on June 2, 2014
I finished the game 2 days ago and spent some time with side missions & multiplayer, so now it's time to write what I think about this game.
Game Play: It's a fun game ! you get around 14-16 hours of gameplay by just playing the campaign. I really enjoyed the campaign. There are total of 5 acts, 6-15 missions in each act. Smooth movement and hacking gives this game a nice & refreshing feeling.9/10
Driving: Not the strongest point of the game! 70% of the game is mainly focused on the hacking & stealth. Driving takes time to get use to, but after you learn how to drift cars, you can't stop driving. However, the damage to the cars are terrible. You go full speed to an incoming car, and just bounce back with little to no damage. Each car handles differently, and even sounds different, I like that! Biggest down side, there is no way to store cars or repair them, not even a simple color change :-( Big mistake 6/10
Voice acting/music/sounds/ characters: Perfect 10/10 voice acting of aiden pearce reminds me of Sam Fisher and Max Payne + jack bauer
Side missions: After I was done with the game, I kinda lost interest. Simply because there is nothing for you to explore. Every side mission and hidden things are shown on the map. You just choose one and the GPS will get you there. There are tons of side missions to do, but they get really boring and repetitive after a while. For example, Criminal Convoy missions are just simply following a car and taking it out, or Gang hideout is just taking bunch of gangs and taking down the main objective.... they all get really boring after the 10th time. Other hidden things that you can do involve hacking cameras and spying on people. 8/10
Multiplayer: It's fun and broken! So far I hacked 10-12 people/ got hacked 6-7 times and was able to find 1 Race and 3 decryption matches. Finding a game takes a long time, and when you find 1 it's really lagy. 1 Vs 1 hacking is fun & nicely done, but Race & decryption are really lagy and messy. Modes: 1VS1 Hacking, 1VS1 Trailing, decryption( deathmach/Team deathmach ), Race. Again, they are fun, but I spent more time trying to find a game than actually playing one. Players are not from U.S. You go against players from China and U.K. so expect huge lag. 7/10
Stop comparing this game to GTA. it's not even close to GTA. I would say, Assassin's Creed + True Crime Or Splinter Cell + Sleeping dogs. Not GTA
Buy this game, you will enjoy it. Stop comparing it to other games. Campaign worth 60$ itself + other things you can do. Don't buy the season pass !
I'm taking one star off just because there is absolutely nothing to do in the game after you are done with the side missions. Only thing you can do is to take care of criminals. That's it... no more shooting. If you shoot one bullet, people call cops. It's not acceptable. I finished the main missions in 12 hours. Side missions gave me another 7-8 hours, now there is nothing I can do.
Update: June 23
Online Hacking: it's getting annoying so I have to mention this here. Some people disconnect their internet when you are about 90% hacking them, so you get zero points. Also, some people get bounty on themselves by hacking NPCs and wait for you in car to show up. They know you are coming; so they just shoot you before even starting the hack.
(Personal Opinion): Don't buy this game over PS-network because it gets really repetitive. I really want to trade this game, but I got it on Ps-store.
on June 3, 2014
I really wanted to like this game. I, like many others, was really excited when I saw the screenshots and gameplay trailers. This was the the first game for PS4 that I really wanted, and I pre-ordered it almost the moment it became available. The first hour was pretty neat getting to know this new world of hacking in an open world setting. Ultimately though, the game really disappoints. Watch Dogs tries to be innovative with the everything-is-hackable environment and giving its NPCs individual personalities. Unfortunately the story is lackluster at best, the supporting cast of characters is forgettable, and after the shine of the hacking gameplay wears off (very quickly), it feels like GTA without the inspiration or, frankly, fun.
First, the positives. The visual presentation is amazing. This is a next-gen game that really takes advantage of the hardware the PS4 packs. Chicago looks amazing, and feels like a busy-bustling city. It also feels huge. There is plenty in the city to see and explore, and the game's built-in Foursquare-esque mechanic gives the player a reason to find interesting spots in the city. The small details are very well presented as well, from sounds a people talking on the phone around the city, the thread patterns on Aiden's clothing, different sounds from the cars you "borrow," the sound of the trains; it gives Chicago life.
There are aspects of the hacking mechanic that are also very cool. Hacking an item is as easy as holding down a button and watching your work take effect, and some of the puzzles created to access certain items can be pretty interesting. By far the most gratifying effect is causing a blackout: watching all the generators explode, the lights going out, and sneaking away like a crafty ninja. Some of the available cars are also pretty cool. I also found breaking into boats and cruising on the water a cool experience as well (especially when escaping the police or enemies).
