Driving is a lot different here than in GTA games I've played, it's much more intense. The air car jacking is awkward in my opinion. Because close enough will easily get you to automatically take control of the car without a fight. I would love to see them require you to perform button responses to successfully air jack a car whilst you're on the roof.
To Sum Up:
-Great dialogue (better if you know Cantonese)
-Great story (like a real Hong Kong Cop Drama movie)
-Colorful city (all the neon lights are purtyyyyy)
-Bone-breaking action fights
-Nice driving (screen blurs when driving high speeds)
-Secrets are easily exploitable (and in legal non-cheat methods!)
-Repetitive fighting moves and take-downs.
-Some fights are REALLY REALLY hard (you're very vulnerable apparently)
-Map is somewhat small compared to say GTA:San Andres (though still an appropriate size)
-Believed to be a very quick play through and 100% game completion (THIS IS JUST MY SPECULATION)
Conclusion: if you like Open-sand box games, get it. If you are Cantonese, DEFINITELY get it. I recommended this to friends who hate GTA games and they are playing this!
Performance on PC:
AMD Phenom x6 1055T 2.8GHz OCed to 3.0GHz
12GB G.Skill DDR3
6850HD 1GB Sapphire DDR5 GPU
Asus Crosshair Formula IV Mobo
256GB 830 Samsung SSD
Frio Thermaltake CPU Cooler
1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 7200RPM (although I'm pretty sure this piece is irrelevant here)
I run on 1920x1080 60z with high AA, high shadow and filter, and maxed settings on everything else.
I run a constant 30, max at 60.2, and min at 20
USE A CONTROLLER it's so much better to play with than mouse and keyboard...
on September 29, 2015
As far as open world sandboxes go that I've played, this one feels the most alive. Every city block, every building has unique details. The people and the traffic feel less like automatons than other games in this genre. It feels more like a real city, and not miles and miles of nothing like the GTA games tend to sometimes. And while it isn't packed to the brim with open world activities, there is still quite a bit to do with your freedom.
The actual game has some of the best story missions I've played in an open world game. It follows the story beats of Wei Shen, an undercover cop infiltrating the Hong Kong underworld. The way the story unfolds is a bit predictable, but in spite of that the plot is quite good. And the actual missions are fun enough that it wouldn't matter if the story was terrible. Even though there's plenty of game hours in just the story missions, I wished there was more. Just because the missions available are so much fun, and I wanted more of them. There is expansion content with more missions at least.
The bulk of the gameplay is through hand to hand combat. It's got a combat system similar to Arkham Asylum's in that it's timing and grappling based. It's more forgiving than that game, and not as deep, but it's still a lot of fun. Some of the moves you can unlock are pretty brutal too. The gunplay is used far less than the hand to hand combat, and it's also less realized. Aiming is a little finicky, and overall it's just less fun than the melee fighting. I found myself bum rushing through gunplay sections just so I could punch my assailants in the face instead. it's not bad, but it's disappointing when there's already better systems in the game.
Driving in the game is fine. Not entirely realistic, but it does it's job. Best driving feature is a nice little on demand ramming feature, in which you just slam into other vehicles at any time that you want. It's really quite a lot of fun to run vehicles into obstacles, or disable them entirely. You can also jump from vehicle to vehicle whenever you like. Which means you can have any car that you want, so long as you can jump to it. And one last benefit to the driving is the fact that the gunplay is a little more interesting here, with more options to either kill enemies outright, or disable their vehicles in various ways.
The graphics and sound are amazing. The PC port of the game runs really well. And there's an optional HD texture pack, which I recommend if you can handle it. The basic game itself runs really well on even moderate systems, even when it originally launched. The game also manages an art style that doesn't go for pure realism, which goes to it's benefit, and the graphics have aged pretty well as a result.
The soundtrack isn't bad. It lacks the constant western styled music that most open world games have. Which is quite refreshing. Some people might not like it as much, but I appreciate something different. it fits the setting of the game better anyways. The voice acting is pretty good too, and most of the characters have a lot of personality brought through by their respective voice actors.
