Reviews// Watch_Dogs

Posted 17 Jun 2014 12:19 by
There comes a time in a personís life where you have to hold your hand up and say, ďYeah. You got meĒ. Thatís how I felt when I first walked around the massive city of Chicago as incarnated in Watch_Dogs.

To say the final product doesnít live up to its first showing at E3 back in 2012 is an understatement. It looks nowhere near as good as the demo and the gunplay, while still enjoyable falls well short of what we were shown.

I suppose Iím partly to blame. I let myself fall into the Hype Monsterís mouth, where I was chewed up and shat out before being flushed down The Molyneux Toilet. However once the initial disappointment subsides, you slowly start to appreciate the game thatís there instead of getting frustrated with the one that isnít.


Frankensteinís Monster
Watch_Dogs is essentially a game cobbled together from parts of others. A little of Far Cry here, a dash of Assassins Creed there and even a touch of Dark Souls, and the elements that are borrowed from other games work well.

Gang Hideouts work in exactly the same way as the Outposts from Far Cry and are just as fun, if not more so thanks to hacking cameras and messing about with your victims before running in and picking off whoever is left within the area.

The most welcome homage in Watch_Dogs is the option to invade other gamers' worlds and be invaded yourself. This creates a short and simple mini game where the invader has to hide from the invaded, stay within a given zone and slowly hack their phones for notoriety and money.

The rewards and punishments for a win or loss are small but the game it creates is a fun one and Iíve never been annoyed when I've been invaded. Unlike in Dark Souls Iíve happily invaded others safe in the knowledge that Iím not ruining their game.

The main thrust of the game is found within itís hacking and for the most part, itís fantastic. Easily executed and effective, the square button is a powerful tool in your arsenal and most importantly is fun to use.

Some of Watch_Dogs' most satisfying moments can be found within its car chasing. Scream past some barriers, raise them at the right time and the police are nowhere to be seen. Or raise a bridge and watch the carnage unfold behind you. Itís all great stuff.

The only time that it gets a little annoying is when youíre simply camera hopping to complete a mission. You can hack a CCTV camera then hack any camera that the one youíve hacked can see and so on.

With this technique most missions can be completed without firing a single bullet and although that sounds fun at first, it means that all youíll do is simply look around for the next camera to jump to.

I chose to drop this method around half way through and instantly started enjoying the game more for it. Instead I went for a combination of stealth and combat, much like I did with Far Cry, which is fitting as the enemy AI is almost identical.

Story Time
Watch_Dogs plot happens to be quiet an interesting one. Although itís not unique, the battle to find out who is threatening the protagonist Aiden Pierce's family and why starts the story with intrigue and it slowly develops into a tale that you want to hear.

However, itís Pierce who lets the narrative down. As a character heís too bland to hold interest.

Heís the sort of character that clearly wasnít written by one person. Heís not someone whoís been thought about for years, or considered any more than the clothes he wears. Heís the product of a marketing conversation. Heís the same character weíve seen a thousand times before.
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