The biggest weakness of the game is the story. I'm a big fan of immersion plots, getting thrown into the story and learning about your character as time goes on. Tomb Raider and Red Dead Redemption did this really well. But in Watch Dogs, you are thrown into the story and never given much reason to care moving forward. The most basic plot line is that in a previous mission (played as the prologue to the game), a mistake made leads to the death of one of his loved ones. The rest of the game is essentially getting to the bottom of who was responsible. Yes, the story takes some twists and turns, but ultimately they're formulaic and uninteresting. Without any type of meaningful surprises or character development, the story really falls flat.
Aiden's character is also a difficult character to attach to. The game has a morality system (like so many others), but the story thoroughly casts Aiden as an antihero, making the morality system feel meaningless. The Infamous series did a good job of making the morality system feel like it had an impact in the game. The story changed, the way the city interacted with your character affected the gameplay, and ultimately the morality choices unlocked and locked parts of the game in interesting ways. In Watch Dogs, it feels like a tacked on system that was thrown in as an afterthought. Yes, citizens will become more afraid of you if you are more evil and will be more sympathetic to you if you act justly, but the game really forces you to play Aiden's character as evil (which is saying something since I tend to play my characters through the "good" tracks). It's far too easy to kill someone than spare them, and ultimately I don't really have a reason to care how I act. Again, compared to Infamous, my choices felt more impactful. Killing a civilian meant the breaking of a multiplier streak or gaining a super ability in Infamous: Second Son. In Watch Dogs, it just feels like an unimportant part of the game.
Another weak aspect of the game is also the side missions. Now, there is a lot of content to do on the side. There are mini-games that can be played, exploration tasks, and online missions (more on this later). The problem is that they're not original (Texas Hold'Em, the shell/hat game, running collecting coins while avoiding obstacles), they don't really unlock anything useful, and they're not very fun. But these side missions are literally everywhere and they take up a large portion of your map. Sure you can turn those icons off, but it really shows how empty the game.
The most frustrating thing to me (and probably the most debatable/controversial) is the online missions. The concept is a neat idea: as you roam through the city, you are also playing with other people in the game and you can initiate certain side games/missions against other players. This can be tailing other players, hacking their characters, and other types of intrusion missions. In theory, that sounds fun and a pretty unique style of gameplay, and for most things, it generally works (when the servers have actually been working to support this, though I expect that will get smoothed out over time). But the problem is that for some of these missions, you have no choice to back out. If a character starts hacking you, you have to drop everything and find them, and the game gives you no option to ignore it. You can't continue with the mission you're currently on, and you can't start new missions. All of your focus goes to finding the character hacking you. An example: I was working to hack one of the ctOS towers to open up more of Chicago, and while these ctOS towers aren't necessarily difficult puzzles to find, they do take a bit of work. Right as I arrived at the tower to hack it, I was informed that my player was being hacked. I didn't have the option to hack the tower then deal with this player. I have to climb back down the building, find the player, deal with them, and then re-climb the building from the beginning. In a game where things are already not feeling very fun, this was an extreme annoyance. Now, depending on your style and preference of gameplay, this may be an enjoyable feature, and that's fine. This is not something I was thrilled with. I'm a player that like to keep single player and multiplayer in controllable realms (i.e. I like to choose when I'm interacting with others and when I'm playing alone). So if you're a player like me, this aspect of the game will probably be very annoying. If not, then this may not be as big an issue to you. But to me, this was a big turn off.
[UPDATE: Some commenters have correctly pointed out that it is possible to turn off the multiplayer aspect of the game. However, by turning off the "online interactions" (the online tailing and hacking), you will also erase any progress and skills you gained using the online interaction missions. When you try to turn off the online interactions, it gives you a big warning message giving you that information. So if you disable it before beginning any part of the story, you're fine to turn this off. If you've done any part of it enough to unlock skills or progress, that will be erased if you turn it off. Again, to me, this is the most debatable part of the review. If this part of the game is something that is really enticing to you, then you can safely ignore this section. If you don't think you'll like this aspect of the game, know that you can turn it off but that you're also locking out part of the gameplay and progression. To me, it again emphasizes a poor design concept that's present throughout the game. But I want to make sure I'm being fair and giving accurate information. If this is the only part of the game that's preventing you from buying it, know that you can disable it from the outset. I still think at its heart, Watch Dogs is a two-star game, so it doesn't effect my overall rating or thoughts on the game, but hopefully this will help you make a more informed decision.]