So basically, this is my favorite open world game. it doesn't have the largest world, or the most content, but what is there is really well crafted. the only thing this game lacks is multiplayer. I can see why it's not included, but man I wish I could cavort around in multiplayer like in Saint's Row games. Doesn't even have to make story sense.
Overall, I give this a big recommend. It's nearly a perfect package.
on June 16, 2013
Preemptive TL;DR: A-. In other words, A Very Enjoyable Game.
I'm not going to lie - I originally picked up Sleeping Dogs because it was on sale for $7 on GameFly with a Steam key and someone told me they liked it. Well, good thing I did, because I've binged about thirteen and a half hours into this game over the last two days. In doing so, I only really got through the front-to-back plot with some dicking around and doing a few side missions in between. If I were to guess, I'd probably be about 65-70% through the game's raw content.
And that's one of the best things - Sleeping Dogs is very content rich without being overwhelming. At the beginning of the game, you more or less only have the base plot to play through, but by the end your map is basically just icons of stuff to do - which is totally cool by me!
Sleeping Dogs, at its core, is a Very Fun Game. It really isn't very difficult (there's only one difficulty setting, on which I died a total of one time), nor is it very realistic (Wei Shen, the main character, can kick like Jackie Chen and jump like the protagonist of Mirror's Edge), but it's really very fun. The cars work using pure magic, where you can go from 0-60 in no time on a "Class A" vehicle and swerve between vehicles and escape from the scene as if you were... er, the protagonist of Mirror's Edge in car form. Or one of the bosses in Sleeping Dogs...
On to the plot! Sleeping Dogs actually has a very enjoyable plot (noticing a theme?) despite how horribly cliché it is. NO SPOILERS WHATSOEVER BECAUSE YOU LEARN IT IN THE FIRST FIVE MINUTES OF THE GAME: You're an undercover cop! You used to live in Hong Kong but moved because your sister got hooked on drugs and became a prostitute! She died of an OD, you became a cop, and you blame one of the big gangs in town for ruining her life (more or less accurately, as it turns out). Trust me, you've almost certainly seen this plot before in a movie - but at the same time, it's the first time I've seen it well executed in a videogame. This is a testament to the quality of gameplay (and missions) in and of themselves, as I enjoyed the game's progression massively despite the fact that I predicted the entire plot from the first hour of gameplay.
The actual gameplay is strangely hilarious. If you've seen an attack before in a karate movie, expect to find it in Sleeping Dogs. Despite the fact that the end-game is packed to the brim with guns, all of your boss battles are conveniently fought hand-to-hand. And hand-to-hand combat is really where the ridiculous fun comes from. You can do a spinning flip, you can take an enemy's attack and counter it (which, by the way, is ridiculously overpowered), you can grab an enemy and throw him off the side of a building... the choices are practically limitless! I had more fun fighting as Wei Shen than in practically any all-shooty game.
In fact, while I'm comparing Sleeping Dogs to shooty games, I'm going to say that Sleeping Dogs is similar in a lot of ways to Saints Row 2 (my personal all-time favorite more-or-less single player game). They both side towards the ridiculous, yet somehow have well thought through plots. Similarly to Saints Row 2, it also has a truly mediocre post-end game. I'm going to slide away from spoilers, but I'll just say this: Once the plot's done, the game pretends that nothing ever happened.
Moreover, the game lacks proper closure. It has a conclusion that wraps up a few loose ends... but leaves hundreds still lying around. And for the first and last time in my life, I would actually pay for day-zero DLC that wrapped up the plot more thoroughly.
The worst part is that I would have been completely happy to ignore the shortcomings in the plot if only the game had one thing: co-op. That's what made Saints Row 2's "meh" ending bearable (and why I sunk probably upwards of a hundred hours into it on my Xbox 360), after all. The lack of co-op makes the difference between an amazing sandbox game and merely a very good one in my book.
