Watch Dogs review

watch dogs character

Watch Dogs is a game that received just as much hype from its debut trailer as it has received disdain with the recent graphical downgrade for next-gen consoles. Ubisoft has advertised to us a dynamic and hackable open world that you can mess with using your smart phone, like changing traffic lights, hacking ATM machines, and causing a black out. The hacking ability isn’t as in-depth as you would think, but it does set out to do something different than other open world video games.

You play as Aiden Pearce, a man out for revenge against those who killed his niece. The world is his playground as he gets god-like powers. He’s not the most interesting character, but he does have an eclectic supporting cast including the my favorite, Jordi Chin, the beautiful punk-rock hacker, Clara Lille, and other equally unique support.

Watch Dogs 8 minute Multiplayer Walkthrough

The actual motivation behind your campaign is pretty simple, but as the missions progress, the more things get added on, like rivals getting in your way and making you do fetch missions that stops the flow of the story. (With a game with many missions, it’s almost always the case.) The plot could expand on the world of hacking, but it has been restricted to following Pearce’s journey to free himself from guilt. The majority of the time you’re being somebody’s lackey. As for the game’s moral message, there is a moment where Aiden questions the man he has become…he doesn’t want to be a killer, but his problem is that he’s pretty good at killing hundreds of people.

So how’s hacking? It’s pretty simple, and it’s all done with one button. You’ll be able to control interactive electronics by either tapping or holding the hacking button. It can get overwhelming at first, but once you get the handle of things, it becomes second nature, like firing weapons and driving cars. Although hacking doesn’t feel revolutionary, just the addition of it already makes it more interesting than other open world games.

watch dogs

Being able to spy on the city is fun. Hacking the people of Chicago will give you extra cash, music and the occasional missions. You’ll be able to get a peek into people’s lives, including their hobbies and profession. One hobby that I liked was the “cosplay enthusiast”. With voyeurism being easy, you’ll encounter plenty of freaky things including a cannibal prepping his food, people having sex, and a guy watching a cam girl. My favorite moment when spying included a father watching a son playing a video game (the game in question is Assassin’s Creed). Ubisoft doesn’t mind poking fun of itself, as the father questions why the assassinated target is still talking after being assassinated.

The on-foot gameplay is a mix of Ubisoft’s previous games like the Assassin’s Creed franchise and Far Cry 3. Like both games, you’ll have the option of either dispatching your enemies using stealth or by running in with weapons drawn. Similar to Assassin’s Creed is Aiden running and jumping over objects using the right trigger; the only thing he can’t do is climb tall buildings. With hacking, you won’t even need to enter a compound, that is if there are cameras around. It’s satisfying to take out a whole group of baddies without ever firing a weapon or knocking them out up close.


As for driving, once you get the hang of handling the many different cars, you’ll be maneuvering around the city in no time.

One of my main gripes in the game are the tailing missions. Like in an Assassin’s Creed game, you’ll have to follow certain characters, either in a car or by foot, without being seen. Sometimes you know where the person is at, but the game decides that you need to be in a certain area before the timer runs out. There are also moments where I was chasing a car and ended up failing because there was a building blocking my vision, thus helping the timer run its course to zero. It’s not a big deal, but it was frustrating at the moment.

One of the more interesting elements of Watch Dogs is the multiplayer implementation. Online players will have the opportunity to hack into your game. An example of this happening is if you’re caught hacking, a citizen might report it to the authorities. If that is done before you stop the person, a contract will be out for you and online players will have a chance to accept these contracts. You can, however, disable this, but where’s the fun in that?

Watch Dogs_Potential_Victim

We played the PS4 version, and although the graphics aren’t up to par with the advertised debut trailer, it still can impress. Rain, steam pipes exploding, and debris caused by crashing are all great to look at. The night scenes look better, with in-game cut scenes at night looking very pleasing, especially the facial details on characters like Clara.

The game will easily take you around 20 to 40 hours to complete, depending on if you’re doing side missions or just enjoying the city view. With the main missions, side missions and many more activities to do in Chicago, Watch Dogs is definitely worth the bang for your buck in terms of content. Although the game doesn’t live up to the hype, it still is an enjoyable open world game that fuses in stealth and action while also including the fun hacking elements.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

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John Nguyen
John Nguyen 10503 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.