Overall, I'm really just disappointed with the game. There are definitely some cools features and this planted a seed for potentially better games in the future. Unfortunately, this game is just not that fun. It was almost going to be impossible for this game to live up to the hype that was created around it, which I'm taking into account. After sitting with it for awhile and trying to assess, it is ultimately a dull game that tries to do what other open-world games have already done much better. Hopefully Ubisoft can take the foundation they've laid here and build it up into a more interesting, tighter game next time around.
on May 27, 2014
Watch Dogs is a game that many people are going to pick up, be that because of the hype, somewhat newish game concept, or the amazing graphics.
First thing is first, Many people have very strong opinions on video games, not just this one. Reviews, comments, and statements about this game so far have been negative and harsh, but don’t let that stop you from picking this game up! There are some aspects of this game that may let you down, but it is still a game I consider worth buying. A lot of people reviewing or commenting on this game are focusing on the bad aspects but there are tons of great things about this game!
By far the most complained about portion of this game. Physics are unreal, and driving is less enjoyable than expected. Nothing like our favorite open world game from Rockstar. There are a lot of cars in this game, (65 they say) but you might not want to be spending a ton of time in them. 7/10
Great and rather realistic, a new bar has been set for conversations and actions of NPCs.
You can listen in on conversations and arguments that these characters have and it is rather believable. 9.5/10 (some physics make this not perfect)
Looks very good, when it gets dark the city looks awesome. Walking looks smooth, running is a little weird, but nothing to get worked up over. Animations are fluid and for the most part natural. 8/10
Great game, lots of playability, side missions and extras all over. Graphics are good, but not the best we have seen from the ps4 so far. Biggest issue is driving. 9/10
In the end if you like the idea of playing a game where hacking is a big part of it, along with roaming a large city, and picking up plenty of side tasks get this game. There are a ton of negative reviews, but those will come with any game no matter how good.
Pick this one up, you’ll be glad you did.
Watch Dogs is what you get when you combine GTA open-world style violence and gameplay with The Matrix, and is probably the only game where your character spends more time standing on a corner staring at a smartphone screen than driving or shooting.
The story is well put together and introduced in near psychedelic style dreams and flashbacks, and follows a master hacker trying to track down his families murderers after a massive hacking score.
Gameplay is tight, and is a combination of Assassins creed parkour, splinter cell style distraction mechanics and close combat, and GTA third person shooting. Driving is the only part thats not well handled, as breathing on my PS4 controller causes even my beat up van to go to maximum acceleration, and the roads are apparently always wet as even a gentle turn can cause you to slide out.
Side missions make this worthwhile, and you can spend an hour oing nothing but wandering around playing with the profiler app and collecting bank account data. Some of the click points are frustrating, as you might hack the wrong person or alert the wrong target, but theres such a wealth of side and back story that its contantly an adventure. Hacking will be your bread and butter obviously, but its just so much simple fun that even the nerdy ARG games they loaded in are worth dumping a few hours on.
Audio is top notch, though the propensity to make your hero constantly sound like he's gargling marbles is getting out of hand. The graphics are simply sublime. While they couldn't do the whole loop to exacting scale, I could easily recognize certain streets and buildings and the feeling of scale and distance were nearly perfect. The only fault I've found is some of the smash cuts during the hacking between cameras can be almost nauseating on a large high end screen, and you can easily get turned around.
Theres only a handful of nits. The cops are nigh unstoppable Terminator like automata, and I died about 4 times on the opening mission doing nothing but trying to escape a police search zone and running headlong into a roadblock that you always cant see until its too late. Driving is too hocky pucky most of the time, and the amount of time you have to intervene in certain crime side missions is way too short.
Overall, this is great. Tight storyline, entertaining gameplay, gorgeous audio and graphics, and engaging characters. Literally the only reasons its not 5 stars is the difficulty of evading police in even low level pursuits, the handling of vehicles, and the graphical overlay during some of the hacknig mechanics. A definite buy and a 4.5 stars edging so close to 5.
Update: After some more play I ahd to bump this up to 5 stars. There's some more mechanics of combat that I hadnt really uncovered, and they add not only a layer of realism but also keep the game from being near impossible. It takes a moment for a enemy to spot you, and doing so doesnt mean they instantly alert every other guard. You're still limited to mostly luring and dropping enemies one at a time, but just because you're a master hacker doesnt mean you're Batman.
on June 1, 2014
this might be the best game in terms of being able to take enemies out in any way you please. the best part is getting creative with it and seeing what you can really do. only complaint about games like these (gta v & ac4 also) is there's so much other stuff to do that i get side tracked from the main missions and its then really difficult to truly follow the story to the game. i don't know if anyone else thinks that too. collecting stuff and all the side missions are fun don't get me wrong but i also like games with a really solid campaign story that make you feel like the character (tomb raider uncharted last of us). all-in-all i am seriously enjoying this game its a different way to play, at first its tough to handle but get familiar and you'll get everything down. oh and for everyone complaining about driving- its like real life you have to press the e-brake button first then turn right after you can hear him pulling the brake. people don't drift by pulling the e-brake mid turn they pull it, then turn, those rules apply in the game too. drifting in the game is quite simple making driving easier if you do that.
on June 3, 2014
Well, it's common knowledge that the PS4 is lacking a bit in the game department. There aren't too many great games to choose from. Watch Dogs is a nice addition though.