Oops, that's one more thing: This game is a true console port. It's not very crashy (unlike most console ports, including my beloved Saints Row 2), but its control scheme is most certainly intended for a controller. This doesn't really matter to me, as I have an Xbox controller on my desk for the explicit purpose of playing console ports like this, but if you're a True PC Gamer who spits at the sight of console ports and installed a liquid cooling loop in your stomach to overclock it, I would give Sleeping Dogs a miss.
Lastly, don't expect a Grand Theft Auto 4-esque experience from Sleeping Dogs. It tries its hardest and has a very well designed map of really quite decent size, but you won't be driving for a half an hour to get from point A to point B unless you really suck at using the (very well designed) in-game GPS system. Moreover, unlike the gorgeously voiced radio shows and extensive catalogues of songs, I found that the music was mostly bland (bar the main menu music and occasional fun songs). On the other hand, the amazing combat system and interesting missions (no ferrying around Roman!) more than make up for the relative atmospheric shortcomings.
And that's really what Sleeping Dogs is: well designed, involving, and enjoyable. Is it a work of art? Not really, but it's something better: massively fun.
Please note that I got this on a major major sale, and I'm sure it somewhat affects my review.
Different: I like the new setting. There's no point in having another GTA clone. Even the developers of Saints Row know this. If you like variety, you will most likely like this game.
Visual Detail: You need to download the high res pack which is free. imo the difference in visuals is well worth it. The PC version is definitely superior. The city and the people just look awesome. It really is like if you were in Hong Kong.
Sound and Music: The developers really worked hard on both the visuals and sounds and it really pays off. Note: I have surround sound headphones. Turning on the Cantonese option helps in the immersion.
Open World: I like open sand box worlds instead of interactive movies on rails. Freedom to do what you want is nice.
Fighting: For me the general fighting worked well. I liked being able to use the environment to kill people.
Driving: I liked the slow mo shooting sequences. This is really different and nice. The action hijack was fun as well.
Running Chases: I also really liked the running chases on foot. There are a lot of acrobatics reminiscent of kung fu action movies.
Voice Acting: Overall, the voice acting quality is really great. On a side note, if they saved money by not hiring AA actors and kept the voice acting quality the same; it probably would have let them add more to the game itself. I didn't really need Emma Stone to voice a minor character.
No Need for High Hardware Specs: I have a really crappy CPU (some old AMD chip) and a decent video card. I was still able to max everything out with pretty good frame rates.
Big Picture: This works really well with Steam's Big Picture mode for a TV screen. It feels very natural and it just looks awesome on my LCD TV with the high res pack. With this game I just don't care much about Xbox 720 or PS4 anymore.
Story: The storyline is definitely not bad, but it's not good either. The ending could have been so much better. There aren't really any surprises.
Short: Compared to either Saints Row or GTA, Sleeping Dogs is a lot shorter. (Yes, I did almost all the side missions as well finding most of the side secrets.) This could have been good if... (see the next item)
No Choice (no replayability): I feel that if there were more choices that actually changed the world like choosing your loyalty to the law or the triads as well as romances, this game would be so much better. Of course, realistically they needed to get this game out the door so I can understand. For the sequel, it would be nice if they added this.
Fighting feels repetitive: at its core, this is more of an sandbox fighting game. Guns are rarely used. It's probably because I played most of the side missions, but the fighting got really repetitive after a while. The fighting environments need just a little more variety.
Mouse and keyboard simply does not work for this game. You really really need a controller.
This is on Steam. Personally I really love it.
Get this game if you want something different and if you are a fan of open world sandbox games. It's a good start, and I hope that Square invests in a sequel.
on November 1, 2012
Sleeping Dogs is an action, third person, sandbox game. It controls like Batman: Arkham Asylum (combat), with missions like the Grand Theft Auto series. You play as a character named Wei, who's torn between serving on the police force and his loyalties to the Sun On Yee (a Chinese triad gang). The setting takes place in Hong Kong.
