Aiden himsef isnt a particularly engaging hero, and his motivation is straight from the late-era Liam Neeson action movie school of plot design. Its a huge and still very ambitious game that often dazzles with its graphics and the sheer amount of detail. Aiden He just keeps his head low and wanders round, with just a few gasps of theres the vigilante to remind you who he is. Theres a lengthy story with innumerable twists and turns, where Aiden Pierces quest to find out whos responsible for a family tragedy turns into a battle against an array of sinister forces. We expect open world games to be fun, not credible, and WatchDogs is rarely less than a blast.
Lets not go crazy: we’re not in first Assassins Creed territory, with an amazing setting spoilt by humdrum gameplay. Partly its a matter of the storyline. To be perfectly honest, we havent had the time or the fellow players to full explore this aspect yet, so expect an update when that situation changes. Add his smartphone, however, and he becomes a lot more powerful, capable of blacking out the immediate area around him, causing bridges to open and traffic lights to change, and even causing electrical junction boxes or the grenades some guards are carrying to explode.
The visuals and presentation are frequently breathtaking. In fact, with a good thirty to forty hours of content, thats probably what its going to take. Even if there were only one thing to be said for WatchDogs, youre definitely never short of things to do. It isnt going to redefine the genre.
Its frustrating to smoothly work your way through a prison, for example, barely raising an alarm, only to spend the next hour trying to outrun a vast cop car and helicopter pursuit, with Aiden dying over and over again. We can heartily recommend it and encourage you to play it, but if youre looking for the game to define a generation, your search might go on a little longer. Yet, beyond the eye-candy and the sheer amount of stuff on offer, it doesnt do enough to raise the bar. If we scored game by weight – by the accumulated mass of content, systems, textures, architecture and technical prowess – then it would be right up there with GTA 5 as the best game ever made.
Yet WatchDogs is more a very good open-world game than an absolute classic. Just think about it: even before there was a new console generation, WatchDogs was the game that would define it.Theres also a weird obsession with setting up big firefights, as if tension and suspense are no replacement for action.When the game insists on finishing many missions on a drawn out action sequence, this soon gets annoying.
This might be unfair. The engine would recreate a modern-day Chicago with a level of detail previous games could never muster. Hes good with cars, good with stealth and good with guns, and the game functions perfectly well as a cover-based shooter in the Uncharted mold.Verdict WatchDogs is a very good game – and occasionally a great one – but not a landmark game or any sort of classic.
The clothes, bodies and faces are incredibly detailed, but the animation seems stilted and the expressions are unconvincing. The hype pitched it as a wonder game; an incredibly ambitious open-world action game with a hacker hero who defied every limit.If thats your yardstick, then WatchDogs falls slightly short of the mark. Occasionally youll find yourself hacking or triggering the wrong thing as your smartphone profiler reticule moves around, but for the most part any effect is only a tap of a button away.
The thing that might change that is the online features, seamlessly integrated into the game, and covering a range of activities from player vs player stalking and hacking to racing. Theres certainly scope to try different things with electronic ambushes and clever use of grenades, explosives and exploding and steam-gushing props. If youre finding WatchDogs hard – and you will at times – then its nearly always because youre not using focus enough. WatchDogs was going to be the game that made the Xbox One or PS4 worth having.
Yet where a GTA or a Saints Row can function on a satirical level, WatchDogs’ more serious tone makes it a harder sell. Again, there are some exceptional efforts that throw you a curveball or put you right on the edge of your seat, but too many go down the go here, hack this, escape from here route, or push Aiden into the kind of role where youd expect to see less sophisticated crims in a Saints Row or GTA. Barring the Seattle of inFamous: Second Son, its hard to think of anything comparable. Lets face it, if you pulled this stuff off in real life you wouldnt be walking the streets just a few hours later.
Available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 reviewed, PCCan any game handle this much anticipation Ever since its announcement at E3 in June two years ago, WatchDogs has been tipped as the game to define the new console generation. Youd be in custody or the morgue. Whats more, Aiden has a focus ability, which slows down time and gives you an advantage in car chases or gun battles.We will say and say again that WatchDogs is a very good game indeed.
In dry, evening conditions Chicago doesnt always look that staggering, but when the lights come on and the rain effects kick in, or youre out in the citys urban spaces on a sunny day, the results are incredibly convincing. There is also room to specialise in a particular play style, through a straightforward skill tree where you can add points to your combat, driving, crafting or hacking capabilities. For all that infiltrating buildings, camera by camera and distraction by distraction, is incredibly thrilling, and for all that speeding through the streets or backwoods roads with the cops in your wake will raise your pulse, WatchDogs doesnt quite pull you in like GTA 5.Read more: Uncharted 4 rumours.
If you want to focus on making Aiden a killing machine, you can, but if you want to make him into a smartphone-packing, network-hacking techno-demigod, then thats fine too.Meanwhile, Aiden has a pretty extensive set of tools with which to work his mischief. The one thing that lets it down is the animation of Aiden and the other cast members. Yet the games penchant for hardcore action creates a weird clash between the gritty, techno-thriller focus of the story and the legions of dead cops, smashed cars and bombed-out streets you leave in your wake.
Your mileage may vary here, and its possible that a different set of skills or a different approach would make the whole thing much, much easier. Its a long way behind Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag in this regard, and that wasnt exactly state-of-the-art compared to Beyond: Two Souls or The Last of Us. In theory, you can avoid the lengthy gun battles by using your hacking skills or making a quick escape, but in practice we found it nearly impossible to flee an area without a dozen guards/enforces/cops in hot pursuit, and once theyre on your tail theyre almost impossible to escape.Nor is the mission design always that inspired.
On top of this you have a huge range of side-quests, which might see you halting criminal convoys with every means at your disposal, tackling targets for your allies or simply intervening in crimes in progress then chasing down the perpetrator Aiden is very much a Robin Hood kind of guy. However, its missing something at its core. We also get a range of more left-field activities, ranging from chess to bizarre augmented reality games and checkpoint races. If anything, WatchDogs has too much gameplay to throw your way.
Best of all, he can root his way into CCTV networks, using the cameras to watch whats going on from all kinds of angle, and even hacking into servers and security systems from this remote vantage point.The development team has clearly put a lot of thought into how this should all work, and the controls are both sophisticated and surprisingly intuitive. Its a fine open-world game with a fantastically detailed setting, and one youll happily play for weeks. There are stand-out moments, but it doesnt grip throughout.
We cant say enough how critical this is. Thank you for reading.