Watch Dogs is a pretty good game. It's not amazing but it's good. I plan on playing it all the way through. I put some time into it last weekend. It's a Grand Theft Auto kind of game but still different so don't expect the same thing. This is less focused on violence but violence is still there. If you're looking for a PS4 GTA then this should hold you over until it gets made. I've also seen some nudity and sex scenes so it's definitely earned the mature rating. Very entertaining though! I definitely laughed a few times while playing.
Hacking is cool. You can control street lights and cause accidents for example. You can profile every person in the game and hack into a lot of their phones and computers. Sometimes you steel from their bank accounts and other times you get to hear their phone conversations. Some side missions are also unlocked this way. It's often entertaining when you spy on someone in their home. I haven't seen anything repeated while hacking so that's been refreshing. The hacking focused side quests are puzzle like. They require you to explore and figure out how to get from A to Z. Sometimes hacking requires you to complete a puzzle mini game to gain access to whatever you're hacking into. It's not annoying in any way and it's not done too often.
Game play is focused on hacking and stealth plays a big part in it all. However, you can often go in guns blazing if stealth isn't your thing. You use security cameras A LOT. This allows you to scout areas and unlock things you can't reach on foot. Hacking is easy to figure out. The shooting mechanics work well in my opinion. It was easy to learn. The AI is easy to fool as well (allows you to sneak up behind them). You also have the ability to slow time which makes killing and driving easier and often more fun. Slowing time is one of many perks you can choose to unlock as you level up. The perk system adds to the overall quality of this game.
Driving is arcade style, which I also enjoy because it's easier to learn. Each car drives noticeably different too. Good cars are not hard to come by so that adds to the enjoyment. You also have the ability to make any car you've used in the past appear near you using a friend in your phone. You'll have to pay to unlock most of the cars but that's been a nice option in the game. You can plow through most obstacles and this also adds to the entertainment.
The main story is ok, nothing special in my opinion. Definitely not bad though. There are a ton of side quests to complete and things to find outside of the main story missions. The digital trips put a cool spin on the game. The spider tank digital trip is a ton of fun if you like mass destruction and causing chaos. The other three have been entertaining as well. These have their own perk system too.
The city feels alive and it reacts to your choices. There is a karma system that punishes you for doing bad things (like running over pedestrians or killing cops). So far I've noticed that when my karma is bad, citizens recognize me from the news and call the police. I think good karma has rewards too but I haven't been nice enough to receive any lol. I have neutral karma at the moment and it is relatively easy to remain neutral. I went out of my way to be bad and then I noticed the consequences. Citizens will also call the police if you start shooting or running around with a gun. You can stop the phone calls by shooting that person or grabbing their phone. Bad guys can also call in reinforcements. Sometimes when you steal a car the victim calls the police too. The realism of the game has been enjoyable.
I've heard the PS3 version is crap compared to the PS4 version so keep that in mind. Load times are long at first but once the game is started, it's not bad. I haven't noticed objects randomly popping up into view or similar issues. The frame rate has been steady so far. I've only had one glitch while playing (a character during a cut scene was invisible). Graphics are cool but not consistent. Sometimes the game looks great and sometimes I think it's lacking. Overall though, I can't complain. Still, I often wonder how much is lost when a game is playable on multiple console generations...
One downside is moving on foot. It's not as streamlined as I would like. Assassin's Creed is a good example of streamlined movement. It's a hassle climbing up and down things in this game. You can't fall very far without dying either. It's realistic but takes away from the overall experience. That's really my only big complaint.
Online stuff has been a lot of fun too. It is incorporated into the actual game in multiple ways. One example occurs when you hack certain civilians. These people are waiting to be hacked and report you to the authorities. This puts a bounty on you and other players randomly come into your game and attempt to hack you. You know the area they are in but you have to search for that person before the time runs out. Otherwise the hacker gets paid and you lose online stats. Online stats also allow you to unlock items.
All in all, I'm happy I purchased the game. If you have a question, I'll respond!
on June 7, 2014
I completed it, and did most of most of the rest of it. Except the online, which I tried and definitely didn't like, and it is completely optional.
