Watch Dogs from Ubisoft is out now on multiple platforms — for most of us embracing the ‘next-gen’ of gaming consoles like Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this is the first game we expected to usher in the new era. We played Watch Dogs mostly on the PlayStation 4 focusing on single-player and experienced a beautiful and thriving city of Chicago filled with plenty of crime and violence and opportunity for hacking and driving. Watch Dogs features new lead Aiden Pearce who is a gruff athletic guy with the strength to parkour and can drive any car at a whim, can handle himself in a firefight and hack just about any electronic device on-screen.
Watch Dogs has been advertised as an open-world game and it has those elements to it like being able to drive (or walk) from location to location or freely drive anywhere on the map but once you start a mission it reverts back to structured gaming and not quite the open-world experience. Early into Watch Dogs we were a bit put-off by the amount of driving in the game as hacking has been the main selling point all along but once you start getting into the game more you’ll see additional ‘hacking features’ starting to open up around you – giving you an extra edge over opponents.
For better or worse Watch Dogs has drawn comparisons from major franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell and we would also toss Metal Gear Solid V into the mix as well. The game does have many elements drawn from these games but let’s remember we are comparing it to some of the highest selling and most popular franchises of all time – so that’s a positive thing!
- Visually stunning, crowded Chicago landscape
- Play the way you want – save crime victims or ignore them and be your own anarchist
- Tons of driving (if you like that sort of thing)
- Aiden Pearce and his group of NPC sidekicks fleshed out just enough to make it interesting
- Game still feels like a crossover between ‘old-gen’ and ‘next-gen’ gaming with slight improvements
- Way too much on-screen text (of which some can be turned off) would have liked sound cues or voice-over to break up the on-screen reading/interface
- Tons of driving (if you don’t like that sort of thing)
- Aiden Pearce is kind of clumsy – we walked off many rooftops and fell to our deaths un-intentionally
Overall Watch Dogs is extremely fun – most of our complaints and hiccups out the interface and game were easily forgotten once we got an hour or two into the game. We recommended leveling up your driving skill-tree early and combat as there is more of that involved then actual hacking. Watch Dogs also has a nice stealth mechanic in which you can use security cameras to navigate the area before tackling enemies — something we’re anxious to see more in future games. The multiplayer/online element of Watch Dogs is a novelty and with limited fun factor but definitely something to praise the developers along the way.
Watch Dogs is out now for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows PC and soon the Nintendo Wii U.
Watch Dogs Trailer
Watch Dogs Gameplay and Commentary