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Review: Watch Dogs (PS4)

 

 
Overview
 

Game Length: Campaign: 20 hours | Side Missions: 15 hours | Multiplayer: 15+ hours
 
Developer(s): Ubisoft Montreal
 
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
 
Platform(s): PS4, PC, PS3,Xbox 360, Xbox One
 
Release Date: 27 May 2014
 
Platform:
 
Gameplay
8.0


 
Visuals
9.0


 
Audio
8.0


 
Gratification
8.0


 
Value for Money
8.0


 
Total Score
8.2
8.2/10


User Rating
4 total ratings

 

Positives


A city that feels alive with activity | Hacking is a massive amount of fun | Great online integration

Negatives


Driving can be tedious


Bottom Line

Not quite the dog its made out to be




22
Posted June 1, 2014 by

 
Full Article
 
 

After a last-minute delay, and the internet having lost their minds that the graphics had been downgraded for release, we now finally have Watch Dogs in our hands. I have a surprise for those who were so angry – the game actually looks pretty good. Yes, not as great as that E3 showing, but if this is ‘terrible graphics’ I’ll take it any day thanks.

Watch-Dogs-1

Welcome to Chicago, the very hackable windy city. If you’ve ever been to Chicago you’ll know that it presents itself as the cathedral of the USA, and that’s exactly what’s been captured in Watch Dogs. Everything from the iconic John Hancock Tower to the box-like Aon Center to the Aqua skyscraper is present and looks stunning. The finer detail, such as leaves blowing over the clean roads of the city streets and scratch marks on lamp posts are all there. The water from Lake Michigan is as life-like as I’ve ever seen. It’s perhaps the protagonist, Aiden Pearce, who has taken most of the slack when it comes to his looks.

Delve into the life of Aiden and you’ll realise that he’s had a tough few months behind him. It’s because of him that his niece died in a car accident and before long the story takes another turn in the wrong direction. His sister gets kidnapped by an old mentor of his. You see all this unfolding right in front of your very eyes and you end up feeling bad for all the bad press he’s received over the last few months. Geez, if you had that happening to you you’d also not be bothered about your coat not quite matching that of two years ago? Right? Enough of Aiden. What about the game?

Watch-Dogs-2

You need time to deal with Watch Dogs. Ubisoft’s paranoia-inducing tech-noir thriller is an open-world beast. Its map bristling with side-quests, Easter eggs, races, unlockables and more. It begs to be explored, to have its treasures dug up. This is a game that wants players to drown in everything it’s got to offer. I found it quite easy to stray off my path, on my way to a Campaign Mission, and to end up playing a game of Chess with some dodgy stranger in some low-life takeaway joint. You’ll find numerous other activities such as playing Poker and taking part in drinking games. You can’t help but notice the GTA feel to those mini games, but then there’s Aiden’s REAL abilities. Something that GTA can’t touch. Not even remotely (pun intended).

On the one hand, you’re allowed to cause an infinite amount of havoc – such as hacking CCTV cameras, jamming police scanners and scrambling traffic lights, using Aiden’s smartphone. On the other, you’re required to play within certain perimeters if you want to be successful. That said, the campaign missions gives you the opportunity to tackle the shadowy nemesis in this game, the CtOS network that watches all in Chicago, on your own terms. Most missions involve a stealth approach. You can either tackle it the old school way by knocking out guards and making it to your waypoint, or you simply hack your way to your overall goal – which ultimately involves more hacking. This is where your obtainable skills come into play.

Watch-Dogs-3

Whenever completing a successful mission, side quest or mini-game you are awarded with Experience Points. For every new level you reach you receive Skill Points. Skill Points can be spent on crafted items, improved hacking, driving and combat skills. The more skills you open the more dangerous you become. For example, as you’re spending most your time in cars the upgrade to easily unlock cars, without setting off an alarm, will improve your experience that much more. You can buy a ‘Quick Switch’ upgrade, if you’re more combat heavy, that increases the speed at which you switch guns. Aiden’s biggest weapon is his smartphone. There’s just about nothing he can’t do with it.

Hacking into innocent bystanders phones is a common occurrence in Watch Dogs. In fact, you’re always on the lookout for a victim. You can download songs, steal money, cars and go as far as to tap into their conversations, be it voice or text. Some of the dialogues are disturbing, generally involving very private conversations about either murder or sexual connotations. If it’s about murder you’ll receive a waypoint to stop the crime before it takes place. Playing as the good Samaritan increases your reputation, which means that civilians are less likely to report any wrong-doing you’ve got up to.