The plot is decent - SyFy level (which is ok for a game). The main character is kind of a turd though, and the women are all one-dimensional. Hopefully, we can get a main toon to be a woman in the next Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed, or Far Cry.
I cannot stress HOW TERRIBLE THE DRIVING IS. And the cop chases are ridiculous.
This is NOT A GAME WITH MUCH REPLAY VALUE. Unlike say Infamous, this one would be torture to replay from the beginning.
It was very fun in parts, VERY frustrating in other parts, and bland in some as well.
on December 1, 2014
When it comes to open world sandbox games my usual fare consists of the games that come with a superpowered/sci-fi/fantasy aspect to it, namely Infamous, Prototype, Spider-Man, Batman, and more recently, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. I've never really been into the more crime-focused games that have you playing as Mafia hoods or ghetto gangsters like in Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row; I briefly played Grand Theft Auto III back in the day, but grew frustrated with the crappy controls and gave-up on it. Red Dead Redemption fared much better with me, largely due to the western setting which had a greater appeal. Then came Watch Dogs, which immediately had my attention due to the interesting combination of hacking, surveillance, and vigilante justice which reminded me of a video game version of one of my favorite programs, Person of Interest. A lot of people were disappointed with Watch Dogs since it wasn't as revolutionary as apparently promised and because the graphics weren't as outstandingly gorgeous as they were in the first trailer. In my opinion, the graphics were just fine and the game itself was still a lot of fun...a tad repetitive at times, but still a very enjoyable experience.
The main character, an outlaw hacker named Aiden Pearce, is on a quest for vengeance to hunt down the criminals who tried to kill him but ended up killing his 6 year old niece instead. While doing what he can to make sure his younger sister and nephew remain safe, Aiden dives into the criminal underworld to find his niece's killers, normally running into and causing a lot of additional problems along the way. The story wasn't as deep or emotional as something out of Metal Gear Solid, but there was plenty to occupy my attention (and I was pleasantly surprised to see Aiden's family have a more important role in the story instead of just appearing for a couple of missions before being written out). Aiden himself was a more interesting character than other reviewers gave him credit for; yes, he's a bit of a stiff, but given his past experiences, that's understandable. Aiden is a realistically flawed character: he's intelligent and very calm under pressure, yet stubborn. He's also cold and calculating, yet believes in justice and does what he can to help the innocent. Again, he's no Solid Snake, but Aiden Pearce is a character I'd like to see more of in a future installment (which is apparently being planned). The supporting characters were also pretty interesting, though I personally wanted to see a lot more of Jordi Chin, Aiden's hired gun (a.k.a.: fixer) who offers much needed assistance for the right price. Jordi's laid back attitude and dark sense of humor mixed well with Aiden's more serious disposition, but unfortunately Jordi got much less screen time than any of the other supporting characters.
As Aiden explores the expansive city of Chicago, he'll exploit the advanced surveillance system known as ctOS to accomplish his goals. In both the main and side-missions, Aiden will be able to infiltrate enemy territory to steal information or get to a specific individual who may have something he needs. Many times you will have the option to infiltrate enemy strongholds through stealth, go in guns blazing, or a satisfying combination of both, although certain missions will require a stealth approach. This was fine by me since the stealth approach in this game was usually the more entertaining option. Aiden can cause all sorts of havoc for his enemies without even having to physically go into their strongholds. By using his super smartphone known as the Profiler, Aiden can take control of any nearby cameras to get a lay of the land and mark his enemies, as well as activate other electronics and machinery to distract or take out enemy sentries. He can overload electrical grids and make them explode into his enemies' faces, he can activate grenades while they're still in the pockets of the enemies carrying them, he can activate fork lifts to get an enemy's attention, and he can even cause cranes to drop containers on top of any unfortunate shmucks who may have wandered underneath them (splat!).
When the shooting starts, Aiden will have to turn to his collection of handguns, assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, grenades, and bombs that he will acquire along his journey either by looting them from defeated enemies, or buying them from gun stores or buying parts for crafting from pawn shops. A bullet-time mechanic that runs on a focus meter slows the gameplay down for a moment to allow Aiden to shoot enemies with pinpoint precision. And for up close and personal encounters, Aiden can use his telescopic baton to lay the smackdown on enemies either directly or through stealth. Weapons and other ctOS exploits like jamming communications, causing blackouts, and scanning for nearby enemies to appear on the mini-map can be accessed through a weapon-wheel which is very much like the one in Red Dead Redemption. You have to go through the inventory in real time, which can make things rather intense while you're in the middle of a gunfight. All these weapons, hacks, and other abilities can be upgraded with experience points earned by defeating enemies and completing missions. Puzzles play a relatively small role in this game and pretty much always involve Aiden hacking into secure systems by manipulating access points; basically you're moving several spinning nodes around into just the right positions so that a data stream can reach its intended point. It's actually less complicated than it sounds, but in any case these hacking puzzles were well done and had just the right combination of accessibility and challenge.
