Saturday, December 22

Watch_Dogs Review

Available on: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, WiiU, PC
Price: PS Store, PS3 £24.99, PS4 £34.99. Xbox store, Xbox 360 = £24.99, Xbone = £23.99, Steam = £24.99, Nintendo eshop = £49.99
I played on: PS4
Notes: n/a

Watch Dogs is ultimately a flawed gem. The mechanics and ideas presented here are very interesting while the writing is cliché and its representation is awful.

The gameplay offers you an open world to explore with plenty going on. You can hunt down ctOS boxes to hack, contracts to assassinate and so on. The driving is simple and enjoyable reminding me very much of the early GTA games on PS2. The combat is what this game does best however with the shooting feeling very natural and fun, with the hacking abilities it just gets insane. There is nothing like using environmental objects to your advantage in a tense firefight and this where the game shines the brightest. I think the best way to sum up the gameplay is a mix between Grand Theft Auto and Assassins Creed.

This is one pretty looking game when it’s not bugging out or dropping its frame-rate which happens all too often. What’s worse, however, is the little issues that just feel like the game was not fully finished. Water will not be affected by gunshots or explosives, clothing will clip through your character and other issues sadly make this game feel like it’s missing a level of polish it really needs. Performance is a bit of an issue but not a complete game breaker as the frame-rate drops and other issues never got in the way of my progress through the story.

You play as Aiden Pearce who is somehow both unlikeable and amazingly boring at the same time, honestly, this paradox is the most interesting thing about him. If you have played any game in the last 20 years then you have met him in some form or another as he’s just another rough, angry white cishet dude after revenge. I will admit some of the moment-to-moment dialogue is good and I enjoyed the character of Ray Kenny but most of this plot is dull and cliché. Aiden and his partner are pulling a job at the Merlot hotel when something goes wrong and you both end up on the mob’s radar. An attempt on Aiden’s life goes wrong and ends up killing his 6 yo niece instead and so the game follows his journey of revenge. Plenty of exciting stuff happens around the main plot but it’s never the focus, I would love to have been more involved with DedSec or learned more about Default but that’s all brushed aside. It’s like all the fun and interesting plots were moved into side missions or ignored completely in place of a cookie-cutter revenge plot we’ve all seen a hundred times before.

Other than a dull plot set in an interesting world we have a cast of mostly white men with only 2 women one of whom spends most the game kidnapped and the other doesn’t make it to the end credits. All the black people here are gangsters and thugs which is a disgusting horrible stereotype I’m very sad to see in such a modern game. I played Watch Dogs 2 before this and the representation in that game is amazing and going back to find all this nastiness was not nice.

Ultimately Watch Dogs is not as bad as people say it is as I did enjoy the gameplay and some of the dialogue but the flat plot and horrible cast of characters damage this game a lot. That’s saying nothing of the performance issues, glitches and sometimes even the physics. If you’re a fan of the second game like I am then it may be worth picking up cheap just for the back story and world building but otherwise, I would give this one a miss.

Recommendation Rating: 5 out of 10.

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