The advanced technology in Watch Dogs is not just different from magic – it is MAGIC. By meaning MAGIC, It’s not Harry Potter stuffs … But it’s a really different experience. The game would have you believe you’re the world’s most powerful hacker, bending surveillance cameras, traffic control and all manner of personal electronics on just a touch. It is really a great step forward for Ubisoft. It plays in a way that’s recognizable – we wouldn’t be surprised to see an Assassin running by – but it’s built on an engine that allows for a real diverse experience.
Watch Dogs is played from a 3rd person perspective which has Aiden Pearce in the lead role. It is an open world experience in which you can explore Chicago and its neighbouring areas using cars, bikes, boats, and even the L Train. The actual exploration is pretty good, but the physics system that’s ruling over the cars and bikes is slightly erratic. Fast sports cars are really tricky to control at high speeds while on a bike, it’s really hard to turn in low speeds. The only vehicles that I found easy to drive were the trucks. Anyway, the driving is better when compared to SLEEPING DOGS, which had one hell of a control.
Of course, one of the most important mechanics in the game is the hacking one, which sees Aiden use his trusty smartphone to break into the ctOS-controlled mechanics in the city. From surveillance cameras to traffic blockers, steam pipes, and all sorts of other things, you can manipulate them easily. Hacking brings a variety of tactical elements into the game, as shootouts and infiltrating enemy bases can become much easier if you trigger certain explosions or distractions in order to thin out the number of foes or at least attract the most aggressive ones or those who can call in reinforcements, for an easily stealth kill.
It’s very, very easy to get the attention of the police, mind you. If you shoot a civilian on the street and there’s someone nearby with a phone, they’ll call the authorities. If you catch the attention of the police, you’ll want to get in a car and drive away fast. Driving over a set of pylons, activating them at just the right time will stop the police with a very satisfying crunch. A similar event occurs as you activate a set of stop-lights as you pass through. Also, you can get out of your car and run, crouching behind a shed. You can also,more importantly – hide in your car. Once you’ve hidden, there’s a circle of relevance around you outside which police cannot see you – if you’re lucky enough.
Running after opponents or chasing after them with a car is an extremely common requirement in most of the missions, and it gets annoying after a while, especially since triggering takedowns by hacking blockers or spikes require split second timing and reactions. The game has a complex progression system that rewards players with skill points as they unlock new levels. These can be spent on augmenting your hacking abilities, your shooting ones, your driving, and your crafting proficiency.
Progression in the game requires – or strongly suggests – that you fill out your Skill Tree. This can be done by collecting experience and using points on the skills you think you’ll make the most use of in battle and in your day-to-day hacking lifestyle.
Watch Dogs focuses on protagonist Aiden Pearce, a hacker who uses Chicago’s ctOS infrastructure to hack wirelessly into all sorts of situations. The game’s opening sees him rob a hotel with the help of a friend but, later on, they stumble upon something much bigger ran by dangerous individuals. Flash forward a few months and Aiden’s niece is killed while his ally is crippled as payback. This turns Pearce into a vigilante who’s now tracking down the people behind it in order to exact his own revenge for what happened.
After a tragic accident kills his niece Lena, Aiden seeks to bring his own kind of justice to the people responsible, all while protecting his sister Nicole and nephew Jackson . Aiden meets a host of allies over the course of the game: Jordi Chin, a “fixer” and Aiden’s hired partner; Clara Lille , a tattoo artist and member of the “DedSec” hacker group (under the alias ‘BadBoy17’),and Raymond “T-Bone” Kenney , a former ctOS engineer. Aiden also encounters many enemies, including Delford “Iraq” Wade a gang leader with a military background and Dermot “Lucky” Quinn , owner of the Merlaut Hotel and crime boss of Chicago’s crime underground. Other characters include Damien Brenks , Aiden’s former mentor and partner-in-crime and Maurice Vega the triggerman who caused the accident that claimed Lena’s life.
Watch Dogs offers a suite of multiplayer options for users, with the most famous being the online hacking. In this mode, you can infiltrate the game session of another player and hack them while they’re trying to find you. While such missions may seem dull, the fact that you’re facing off against another human player makes it really exhilarating.
Free Roam is the most unique iteration of multiplayer in the game, allowing users to move in and out of other players’ universes relatively seamlessly. This mode of gameplay can be very entertaining – and extremely frustrating. Use cautiously if you’re prone to road-rage.
When a game is born in the same family as Grand Theft Auto, it feels natural to play it on the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. But, I played it on PC and so it took a while for completing it.
NOTE: I recommend users to use a gamepad if you are playing this game on PC. There are quite a lot of missions, which can be easily controlled using a mouse/keyboard. But, there happens to be a very interesting mission, where after drinking, you are completely under fogginess and in that health mode, you have to unlock certain codes within limited time. It took an age for completing that wrecked mission using mouse controls. That mission was the only tough mission which I found in the game,but it was said to be easier using a gamepad .
Visuals and Sound
Watch Dogs is a great-looking game especially on a PS-4, managing to deliver some gorgeous visual effects, particularly when it’s raining.On PC, the graphics is excellent. It’s totally different from other platforms especially due to special options like the HBAO+, which produces better shadows, or the TXAA, which eliminates the jagged edges seen on all sorts of objects in the game world.
Speaking about the audio, I first had an issue when I installed it on my Laptop. The game was perfectly working , but there was no audio. When I studied about this issue, I found that many had these problems and the reason was that, some versions of this game depended on stereo mode speakers, which many of the laptops lack.The soundtrack is quite good and there’s an extra incentive to hack different Chicago citizens, as you can unlock more songs to play while driving cars. The voice acting is really well done, with Aiden sounding reasonably rough and grizzled. The other actors also do a good job, but it depends more on their dialogue.
Watch Dogs is a fun open world experience. However, the repetitive chases and the formulaic gameplay tend to get tedious and boring after a while. As such, you might want to enjoy the different multiplayer experiences and take frequent breaks to just roam around the city.
Regardless, if you enjoy that sort of open-world game, you’ll enjoy this one. There’s nothing that makes Watch Dogs necessarily worse than, say, Grand Theft Auto V.
I give it a rating of 4/5 and that means , worth a play.