Fortunately, the more standard hacking of cameras and other environmental features is done with the simple push of a button. When driving around the city, Aiden can manipulate street lights, pop-up road barriers, raise or lower bridges, and even burst steam pipes underneath the streets to cause geyser-like eruptions that are all capable of disabling pursuing vehicles. This is especially useful on cops who will not stop chasing Aiden until he slows them down enough so he can get out of sight and hide somewhere until the search is called off. There were times though where the cops would just keep coming and not let up the chase, which proved annoying. These chases were also further complicated due to the driving controls. This is one aspect of the game that other reviewers were not exaggerating about. The driving controls were definitely rather iffy. Some cars controlled fine, but many other vehicles operated like slick poop, especially with regards to turning. Some vehicles turned sharply with just a slight twitch of the left analog stick, while others refused to turn even if you pushed the left stick all the way to the left or right. It took me a while to get used to the general movement controls for Aiden, but eventually controlling him became second nature. The driving on the other hand normally proved to be quirky at best and problematic at worst. One other minor annoyance with the driving involves pedestrians. Almost every time I drove near a pedestrian, even if I was going barely 1 mile per hour into a parking space, any pedestrians who happened to be walking nearby would jump away and freak out as if I had been drag racing against Vin Diesel in a Fast and Furious movie. Oh, and you can't shoot while driving, which kind of sucks because enemies can shoot you while they're driving.
When you want to take a break from the main campaign, there are plenty of collectibles to find and side-missions to take part in. The most common side-missions are the crimes in progress, where Aiden will get a notification on his Profiler of someone preparing to commit a crime, and when Aiden arrives at the designated location, he must find a vantage point and watch the perpetrator or victim (if applicable) and put a stop to whatever crime is about to be committed. These normally involve muggings, assassinations, stalking incidents, and the setting of bombs. There are also some occasional random crimes that pop up without warning that can be dealt with, and like the crimes in progress, these can lead to entertaining foot chases. Sidenote: one strange issue I noticed with the foot chases was that a couple of times the perpetrators would somehow climb and jump over 20 foot walls to get away from me; a strange glitch which should be dealt with in any future sequels. Other side-missions involve attacking criminal convoys and either incapacitating or killing specific targets, which can prove challenging if the targets are surrounded by a large number of armed bodyguards, and there are also gang hideouts to infiltrate so Aiden can show them who's in charge by knocking out their leaders.
Fixer contracts, which provide some extra cash, will have Aiden get into a vehicle to act as a decoy to get the cops' attention, chase down other hackers to steal information from them, and drive stolen vehicles to designated drop points before time runs out while trying to avoid taking too much damage. As previously mentioned, there are a large number of collectibles to find all over the city. First, in order to bring up the locations of all these collectibles, Aiden must infiltrate certain ctOS control centers to gain access to a district's infrastructure and be able to profile citizens (and enemies), then he must hack into nearby ctOS control towers to make the district's collectibles show up on the map; the locations of different hideouts where Aiden can sleep, change outfits, and save his progress also pop up after hacking into the ctOS towers. Most of the collectibles are audio logs that provide extra background info on certain characters and additional story elements. Many of these audio logs accompany clues that have to be collected in order to solve certain investigations like locating hidden weapons caches, stopping a human trafficking ring, or hunting down a serial killer. The privacy invasions are "special" collectibles where Aiden can hack into a building's network and watch peoples' private lives unfold through their webcams. These didn't seem to have any point to them other than entertainment value: you could watch a single mother slowly give in to rage as her kids run around screaming like maniacs, watch a guy talk to his girlfriend (a female mannequin) about the possibility of marriage, or watch another guy pressure a hooker to play a deadly game of Russian roulette.
There are even mini-games to take part in for those who are interested like shell games, poker, chess, or 3D virtual reality games where you shoot aliens or run through the city collecting coins. The Digital Trips are the most entertaining mini-games, where Aiden will put in an earpiece that sends images to his brain and lets him experience special games as if he were a part of them. These include him playing games where he jumps on giant flowers that pop up all over the city, runs over flame-headed demons in a post-apocalyptic supercar, and sneaks past an army of robots with security cameras for heads. My favorite Digital Trip by far was Spider-Tank, where you take control of a large robotic spider and destroy everything around you while jumping, stomping, and shooting your way through the city. I would love it if Ubisoft would go into their by now inexhaustible "Assassin's Creed fund" and put just a fraction of that money towards a stand-alone game or even DLC for Spider-Tank, with an expanded map and more enemies to destroy (and possibly a decent story). This is highly unlikely, but a gamer can dream, can't he? Another feature I'd like to discuss in Watch Dogs is its reputation system. It's actually rather simple; doing things like killing cops and civilians lowers Aiden's reputation, whereas killing only criminals (or better yet, incapacitating them) and helping civilians raises his reputation. A higher reputation makes it less likely for citizens to call the cops on you if you get involved with shootouts and increases the number of positive news reports of Aiden's activities on the radio. This doesn't affect the game's story, but instead affects actual gameplay.
