Sleeping Dogs

The nearest you'll ever come to taking part in a John Woo movie...

This GTA clone started life as a reboot of the lacklustre True Crime… franchise, only to be dumped by publisher Activision due to spiralling budgets and countless delays. So it was fairly surprising when Square Enix stepped in to save the project. But not half as surprising as the game itself.

Sleeping Dogs puts players in control of Wei Shen, an undercover cop trying to infiltrate the upper echelons of Hong Kong's Sun On Yee Triad organisation. The blurring of moral boundaries that follows is expertly addressed by a novel levelling system that awards upgrades based on both your civic and criminal activities. For example, drive safely and the former goes up, run over pedestrians and it goes down. And while GTA-wannabes often come a cropper with hand-to-hand combat, Sleeping Dogs' system manages to be both user-friendly and pleasingly in-depth. Gun-play is also excellent.

The game scores fantastically well as an AV experience. While the graphics do an excellent job of bringing the grimy streets of Hong Kong to life, it's the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio that really wows – keeping the open-world streets buzzing with ambient noise and delivering plenty of high-impact effects.

Square Enix, Xbox 360/PS3/PC, £50 Approx, On sale now