Watch_Dogs Review

When this was first announced at E3 2012 I was immediately hooked, this was the IP that would make me find the time to actually get back into gaming. The ability to control a character in a vast city a la Grand Theft Auto but hack into the city's infrastructure controlling various outcomes was something I was anxious to experience. After spending a few weeks to get through the story and side missions let's just say this was a severe disappointment.


STORY

Taking place in Chicago, IL you take the control of Aiden Pierce a rugged semi-hipster white guy who has had some trouble with the law and a few other random cliched "baddies". This won't be a long description because to be frankly honest this was a cookie cutter of a story. You go from meeting up with a friend who does things Aiden wouldn't particularly do himself. It's basically a trope of "trying to get out only to be pulled back in", and that is an absurdly generic storyline.

The story overall was a frustrating mess where even though it's a video game the writing in Tomb Raider ran laps around Watch_Dogs. Not to mention the antagonist being extremely "Meta" with his internal dialogue coming out in the most laughable way. Though some of the most promising moments were so brief and understated it was extraordinarily unfortunate. 

With all of the promise the game showed the story came through significantly unsatisfying hopefully the sequel will improve upon that aspect of the game as it was without a doubt the weakest.


GAMEPLAY

This is where the game is actually interesting, the gameplay mechanics are easy to understand and become second hand the further you get into the game, the similar to Tomb Raider you're essentially thrown into the mix once the game begins, but the controls again are easy to pick up.

As I've noticed this certain mechanism is the new norm where you're thrown into the story thrown into the game from the start and learn as you go. The thing about Watch_Dogs that had me most excited was the ability to hack into the infrastructure of the city at large. Though you only have access to certain areas and you must break into cTOS areas throughout the city in order to gain access to those areas of the city. And the hacking is simple, open the profiler on your phone and you're given data points of areas and people that can be hacked.

The weapons systems as well as driving mechanics are also simple to understand and utilize, though the carousal of weapons can take some getting used to (and can become an issue when in the middle of a gun fight trying to switch weapons rapidly) it's one significant drawback to an otherwise easy system.

Your map is helpful but can become overwhelming at times, there are a multitude of points of interest, side missions, races, gang hideouts, etc that you can become involved with and that's not counting the actual missions and safe houses. When roaming through the map being able to pinpoint a specific location when there are two or three others literally on top of one another can be a little frustrating. 


LOOK & FEEL

I have to say, E3 2012 may have given everyone the bait and switch (though to be fair that could be a little hyperbolic), the game looked absolutely gorgeous when it was first introduced from the textures, to the scope of the city and it's AI, however as we got closer those textures and graphics took a bit of a dive during E3 2013.

Then the announcement of a delay came and the anticipation of a once beautiful looking next-fen game became watered down. Once the game was released and tested by many it was clear Watch_Dogs carried a significant amount of promise only to break part of it.

It goes without saying the game wasn't terrible looking, while on the PS4 it was absolutely stunning but one couldn't help but notice that this wasn't taking advantage of next-fen graphics processing at its fullest as Ubisoft still had to make concessions when developing for PS3 and Xbox 360. Here's hoping the next title will look similar to Asassins Creed Unity.


CONCLUSION

What we have was a tease from a somewhat respectable publisher in Ubisoft of what the future of gameplay could be (pending the quality isn't scaled down), aside from the atrocious C movie storyline Watch_Dogs has a lot of promise, and pending it's likely sequel (I'd wager Fall 2015/Spring 2016), we may see Ubisoft take full advantage of PS4 and Xbox One hardware to release a significantly beautiful game with hopefully a stronger story to boot.

This time around unfortunately because of its story, the reduction in quality, and a bit of clutter in the mapping system, this game doesn't live up to the original promise.

Grade: C+