Watch_Dogs, Ubisoft’s near-future open world, hack anything, go anywhere game is about what you expected. Right behind the heels of the Assassin’s Creed’s never-ending franchise it runs like a modern day AC title, minus the free-running and hidden blades, what lacks in blades is shooting. Lots of shooting. What we saw when Watch_Dogs was first announced was an open world, where anything could be done to achieve your objective. It gave us the possible freedom we didn’t have to shoot everything in sight to get what we wanted and instead in the first 5 minutes in a cut scene, I was forced to shoot an NPC.
In character, you play as Aiden Pierce, a hacker turned vigilante after assassins murder your niece while trying to kill you. Your former partner and only confidant is nowhere to be found and you take on the criminal element in Chicago, finding who ordered the hit on you. Twists and turns leads you to a gritty world below the shiny layer of network infrastructure. In the month since I put in the Watch_Dogs disc, I’ve hacked more computers than I can count, blew up more vehicles than Michael Bay and produced a body count higher than all the Rambo movies combined. Hacking is the highlight of this game; tap into any device with your phone and find out about people’s dark and dirty secrets. It’s meant to immerse you into the universe of which these people live and connect everything together. Each of these connections to people are as randomly generated as the NPC’s themselves.
The weapon/gadget wheel is pretty interesting. Holding the right bumper to pull it up, using the right thumbstick to select different gadget slots and pressing Y/Triangle to create new things. Ubisoft prided Watch_Dogs with it’s engine being built solely for driving, which seemed to be possibly the best feature in this game. Car collision detection is a surprising, side swiping into a vehicle at 100 MPH grants you a grinding sound and what I like to call a buffer effect pushing your vehicle to safety or; nudging the back of a car with your motorcycle at 20 miles an hour affords you a 30 foot launch over the car and near death.
I have to be biased, I was on last-gen Xbox 360 but with recent open-world triumph GTA 5, where do I begin? As mentioned above, driving at 100 MPH affords you crappy hit detection, it also grants you absolute motion blur from all things stationary, sort of a fail-safe for the graphics engine to not show you whats up it’s pixelated skirt. Character models look like that from the glory days of Playstation 2 and environmental load distances are less than a stone’s throw, but like I said; I played it on my old 360 console. I’m sure the current gen systems have better quality.
The environmental sound editing and action sequence music composition is amazing. Stand still in the center of downtown Chicago and you can hear every vehicle engine, phone conversation, bird chirp and AC vent blowing. Chase sequences in vehicles are amplified by Brian Reitzell’s stellar tech thriller score.
Watch_Dogs is worth the money spent to buy it. It’s definitely game you should look into purchasing or at least renting. The modern era open-world game play and story is slightly predictable, but grabs your attention throughout.
Style – Single-player / online co-op, 3rd person
Publisher – Ubisoft
Developer – Ubisoft
Release – May 2014
4.0 – Gameplay
3.0 – Graphics
4.0 – Sound
3.8 – Entertainment
2.7 – Replay Value
2013’s E3 promised a world in which we would be lost in, and that is exactly what Watch_Dogs delivered.