In total, I have owned 7 copies of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 since it released in 1992 across the Mega Drive, Dreamcast, PC, PS3, Mobile and as part of numerous “SEGA Genesis Collections”. It is a game I would gladly play again today for one reason and one reason alone – excellent game play. The 90’s graphics have aged well (compared to other games from the era) but even if there were no graphical improvements, I would still buy an 8th copy of the game for the PS4.
Sleeping Dogs Remastered on the other hand? No. Definitely not. Not even with updated graphics. 100 times no.
You can argue for or against the glut of “Remasters” that are arriving on the PS4 and, for the most part, there are solid, defend-able arguments as to why they are acceptable. The Last of Us was a PS3 exclusive and a large percentage of PS4 owners will not have had the chance to play it (as they had an Xbox 360 or Wii during the last-gen). Metro Redux is bringing the original Metro game to Playstation platforms (an Xbox 360 console exclusive) with new features and upgraded graphics. Resident Evil is a classic game but the original visuals are now dated and a HD spit shine is warmly received. GTA V is the biggest selling game in history and has still not reached its peak, hovering around the top 10 all format game charts almost a year after release – there is still a demand. But Sleeping Dogs? There is no real defence for this Remaster and it feels more like a cash grab by Square Enix and one that is doomed to fail.
Don’t get me wrong – Sleeping Dogs is a fantastic game. It has excellent game play, a mix between GTA and a John Woo movie, great visuals and a solid involving story line – but it is not worth playing twice, even with improved graphics and the DLC thrown in as a sweetener. Sleeping Dogs was a multiplatform title, hitting the 360, PS3 and PC almost 2 years ago and in the time between then and now, became available as part of the Playstation Plus and Games for Gold services for free. It has been on sale numerous times on the Playstation Store. You can pick up a copy of the game for as little as £6 at CEX. There are 7 copies of it sitting on the shelves in my local GAME. Sleeping Dogs hit its sales cap months ago. Why do Square Enix think this is a good idea?
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. The anomaly amongst all of the Remasters. Rumour has it (something which was somewhat confirmed to me by a senior manager at a game specialist retailer) that the sales of the Definitive edition of Lara’s origin story sold as many copies on the Xbox One and PS4 as it did on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The major difference is that there was a demand for a new-gen game at that time, even in the shape of a Remaster, during a lull in new-gen releases – something which Tomb Raider dutifully fulfilled. It was only a year old and there were plenty of gamers who had yet to try Laras reboot.
Sleeping Dogs Remastered will be releasing during the busiest release period of the year. Forza Horizon 2, Super Smash Bros, Shadow of Mordor, Alien: Isolation, Skylanders: Swap Force, Project Spark, Driveclub, NBA 2K15, The Evil Within, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, WWE 2K15, Sunset Overdrive & Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel are all launching in the same month – November. Will there be the demand for a remaster of a game which had already peaked in sales on the last-gen, among all of these new releases? Almost definitely not. It will be marched out to get slaughtered, falling straight into the bargain basket.
The only reasonable explanation for Sleeping Dogs Remastered is that there is a sequel on the horizon and they are attempting to bring the series back into the public domain with a re-release. Any other motive will leave a sour taste in Square’s mouth. There is almost no chance that Sleeping Dogs will replicate the success of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and if that is Squares aim, they should have spent that money more wisely on a game that still has a demand and would stand a chance against the tough opposition – Maybe the 7th Final Fantasy game. I get the feeling there is still a demand for that…