Hacking the phones of citizens to take money from their bank accounts does not affect Aiden's reputation (no one knows you're doing it, afterall), yet I found myself selectively taking money from those who could spare it and staying out of the accounts of citizens who appeared to need it, like the guy undergoing chemotherapy or the waitress saving up money for college. With the Profiler active, every citizen's and criminal's personal info including age, occupation, income, hobbies, or list of crimes (if applicable) can be viewed at your leisure, and the sheer scope of different backgrounds for all the citizens is truly staggering and brings further life into the already lively citizens of Chicago. This option to see citizens' background info once had me actually regretting saving a woman from an attempted mugging after seeing that she had previously been involved in two counts of second degree murder. The last feature for Watch Dogs has to do with its online component. While playing the main game, you can be randomly invaded by other players who will try to hack your phone and then leave with your information, or you can invade other gamers and return the favor. You can also take part in online driving missions and tailing missions where you chase another player and try to download his info. Honestly, I tried the online stuff a couple of times, but I quickly lost interest. The singleplayer campaign kept my undivided attention.
The story-based DLC, Bad Blood, has you take on the role of supporting character and Aiden's eventual ally, Raymond Kenney, a.k.a.: T-Bone Grady. His adventure begins a year after the events of the main game with him infiltrating a ctOS control center and causing trouble for Blume, the shady company responsible for creating the system. After making his escape and making preparations to leave the city, T-Bone is drawn back into trouble when an old friend of his is kidnapped and he takes it upon himself to rescue him, which of course leads to more problems that postpone his travel plans. T-Bone will be dealing with the same kind of hacking and shooting missions as Aiden in the main game, but they're no less challenging or fun. He can make use of the same types of ctOS exploits as Aiden with his own Profiler, as well as the same types of weapons; he can also take down enemies up close with a combination of his 2 ft. wrench and taser. One unique gadget in his arsenal is his custom r/c car named Eugene. Functioning in a similar manner to Solid Snake's Metal Gear Mk. II/III from Guns of the Patriots, T-Bone can guide Eugene into enemy territory to get to normally inaccessible areas and to unlock doors or deactivate security systems. Eugene can also incapacitate enemies with its own built-in taser or even blow itself up with packets of C4 to take out a group of enemies in one fell swoop (don't worry, Eugene can be rebuilt with just a couple of spare parts).
Like in the main game, T-Bone can take part in side-missions called "street sweeps", where he forms an unofficial alliance with a Chicago detective and accepts some off the books jobs from her to undermine the efforts of the city's most dangerous criminals, mainly gangsters, fixers, and militiamen. These street sweeps consist of blowing up cargo containers, knocking out or occasionally killing specific targets, or downloading stolen information on the city's police department from laptops. These missions have optional objectives like not being spotted, not using weapons, or making sure not to kill any enemies; completing these objectives earns T-Bone some extra cash, but again, they're optional (and sometimes not worth the effort...or even possible). He can also undertake driving contracts where he takes vehicles tied to previous crimes and drives at high speeds to avoid being tracked, drives cars to drop-off points with minimal damage before time runs out, or escorts VIPs to their destinations. Finally, T-Bone has his own set of collectibles to find linked to investigations regarding a manhunt for Aiden Pearce and an ominous threat being issued to the hacker collective DedSec. For a DLC, Bad Blood has a decent amount of content to keep you busy; the main campaign is actually kind of short, but still fun, and the side content is rather plentiful. It also adds an online co-op component where you can complete street sweep missions with another player.
In conclusion, Watch Dogs was a worthwhile game to play. It isn't revolutionary, but it's still plenty of fun and the hacking features were very well implemented in a believable manner without appearing like magic or feeling overpowered. There are improvements that could and should be made for the sequel, namely a more involved story with an even stronger focus on character development. Better and smoother driving controls would also be a huge plus. I can see why some gamers were disappointed with the end result of Watch Dogs, however the game did not deserve the overwhelming amount of hate it received when it made its debut (chalk it up to unrealistic expectations and the fact that some gamers simply can't be pleased no matter what). This is a fun game with lots of content and should be recognized as such.
on June 21, 2014
I regret having purchased this game. That's not necessarily Ubisoft's fault, although they certainly share the brunt of the blame.