Why you will want to play this game:
-Combat controls just like the newer Batman games, except it is lethal in Sleeping Dogs.
-It has a fast-paced story that's easy to follow and is not over-the-top.
-The visuals (PC version) look great with the given setting in Hong Kong.
-The voice acting is exceptional, though I can't rate the times when Chinese is spoken. You'll learn a few words in Chinese, which is kind of humorous.
-Tons of different moves to learn and master. Combat is easy, but keeps it fresh with a variety of ways to dispatch foes.
-Some side missions affect the way the main mission plays out, instead of being simple time wasters.
-There's a little something for everyone - car/motorcycle races, car hijacks, gang surveillance, dating, karaoke (lol), hidden collection items. All are fun distractions and earn you triad or police respect points for upgrades, as well as money depending on how well you complete the missions.
-The game is relatively short. It can easily be beaten in 15-20 hours having completed most if not all of the side missions. Not really that big a negative, in my opinion.
-Some side missions are out of place - like the ones requiring you to play a lame karaoke mini-game. It consists of moving a cursor up and down to match the tone of the singing. Still funny to hear Wei sing "Take On Me" by A-Ha and hit the high notes.
Other than that, it's a solid game. New DLC is being released to increase the amount of missions, and add some different weapons/outfits, so that should add to the game time significantly. If you like martial arts, an easy to follow, plausible storyline, and enjoy sandbox games, this is a definite top contender for 2012.
on December 20, 2015
Don't let this Sleeping Dog lie, but if you have a newer PC that can handle the specs ( A Core I Series with at least 2 GB Video Ram) then get the Definitive Edition because it comes with all the extra game (Downloadable Content) that once you play the main game you will probably want to invest in because Sleeping Dogs is so addictive. Was deciding between this and Watch Dogs, and online people have given Sleeping Dogs the better reviews (not that they are the same game but they both share similar elements). Definitely plan on giving Watch Dogs a run too, but so far Sleeping Dogs has been a great investment, its like Grand Theft Auto and Enter the Dragon, along with some Jet Li movies, got together and had a illegitimate lovechild, like another reviewer compared it too.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition- PlayStation 4
Watch Dogs [Online Game Code]
on August 30, 2012
This game grabs you right from the 'tutorial' escape scene and keeps the action going. It immediately reminds me of Yakuza with all the shops and vendors barking their goods by day and the bustling HK nightlife looks awesome after dark. If you've played Batman:AA then you will easily get the feel for melee combat and once you've got enough moves it flows so smooth it looks like animation to the point you'll be running around just looking for fights. Gunplay is added and the cover system works well enough but doesnt turn the game into an FPS.
There are tons of sidequests called 'favors' that allow you to up your street cred, allowing you to get more swankier gear and there are underworld missions like car robbing and armored car heists to raise money. As you gain exp you can unlock certain skills under the cop/gangster trees and by finding statues throughout the story you will find the statues needed for unlocking the MA moves. While this game doesnt have all the activities of a Yakuza game it does have one thing that would have made Yakuza better: Cars. The driving system isnt Need for Speed mechanics, but it's more than adequate for a sandbox game.
Tons of features like the instant slo-mo when you blow out a rival gang's tire at high speed, or jumping from your car to another to take it over, or the bullet time when exiting a speeding car with gun drawn makes this game alot of fun. I cant believe S/E made this game.
edit: Ok after 4 replays I have to say this is something that you dont see very often anymore: A polished, complete game in which all of the side-events are fun and work into the main game itself.
The voicework keeps you attached to the main characters but the fun factor of the races, fight clubs,armored car heists and favor events makes it a tug of war on what you want to complete first, and the graphics makes everything look so vivid unlike a GTA game where the people and scenery just seem like cover for the story. This game really feels alive despite the sheer size of the map.
I dont know what dark magics Square Enix used to make this game since they've been making crap for the past 10 yrs but I really hope this trend continues for them. Awesome game.