6th: Sleeping Dogs
Now, getting far from the Western World, we’re moving to the heart of China, in a fictional depiction of Hong Kong, where you play as Wei Shen, a chinese-american undercover cop, whose job is to bring down the Sun On Yee triad organization. But as always, everything’s easier said than done, especially when you get involved emotionally in the mission.
Unlike the series of GTA or Saints Row, this game specializes more in hand-to-hand combat, offering a high variation of punches and kicks meant to make the enemy fall off his feet.
Fire weapons are not forgotten but you will get them only towards the end of the game. Also, unlike those 2 series, it is recommended to behave like somewhat of a good guy, purchasing cars instead of stealing them and hiding them in the garages.
One thing that may be hard to get used to is driving on the left side like British and Australian people do, but I’m pretty sure that it won’t make too much of a difference when you’re involved in a car chase with drive-bys.
Sleeping Dogs also contains not one, but 3 RPG-leveling systems, based on how well you do as a criminal, cop (both mission-sided) and the plain reputation (Face, received through secondary missions).
Each of the level systems offers different perks (like stealing a parked car without raising the alarm or faster reload). The jade statues you’ll find through the game (most of them can be collected within missions) will grant you new fighting moves as well as a tutorial on how to use them.
Game playtime extenders
The power-up potions are portrayed in this game as food and drinks, which grant you health regeneration or more damage in your hits for a limited time. You can have 3 power-ups at the same time.
Races, cockfights and fighting arenas are present in the game to prolong the game’s playtime by a decent extent. Races are classified by the car’s class (A through E, where E is the weakest). Also the finding of hidden blue boxes and the catch of drug dealers extend your time spent in the game as well.
The game contains 28 DLC’s, 2 of them being free, that add more content as new missions, cars and clothes.
Pros and Cons
– Plenty of cars and motorcycles to travel with
– Wide range of karate moves that can create spectacular fights
– Various side-missions and random events throughout the city
– Sometimes when you’re too far from the enemies, the character will behave like sliding on ice until he punches them.
– The camera is really hard to control.
Release Date: Aug. 2012
Developer: United Front Games, Square Enix London
Publisher: Square Enix, Bandai Namco Games
Price: (Only Definitive Edition can be purchased now which includes all DLC’s + some fixes) 29,99$/€
Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/202170/
Similar Games: Grand Theft Auto Series, Saints Row II, Red Faction: Guerilla
5th: Need For Speed: Underground 2
Might be weird to add this game in the top, but I believe that it is one of the best open-world race games. The 8th installment of the series published by the famous Electronic Arts, brings the term of open-world for the first time in the Need For Speed games.
Set in the fictional city Bayview, you’re a new unknown driver in the city that aims of becoming the best. At the beginning you’re given a medium-tuned Nissan 350Z which you have to bring back to its owner, but not before doing some optional mischiefs (you can always just take the car back) to earn some money at the beginning. After the car is brought back, you have to choose one of the few stock cars available to start your career with.
Need For Speed: Underground 2 has the biggest customization capability of any other game from the series, allowing you to separately install front/side/rear bumpers, instead of whole bodykits, fine-tuning your car’s acceleration, gearbox, handling, ECU and turbo to better suit your tastes.
Types of races
The game has 7 types of races, from the classical circuits and sprints to the tournament races, called locally ‘U.R.L’s” (Underground Racing League), though only six of them can be accessed at any time. For the 7th type you have to own a SUV vehicle since they have their own races.
Also, not all of the available races will show on the map, some hidden ones, which give greater rewards, are given out by your friends through the phone, so it’s better to pay attention to them, if you want to get rich faster.
Outside of the illegal street races, you can challenge the NPC’s to the so-called Outruns, in which you have to distance yourself to 1000 ft. (300m) from the rival to win a small amount of money.
Also, after a certain amount of won Outruns you are given unique awards like a unique spoiler or rims and even a bodykit.The city is split into 5 areas, 4 of them being unlockable after you finish the specific stage races.
Considering the fine tuning and the amount of customization available in this game, it is still an arcade game, with lots of rubberbanded NPC (meaning that they will either be too good or too easy or take unholy turns at full speed).
Pros and Cons
– One of the best arcade racing games
– Extremely fine-tuning allowed to cover each taste
– Tons of cars, unlockable after every URL Race.
– Varied game modes
– 3 difficulty settings
– Rubberbanded AI
– Can become a little repetitive
Release Date: Nov. 2004
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Steam Store Page: N/A
Gameplay: This gameplay contains only a multiplayer race taken some time ago since the game isn’t available on online stores (that I know of) anymore.
Similar Games: Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Need For Speed: Pro Street, Street Racing Syndicate.
4th: Red Faction: Guerilla
Well, we left the real world with the last game, now let’s leave the Earth entirely. Red Faction: Guerilla takes place on Mars, where the humans colonized the planet but the EDF (aka Earth Defensive Forces) lately suffered from holding the power and they came with the solution that they want more of it so they oppressed the workers, making them slaves.
You play as Alec Mason, a mining engineer that came to Mars to reunite with his brother, Dan. After being asked by the brother to join the Red Faction, he loses Dan after being gunned down by an EDF air support team, thus becoming Red Faction’s freedom fighter.
Red Faction: Guerilla’s greatest thing is the Geomod 2.0 engine which allows for structures like buildings and covers to be destroyed through any means you can come up with (like explosives or sledgehammer).
Weapons range from the classical pistol and assault rifle to some lasers, remote detonating mines and railguns. You can carry up to 4 weapons simultaneously, one of them always being the sledgehammer.
The presence of side-quests extends the game’s playtime by a few good hours, from racing with a vehicle from Point A to B to deliver items or destroy a certain building using only a certain type of weapons. In the open-world you can boost the Red Faction’s morale by taking down EDF Strategy Bases or other buildings related to them.
Sometimes random events like defending one of the safe zones from being conquered by the bad guys will appear though no reward besides the prevention of morale loss will be given.
Due to the death of Games for Windows Live DRM, the game has been patched to run without it + some multiplayer fixes, reviving it.
Pros and Cons
– Medium-range of both civilian and military vehicles to drive.
– Plenty of weapons to choose from with the ability to upgrade them.
– Ability to tear down entire buildings with the help of the sledgehammer or explosives.
– Can become boring.
Release Date: Sep. 2009
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Developer: Volition Inc., Reactor Zero
Steam Store Page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/20500/
Similar Games: Saints Row II, Defiance, Grand Theft Auto Series.