Release Date: 2014.05.27 (Wii U: Q4 2014)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, 360, XB1, Wii U
Forget speculation about textures and framerates - Watch Dogs is a bona fide next-gen proposition with a wonderfully told tale at its heart.
Impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash. Check out more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.
While the controls are quite basic and a bit more limited than one might hope (exploding things only gets so varied), a significant sense of empowerment is hard to argue with, and the interface is so fluid that even a simpleton can feel like a master hacker. It feels cool, that's for damn sure.
It certainly entertains, but mostly through borrowed concepts, and the central notion that could have made it stand out - the hacking - is the most undercooked of all. It doesn't get anything horribly wrong, but nor does it excel at any of the genre beats it so faithfully bangs out. It's good, and yet that always feels like a criticism when a game comes weighed down by this much hype. You won't regret the time you spend in Aiden Pearce's world, but nor will it be saved as a precious memory when you reboot.
These online invasions are arguably the smartest realization of what Watch Dogs is about: the fear of being violated, and the principle of identity protection. Even when it skews toward bigger actions and questionable bouts of busywork, though, Watch Dogs is a more fluid and modern power fantasy than we're used to.
Like Grand Theft Auto V before it, sometimes it’s not enough to simply be big and well-made. Watch Dogs feels like collection of promising concepts with nothing solid holding them together. Aiden Pearce should have been that something, but instead, he’s just a character meant to sell cool looking hats in collector’s editions. Perhaps that can be rectified in a sequel, but for now, Pearce is pretty big issue, and so is his propensity to kill people in boring, cover-based shooter-y ways.
Game Informer 8.5/10
Watch Dog's story works as a basic revenge tale, and the final few missions provide some gravity to the characters. Ultimately, however, the main draw of any open-world game is the gameplay, and while not perfect, Watch Dog's hacking abilities add an engaging and unique twist to the third-person action. Ubisoft has another deserved hit on its hands, and I look forward to seeing where the new series goes next.
This is a cast we actually want to see more of. Despite the amalgamation of different franchises here, the IP is strong, the ideas and execution good. Oh, and its use of licensed music, particularly at key moments, betters even GTAV. You should play - or just watch - the game for the Wu-Tang Clan sequence alone.
Aiden's soul is still locked away, too, even though I spent dozens of hours with him. But while I can't say who Aiden truly is, I can confidently say that Watch Dogs is a lushly produced and riotous game with an uncanny ability to push you from one task to the next, each of which is just as fun as the last.
Visuals aside, Watch Dogs has a remarkably well crafted world that feels lively and believable. Aside from overtly hacking someone, you can constantly listen in on conversations just as you walk down the street. You'll see random car accidents, guys looking like idiots playing games on their phone, dudes rapping, or even urinating on the sidewalk. And if you pull out a gun, people will run for their lives.
Even though I feel its story is often weak and its action isn't that different from other games in the genre, I still enjoyed my time with Watch Dogs. It turns out that the old stuff still works, and the strong-but-standard mission design kept me entertained, most of the time. It's rough around the edges, though, so if you don't settle for anything less than the best, you'll probably be disappointed.
One-button hacking might be overly simplistic, but it does give you abilities that make playing through Aiden’s story feel powerful and fun. Doing side missions and multiplayer as you make your way through the dark and lengthy story makes it feel like a huge adventure, and stealth options let you play smart if you prefer. Car chases aside, Watch Dogs is fundamentally very well made, and has more than enough unique ideas to make it a great and memorable open-world action game.
A highly enjoyable GTA clone but one that doesn’t quite have the panache of Rockstar’s best or the inspiration to make the most of its otherwise enjoyable gameplay concepts.
Other games have nailed a better balance in optional activities and large-scale ambiance, including other games from Ubisoft Montreal itself. But when Watch Dogs focuses on the things it does better than anyone else, it finds an identity worth developing. As a hybrid open-world stealth-action game, it’s in a class by itself.
Watch_Dogs combines an astonishingly detailed world, a gripping storyline, creative game mechanics, a myriad of missions and activities, and improvisational tactical sandbox gameplay to create a truly next-generation open world game. Phenomenal. No other word for it.\
It's a game that reaches a baseline of enjoyment – and that baseline is fairly high – and doesn't raise it further. The mission loop is too samey – drive here, hack a few things, sneak/shoot out – and multiplayer is too throwaway to really affect much. You'll undoubtedly enjoy your time with it, but it won't linger long in the memory.
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