This game had a lot of promise. Ubisoft kept hammering that it would be unique gameplay with an expansive open world. It is definitely an open world...just like every other "open world" we've had in the past 5 years. There's nothing new about it. The map is huge, but not any bigger than GTA V. The graphics are acceptable, but not better than the AAA games for the last gen consoles. Some of the lighting effects are wonderful; the sound and music recordings are well done. But those things don't make up for the lack of creativity.
I have to say that the storyline was at first interesting. And then it got boring. And by the end, I didn't care. Others have commented on Aiden's lack of personality. I don't really mind that. What I do mind is that although the gameplay is many hours long, I didn't have any reason to connect with the storyline. It was forced and dragged out.
As for the driving simulation in this game...I disliked it immensely. GTA V's mechanics still impress me far more. Indeed, I kept thinking about GTA V throughout playing Watch Dogs. And I kept suppressing the urge to stop playing WD and switch to GTA V instead.
Plenty of people have already commented on the general problems with the game. I will now list the details that irritate me.
1. NOT AN OPEN WORLD. They lie. They always lie. FarCry is an open world--you can go anywhere and enter practically any building. That's "open." It's not open to let you drive around the city, but not permit you to enter every (or nearly every) building in the city. Yes, that would increase the game size exponentially, but this is next gen! If you have to split the game into 2 disks, then do it. If you have to repeat some of the interiors, do it (actually, WD does repeat the interiors of the buildings you are allowed to enter). Merely driving around on a big map isn't open world. It's damn lazy.
2. IDIOTIC AI. Many of the missions require you to run from cops or "fixers" before you can complete the mission. I tried running away and using hacking to destroy the enemy cars. I tried shooting the enemies. I tried juking the enemies. Eventually, I kept resorting to this: I found a corner somewhere, ran to it, hid behind an object, and just waited for the AI to get bored and stop looking. Yup. I shot 10 cops, ran over civilians, blew up a lot of stuff, and hid 20 feet from the cops. That's how stupid the AI is. It's lazy programming and foolish gimmicks.
3. NOTORIOUSLY PERSISTENT AI. There are so many damn enemies in this game. Out of nowhere, 10 cop cars and choppers will jump on you out of nowhere. You can't outrun them because for some strange reason, they are always faster than any care you get. Couple this with the stupidity of the AI, and the gameplay gets frustrating very quickly.
4. LACK OF REALISM. No, it's not a simulation game, but surely we can get some more realism for this title? The best way to immerse players in a game is to make it worth playing. And if you are a vulnerable character, and have to deal with realistic injuries and physics, then you'll be more willing to play the game smart. This game just requires you to run and gun. Great. Like every other game.
I am very disappointed with this game. Shame on Ubisoft. At least Killzone Shadow Fall had amazing graphics and a few new gameplay options. But Watch Dogs is simply a lazy cash-in.
I'm sick and tired of companies like EA putting out terrible titles after hyping them up. Ubisoft is on that list now, and has been on its way there for some time.
Rent the game if you must. Buy it used if you really think you'll play it more than once. Otherwise, save the money for something else.
on June 5, 2014
First off, I had been excited for Watch Dogs ever since I saw gameplay footage for it. It was different, Ubisoft was making it and I needed a game for my PS4 that made me finally love my PS4. Yes, it was different and I enjoyed the game quite a bit, but I didn't love it.
-Entertaining Main/Side Missions.
-Gives plenty of content so the game can be played for many hours.
-Terrific voice acting (except I wasn't thrilled with Aiden's voice actor).
-An interesting antagonist (which provides an annoying, but cool final-ish mission).
-An interesting enough experience that will start a franchise.
-This game has the worst driving in the history of games. The most difficult thing about this game, besides the "Social Lubricant" trophy is driving without getting frustrated.
-Aiden's voice acting is dull.
-Entertaining storyline, but not exactly "good."
-Repetitious side missions.
-The police shoot at you no matter what you do. At least in GTA they give you the option of surrendering.
I was not entirely disappointed with the game or the $60 I had to pay for it. Watch Dogs will no doubt become an Assassin's Creed for Ubisoft and I will continue to play the games assuming they continue to go for different cities. I just hope they make the driving mechanics better in the next game because this could be a deal breaker for a lot of people. Driving plays a big part in the game so it's only sufficient that the time Ubisoft used to delay the game the first time could've been used to improve things such as this.
Overall, 4 out of 5 stars for a different type of experience and a lack of functioning driving mechanics.