Ever since the reveal of Watch Dogs at E3 2012, it’s been a game that I have been highly anticipating. What caught my eye the most during the reveal trailer was the hacking, and how fun it looked as well as the tons of potential that could come from the hacking system. After a big delay stopped Watch Dogs from launching with the next gen consoles back in 2013, we finally got our hands on the game in 2014, but the question that needs answering is “was it worth the wait?” which will be answered by the end of this review.
In Watch Dogs you play as Aiden Pierce, the skilled hacker who is out for revenge after a hit is put out on Aiden because of robbery. The hitmen take out the car with Aiden’s family in there, which kills his niece Lena. The plot of the story is your usual “I will get my revenge!” storyline which has been done to death in video games. Although the plot is uninspired, the actual missions behind the story were entertaining enough to make me look past some of the plot’s weaknesses. It didn’t help that Aiden was pretty boring in his tone and character.
Hacking is what separates Watch Dogs from the open world games that we have become used to over the last few years. Many things in the town of Chicago is hackable, from the traffic lights, blockers, road spikes, trains, helicopters, and many more things that impact how you play the game in missions and also in the open world. Most of the hacks in Watch Dogs are a simple click off a button which not only makes it easy for the player but allows split second hacks to get away from enemies. One example of a hack being used to get away was when I was driving and used the hack to make the blockers come up causing the people chasing me to crash.
I also loved how Chicago felt so alive in Watch Dogs with a majority of the world feeling alive due to the profile reader on Aiden’s phone which gives you the name of every person you encounter on the street, and also a little personal profile. There is a huge variety of profiles to see in Watch Dogs with repeats being a rarity. What also helped make Chicago feels so alive was the actions of the NPC’s, they make Chicago feel alive with the random occurrences that can happen throughout the game. Random moments include car accidents that lead to an argument or a criminal that is running through the streets trying to escape.
What also impressed me was how much there is to do in Watch Dogs, which has always seemed to be a priority Ubisoft wants in their open world games like Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry 3. Those two games had hours and hours of extra content that added up the total hours played after finishing the main games. Watch Dogs has a variety of different things to do in the game outside of the story mode, these include unlocking ctos towers, investigations, poker, and much more which will keep you going for many hours.
How are the main missions though? I’ve only mentioned so far that they were entertaining. The missions had variety that stopped the game from having repetitiveness. In many open world games I get bored of main missions due to a lot of them being very similar in theoverall objective of the mission. In Watch Dogs I would go on a long run of non stop missions because I wanted to see what happens next. I did have one major problem with the missions though, and that was the forced stealth missions that have plagued Assassin’s Creed too. In these missions you have to do them without being seen by enemies, and they aren’t fun at all.
Although Watch Dogs was a fun experience it had its fair share of problems. One of the biggest problems was the amount of glitches and bugs that were in the game. One of the bugs I came across was Aiden warping into the train, and then falling out of the train. This wasn’t something that happened once too it was something that happened four times, and sadly this is just an example of one of the main issues with bugs/glitches this game has. Another problem I had was with the driving which suffers from really bad handling problems.
The Final Verdict
Watch Dogs was a decent first attempt in what I guess will become a series of games due to the new IP record breaking sales for Ubisoft. I would like to see a second game that fixes some of the games biggest and also small issues. Watch Dogs does many things right though like the hacking being a stand out feature in the game due to its endless amount of fun moments that can come from it, and also have gameplay is effected due to hacking elements. To sum it up Watch Dogs gets a majority of it right, but some big fixes are needed in Watch Dogs 2 to make it the game we all expected in 2012.
+Good main story/missions
+Feels like Chicago has life in Watch Dogs
+Lots of content
+Hacking is fun
-Forced stealth missions