Version played: PS4*
Available platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Pc
Released On: May 27th, 2014
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Action-Adventure, Open World
ESRB: M – Mature
Modes: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Distribution: Disc, Download
*Review copy was bought by the author*
Recently, Ubisoft Montreal release a much awaited video game by the name of Watch Dogs. This is a fresh new IP that has a lot to offer to gamers. From hacking to online tailing to good old shooting, Watch Dogs has something for everybody.
You play as Aiden Pearce, a professional hacker with a long history and a recent lost of a loved one which plays a big part in the main story. The game is set in Chicago with an appearance of a not to distant future. The city is laced with the CTos which controls pretty much the entire city, except maybe the toilets. Anyway, you traverse the Chicago collecting hot spots, songs and other items to help you unlock various skills like better focus mode, hacking abilities and many other to help you along the way.
I played on PS4 and the visuals are impressive compare to its counterpart on PS3. The game has an amazing draw distance with the occasional popping, but nothing to major. Everything is beautifully drawn from the explosions to the architecture of the city. Even the rain on Aiden’s coat looks great.
The main gameplay aspect of Watch Dogs is of course the hacking. This feature comes in handy in many facets of Aiden’s travel. At its best, the hacking offer the greatest possibilities while driving: change traffic lights, bring up road blockers and even burst steam pipes which still is quite confusing how he can make that exact spot in the piping system blow up, but lets not dig too deep.
Profiling is another aspect of the hacking feature which allows you to get information on Chicago’s street dwellers. It also finds weak points in the CTos infrastructure. Sometimes it does take a few second to lock on and doesn’t always lock on the right person but for the most part it works great.
The cover system is another fantastic mechanism to work with. With one click of a button, our protagonist takes cover behind the first available object in front of him. The awesome part of this is going from cover to cover. By lining up your crosshair to the next relatively close wall or object, you’re able, just by tapping the cover button again, to move to that position while hunched forward without having to do anything. Also, throwing IEDs won’t get you out of cover while aiming but will while release it which is only a fraction of a second.
The shooting mechanism is another nice change of pace from conventional shooters. Weapons are nicely arranged in a selection wheel and are divided into 4 categories: handguns and alike, shotguns and alike, machine guns and high power weapons. Also, you have 4 spots in between the weapon slots for grenades and such. Some hacking weapons include blackout which powers off the entire sector you are located, communication jammers help cut the chit-chat between your foes and a couple other items to ease your escape. These items are made using the game’s crafting abilities.
The game offers a currency system which at first glance works nicely: you profiling pedestrians, you hack their bank account and run to the nearest ATM to get your illegal earnings. The problem with this is after you unlock some certain hacking skills, the game shows you who has the bigger loot and apparently everybody in Chicaco are stinking rich. In consequence, you also become loaded with money very quickly and don’t have much option for spending beside weapons, crafting parts and vehicles.
Speaking of cars, Your vehicular adventure will be interesting at first to say the least. Some cars feel clunky to drive but don’t let this fool you, it gets better with the kind of car you drive and you can upgrade these abilities as well. There is a wide range of transportation at your disposal: clunkers, bikes, sports cars and even garbage trucks.
There is mini-games to play in the likes of poker and the cup game. The most memorable one is the drinking game. Oh, how i hated this game while going for the platinum. The first few levels are easy but get much harder towards the end to the point where I cracked my controller in frustration. It has been fixed with the latest patch.
Multiplayer mode is seamlessly integrated to the story mode with players able to hack you and more. Online offer modes like tailing, races, hacking and free roam to name the main ones. Hacking other players feels quite satisfying when seeing your opponent running around while you hide. Racing is actually fun to play versus other players. Its can get quite glitchy and frame rate drops sometimes but oddly enough, it adds to the fun. At the end of the day, playing online in Watch Dogs really takes a different approach and it feels fresh from all the others.
With everything from Rise Against to Wu Tang Clan, you can really get any genre of music you like. Adding to the fun, the game makes you find songs throughout the city. You either find them on people around you or unlock them after missions. Personally, a lot of the artist were new to me and I was pleased with the selection.
At this point in time, Watch Dogs has sold 7 millions copies and although reviews were a bit all over the place, the game speaks for itself. It offers many new things but has some aspect that could use some improvement. In the end, the game gave me hours of fun and felt different. Hope you enjoy has much as I did.