Once I actually got the Silenced Pistol and various bombs, stealth missions not only became bearable, they actually became kind fun, or at least so comparatively easy that the lack of frustration was fun.
The game is surprisingly long, It took me about a week to complete it.
Even the physical copies of the game are subject to extra downloading.
Running from the cops is how nearly every mission ends, and it's ridiculously stupid. You can only hide from cops in cars but they usually find you, there's no other way to hide other than just drive out of the area.
All but 2 of the characters have any personality and they barely show up. The 2 main characters are wannabe Batman and stereotypical sexy hacker girl.
I knew Watch_Dogs was bad when I first picked it up, but I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. Watch_Dogs is known for being one of the biggest letdowns of 2014, it debut at E3 with a stunning trailer about hacking the world, but as soon as it came out, people knew it was bad. Ubisoft the maker of Watch_Dogs, is primarily known for also making the Assassin’s Creed games, and as I played it I realized, Watch_Dogs is basically a really shitty Assassin’s Creed game. My first attempt at writing this review was extremely negative, and I didn’t give this game quite as much credit as it deserved, or rather, it’s less shitty than I initially thought it was as I kept playing it.
What you See and What you Hear
Watch_Dogs is set in Chicago, and I’ve never been to Chicago so I really can’t say how accurate it is, but as far as aesthetic goes this game is…gross… Every area looks the same, there are lots of neighborhoods but none of them stand out. Aesthetics aside, the graphics are not by any means impressive, I played on PS4 and I felt like I was playing on PS3. There’s almost no music in the game, the soundtrack is as bleak as the environment. You can listen to various songs when you’re in a car and sometimes…outside of the car but that’s it.
The premise of the story is that you’re a hacker and you fuck up a job, so someone hires a hit out on you. The guy that’s hired accidentally kills your niece, and you’re determined to become batman and find out who hired the guy that killed your niece. Putting aside the fact that the guy who killed your niece is taken out within moments of starting the game…
The story, characters, pacing, it’s all terrible. The game revolves around a hacker, Aiden Pearce who uses his phone to hack into things because reasons. He fucks up and it gets his Niece killed, he spends the next year trying to track down the guy who hired the killer. The game tries to make Aiden an emotional character, but I honestly couldn’t care about this guy if I tried. He’s constantly stealing money and information from innocent bystanders, I don’t feel sorry for this guy in the least. The other characters are just as bleak, there’s the stereotypical sexy punk hacker girl who’s entire personality is being the sexy punk hacker girl who flirts with Aiden. The only characters I actually liked were Aiden’s sister, the mother of the girl who died, and a guy named Jordi Chin, who helps Aiden out from time to time.
The pacing of the story is atrocious, first off all there was only one part in the entire game that actually made me feel tense was when someone was kidnapped. When this happened, I was like “Oh shit I better hurry” but no several hours later they were still kidnapped. Literally days go by in the game while they’re kidnapped, and you’re just off doing other plot related things, and I’m not talking about doing side missions between saving them, I’m talking about story missions, ones that include playing poker, drinking games, and mindless driving missions. Watch_Dogs has lost all credibility when it comes to taking it seriously, I just can’t anymore.
The biggest draw to the game is the hacking mechanics, where you can steal information and money from NPCs, or you can trigger small explosions or obstacles to try and stop people chasing you. You can also tap into security cameras, and from there tap into other cameras and then keep jumping around until you find the thing you need to unlock. These camera puzzles are OK but they aren’t difficult. There’s a lot to the game controls that aren’t explained very well, like crafting, and a lot of the menus are super counter intuitive.
I mentioned before that I was a little overly critical about this game the first time I wrote this, and part of that was because of what I felt were “Fake stealth” missions, ones that look like you can approach stealthily, but really the only option was to go all with guns firing all over the place. But I realized there was one single weapon in the entire game that makes these missions actually possible through stealth, the Silenced Pistol. It’s a really straight forward and pretty overpowered weapon in this sense, but it’s also necessary to get through these missions without endless amounts of frustration. So to this game’s credit, yes stealth is possible and actually kinda fun with this gun, but ONLY because of this gun. I spent about a third of the game without it and it was insanely difficult.
Now lets talk about driving. Driving in this game is asinine, none of the cars feel natural, and nearly half of the missions involve driving! If the cops or any enemy is chasing after you, you have to get away by driving and there’s only 2 ways to actually escape enemies, not by hiding out in your secret hidden bases throughout the city, no that would be easy. Instead you have to either escape an area marked by the map, or you have to hide in a car and hope they don’t see you, only that option only works half the time. Driving is easily my least favorite part of the game, it’s not enjoyable in any way unless you’re driving a motorcycle, motorcycles actually drive really well but they’re useless for missions that require you to take down another vehicle.
The one aspect of the game I legitimately liked were the crimes. Occasionally if you read a text or listen to a conversation, you’ll hear about a potential crime, you go to the area, identify the person who is likely to be targeted or commit a crime, hide out and then chase down the perpetrators where you then break their knee caps. You also might sometimes just come across a mugging and you chase the guy down and break his knee caps. This randomness and realness factor that requires no driving is actually really fun!
One of my bigger issues with Watch_Dogs is that it doesn’t properly explain a lot of it’s mechanics, a lot of necessary mechanics, like switching weapons, crafting, driving, even attacking! The only unique thing that it does explain well is hacking, and that involves holding down one button and looking around until you see another thing to press the same button.
I can’t emphasize how bad this game is. Do not buy this game, at the very most, rent it or pass it along as a joke. The missions are so frustrating, I kept falling off ledges, having to restart 10s of minutes of gameplay at a time, running from the cops isn’t exciting it’s stupid. An occasional cop chase CAN be exciting, but when driving is 45% of the game, it’s not exciting anymore. If there were legitimate times when being stealthy was an option, or ANY of the main characters had personality instead of wannabe Batman, then we might have had a decent game.