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Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was OK, July 29, 2014
This review is from: Watch Dogs - PC (CD-ROM)
It was OK. The game wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. It was kind of in the limbo between something great and something that sucked. Some of the game had great detail to the environments, others had lazy objects that looked very distorted and un-detailed. Sometimes the city looked great, other times the colors seemed washed out and lacking shadows. Some NPC's looked like real people, and others looked like awkward cartoon characters. Some voice acting was great, others sucked. The whole game I felt like there was something really good, but then something not so good balanced it out to being OK.

I do not like the movement controls in this game. Coming off of Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed 4, I am expecting my character to be able to scale objects and climb things, maybe do a running jump, hide in bushes - something stealthy and quick as this game requires a lot of sneaking around. But alas this batman wannabe can't jump, can't run too fast or too smoothly, and can't get his fat butt up a ledge to save his life. Most of the time you are walking, driving, or finding objects to help you get over a wall such as a nearby forklift that is conveniently placed right where you want to go up.

Combat requires you to either go in guns blazing and destroying all humans, or to try and be as stealthy as possible by crouching behind objects and causing distractions. There is no middle ground. One gunshot and everyone and their brother knows where you are and comes right at you. The game gives you some throwing weapons like gernades and some objects to help distract enemies, but nothing too stealthy like the blowgun or a bow/arrow set. There is a sniper riffle option, but unlike other games where you can snipe from afar, most missions put you in the same room as your enemies and once you shoot that sniper rifle everyone and their brother knows where you are and comes right at you. You can sneak up behind people and take them down though, but one false move and everyone will know where you are.

EDIT: I HATE forced missions where they restrict what you can do or require you to do things in a certain way which results in many attempts to get it just right. Some missions require you to not be caught or you need to start over, where others make it perfectly OK to be seen or force you to be seen and enter combat to progress the story. Watch Dogs has its fair share of these missions. From the first mission where you can't be seen by anyone at all or you'll have to start the mission over; to the car chases where you have to go down the exact only safe path; and to the the missions where you suddenly have multiple enemies appear (that weren't there a second ago) and need to use a certain item or technique introduced in the game to escape. These are frustrating.

Also, you have the option to "restart mission" which doesn't bring you back to the last checkpoint where you would be if you died/failed, but all the way back to the first cutscene in the first checkpoint of the mission - forcing you to go through the same long cutscene to drive to the location, to talk to the person, to get the phone call, to set your map marker to drive to the point in where you hit "restart mission" because you goofed up and wanted to start over. There are only auto-saves in the game also, which means you aren't allowed to save at certain points and go back to them to try again.

The part I dislike the most most is the car chase missions. It's fun to drive a car around such a large city, but the controls are too simple and overly responsive. Granted you don't take much damage while driving, but you also run into a lot more objects, so it is frustrating. I can't tell you how many people i've ran over while in a hurry. I try to be a careful driver, but that is impossible. Street lamps are crashing down, fences are breaking, people are running and screaming, cars are getting destroyed - it's a real mess to drive down a straight road. The police and bad guys in the game also seem to appear out of nowhere and the AI feels very forced and not fun at all. Feels exactly like police chases in GTA4. In fact, a lot of the open world of this game feels like GTA4. (Not that GTA4 was bad, but it's been done before and could have been worked on making better by this point).

However this game does have a good feel of being in an actual Chicago and walking the streets. The details are there, the graphics are nice, and it feels like a living, breathing city. Every once in a while you hear an argument down the street, car horns honking, people commenting at you and each other, and there is even the occasional crime. Sometimes you'll be walking down the street and suddenly someone has their purse snatched and you can chase them down for experience points, which is a nice way to unlock more skills and level up your character.

There is also a lot of historic information throughout the game that tells the history of some of Chicago's more popular buildings, which I thought was a nice touch. What wasn't nice though is finding a history marker that said "This is one of the tallest buildings in Chicago. People can go up and look off of the roof and see Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan from the top of the building. You can also go out onto glass balconies and get a sense of how high up you really are." I was excited to go in, and i went into the lobby of the building, but there was no option to actually go further into or on top of the building to see what was talked about in the description. Each location also lets you leave gifts or pick up gifts from other players, which I thought was a nice tough to make the game feel more connected to other gamers enjoying Watch Dogs. Unfortunately all you can leave each other is money, ammo (which is always full), and medicine (which is always full). It would be nice to have more exciting items to share among players (such as clothing, stickers, accessories, room decorations, character boosts, etc. ) and would make exploring the city much more worthwhile.

The game has a lot of unlockables, but none of them are particularly interesting. You can unlock like 100 different cars of all types (budget, heavy, sports, muscle, motorcycle, etc.), but I don't see the point in this if they all basically drive the same and once you have a car you like using you'll never have a need for the others. You can wear many different outfits ranging from $500 to $3000, but they also all look the same except for their colors. I can't put on a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt - just that dumb long coat, baseball cap, and gloves the guy always wears. (which sucks because in the game they do have you changing clothes at one point and continue to walk around and combat, so I know the character model is capable of more than what Aiden is wearing). I can buy a lot of weapons and ammo, but combat doesn't really make a use of them as any weapon seems to take a guard down just as quickly.

There are also forced restrictions on the game that I do not like, and a lot of freedoms right away that could have been introduced later. Other Ubisoft titles like assassins creed 4 revealed more content as the game went on, keeping everything feeling fresh. Watch dogs basically throws everything in your lap and says "here's the big city, you can do anywhere and do anything at any time." Which is OK, but then I don't feel like I care about the story or what it has to offer me. Why am I doing a car chase if I already have everything unlocked? What is my incentive to care about the story when I have every weapon, infinite money, can fight crime on my own, and go anywhere I want? I feel like I have all the content unlocked and I have no need to progress the game. It would have been nice if certain side missions were locked until further in the story or if things like hacking ATM's or ordering cars were revealed in time and not just thrown into your lap right away. Yes, it's awesome to have these things right away, but I am never feeling like I need to go further in the game for any reason.

Multiplayer in the game is OK, but could have been better. It feels a lot like Halo's "capture the flag" but with cars. The game does pair you up with random online players and let you play certain modes in one of the city's regions against each other. The only way to communicate is with a headset, so no typing to others which I disliked on the PC version as I do not like using a headset. The developers were also lazy with online multiplayer as you cannot customize your avatar, but only play as Aiden from your side while everyone else sees you as a random civilian avatar off the streets. There could have been some nice opportunities for unlockable items in-game to use in multiplayer. It would be nice to play poker or something in the game with other online players for in-game money.

In the end though, watch dogs is a very OK game. I enjoy playing it in so much as it is well done where it has been done. I feel like there was a lot of potential for this game, but they didn't get a chance to finish it before release. Graphics could have been updated, controls and mechanics could have been improved, physics could have been worked on, and more fun and relevant content could have been added. Some of the content just plain sucks. Like there is some mario coin collection mini-game - WTF is that? Just out of the blue you get to walk around and pick up 8-bit coins and avoid the red ghost guys that are so easy to just walk around, then the mini-game is over. It was completely pointless and not fun and made no sense. It felt so out of place for this game and there was no reward other than a message giving you your best time. I really don't care for this kind of crap.
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