Watch-Dogs-4

Therefore you’re always on the lookout for fixer contracts, gang hideouts, criminal convoys, missing persons cases, signs of human trafficking and all kinds of various activities. As mentioned earlier, it’s a bustling world of activity. So what about the money you earn? Well, you can spend it on weapons, cars and other materials to help you build Lure’s, Frag Grenades and other items that assists you in your cause of hacking everything to pieces. But there’s another reason for your low-life style of stealing money. Someone else might just steal yours.

While playing Watch Dogs, and this happened to me on numerous random occasions, someone might just hack into your game while free-roaming. Once that happens you’re notified and provided with a radius as to where the hacker might be. As time runs out the searching area gets smaller, making it easier for you to track the invader down. The hunter basically becomes the hunted. It’s the first game to truly combined a single and multiplayer experience effortlessly and I must say that I never declined an intrusion. The challenge was just far too exciting. Knowing that someone is in your world in real time trying to screw you over. You can’t help but feel that revenge is on the cards.

Watch-Dogs-5

As much as I’d love to tell you that Watch Dogs is flawless it’s just not the case. I found the driving bits to be too twitchy. Jump on a motorbike and you’re basically controlling a wild horse. And seeing that half of the game takes place while driving it’s something that can become a bit much. Forget all the graphical downgrade nonsense (it’s really still a technical marvel). Expect the campaign to last you roughly 20 hours and the side quests to nearly double that. Was the delay worth the wait? You just wait and watch… DAWG!

buy-now

 





Dawid Venter

 
Married to a gamer wife who kicks my ass at most shooters. If it's got analogue thingies, with buttons that's connected to a big box I'll play it no matter the format.


  • mujabees

    Did you have any issues with install and game not starting?

    • dawid22

      On the PS4? Nope. Worked just fine. I heard the PC guys had issues.

      • mujabees

        Yeah apparently. Must have been isolated.

  • Stayed up till midnight just to comment. So now it will be cemented in the foundation of this site that I, Umar, was the first to comment on the day of the site’s official launch….



    First

    • dawid22

      I take my hat off to you dear sir.

      • hehe, I was really excited for the site’s launch πŸ™‚ Goodluck with the new venture! It’s looking good…Time for some damn sleep now lol

        • dawid22

          Thanks, we can’t wait to now finally get going πŸ™‚ ZzzZZzz

  • Lonthor

    Think I can wait to pick this up secondhand or wait for a bargain.

    • dawid22

      You know, I was not expecting too much from it, but it’s surprised me. However, you know what things are like these days. Wait three months and it drops in price.

  • Trebzz

    Heard this game looked terrible on the PS3 and Xbox 360 so I fee l sorry for those guys. I’m really enjoying this game and a lot of great distractions to keep you busy for many hours.

  • Tomahawk “Lightning” Jones

    I played a little this weekend, and it wasn’t all that bad — but holy sh*t that driving. I’ll definitely be picking it up (or winning it… somewhere… here) before the year is out.

  • You guys! :D/ missed much, you were πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Anyhoo, it’s taken me while to start enjoying Watch_Dogs, but now that I’ve found my digital feet in Chicago, it’s cool.

    …it’s cool.

    Also, the driving does take some getting used to, but I’m not sure whether it’s the pre-order perk (redeemed the code a day after my first session with the game), but it does feel alot smoother than it did, last Tuesday.

    Again, I’m rather stocked that you guys are back πŸ˜€

    • dawid22

      We’re glad to be back. Expect good things πŸ™‚ As for Watch_Dogs – The driving does feel better than it originally did, but it’s still a bit twitchy and one can’t help but compare it to GTA V, which have the mechanics down to a T.

  • DeadSEC Ninja

    Patiently waiting for the WiiU version. Im sure it will still stand as the best version of the game πŸ˜‰

  • Raidz

    15 hours of campaign?? Now that alone makes up for the problems people are having with it. We don’t often get our moneys worth when it comes to game time these days. I’m not one for pre launch hype but all this post launch hype has gotten me excited

  • Dian Fourie

    Whooooot I found you guys!!! I just got this game and I am KEEN to play after exams

    • dawid22

      Good to see you back πŸ™‚