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Watch Dogs Review

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal | Publisher: Ubisoft
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 05/27/14 | Genre: Action

‘Everything is connected...’ In the world of Watch Dogs everything is connected, and impacts different aspects of the game. Playing Watch Dogs, you take the role of Aiden Pearce, a hacker turned vigilante after a hitman is sent after him and his loved ones as revenge for one of his attempted hacks, and the only person to survive a devastating car crash caused by the hitman is himself. I say ‘attempted hack’ because that’s exactly what it was, merely attempted, and you will play the rest of the game, in the end, to eventually find out what exactly Aiden was going to uncover if the hack had been successfully completed, as well the person whom was responsible for sending the hitman--with plenty of plot twists and turns along the way.

While on the subject of the storyline, I have to say that, to me, it is what stood out most prominently as a good aspect of the game. Some of the plot twists I’ve seen previously, and were a little unoriginal, but I feel that they still brought the story across really well, that got you to connect with Aiden and the characters surrounding him. That’s just my opinion, though--take it for what you will.

Watch Dogs isn’t just some visual novel or something, though--it’s an action game! The way that Ubisoft managed to blend the hacking aspects of the game with gunfights, and car chases is definitely something to behold, and immensely fun to play. One thing I will have to point out, though, as far as the mechanics go is the fact that, during a police chase, when erupting a pipe under the street, it typically does not take out but one police car, even though the area of effect should be large enough to hit 2, if not 3 cars. Aside from that little bit, I would have to say I was greatly impressed with the mechanics of the game.

Everything is connected, I already mentioned that, right? In Watch Dogs your primary weapon is Aiden’s smartphone, yes? Well, what better than to use your own phone to take part in this game? Well, Ubisoft made that possible too. Since this review is about the game and not about the companion app, I won’t go into too heavy of detail, but I will say that I think that Ubisoft did a superb job in integrating the use of the mobile app in tandem with the game. The only thing one might be a little disappointed about was the fact that we were originally told that a player on the console or PC game would be able to ‘call for assistance from a mobile player,’ though there is no such ability to do this, which is fairly disappointing.

I would say that the single player aspects of Watch Dogs were done really well, but I do think that the multiplayer system was a bit under-developed and a little lacking. First off--when you think about playing multiplayer on a game, what usually comes to mind? I don’t know about you, but, for me, I typically first think about playing with friends. Well, there are multiplayer game modes with teamplay involved, but, what good does that do you if there is no way to group up with your friends, and you end up on opposite teams, when what you wanted to do was play with your friends, and not against them? So, first and foremost, this is my number one plight with the game.

So, if you can’t really play online with your friends on Watch Dogs, then the question is--what can you do on your own? Well, you can play the group game modes, or you can play 1 versus 1 modes, and through either, you gain notoriety, as well as unlock a few things--some unlocks are made available by increasing your notoriety, and others are unlocked by playing a certain mode, and winning. Only downsides to this are--most of these unlocks are for multiplayer, and won’t do you any good if you play more single player than multiplayer, and the unlocks for single player items, etc. are not very many. Other than that, there really isn’t much to do in multiplayer, aside from competing on the leaderboards, but, let’s be honest here, not that many people have that much time available to them that they can play enough for that to be rewarding in any way.

Lastly, I’ll address one of the biggest discussed subjects of games, lately--graphics quality. Put simply, my opinion of it’s graphics was so-so. I say this because comparatively, there are a decent amount of other games that have come out prior to the release of Watch Dogs that are more graphically impressive than it, overall. The quality of the wet texturing was impressive, but the regular texturing of dry surfaces were a bit bland, and a little unimpressive. Additionally, the foliage left a bit to be desired, but the lighting was very nice, and the sun flare was neither too harsh or lacking as compared to some other games.

All this said, I would rate this game as a Try It. Mainly due to the fact that, as with any game, the single player aspect of the game though impressive, will only last so long, and I feel that the multiplayer experience is lacking. It’s an amazing, don’t get me wrong--it could just use a little work on it’s multiplayer system.

By Davis Wiitala - 06/08/14
ESRB Details: This is third-person shooter/action game in which players assume the role of Aiden Pearce, a hacker trying to find an evil mastermind. Players use pistols, machine guns, assault rifles, and explosives to kill various human enemies (e.g., criminals, police officers). When close to an enemy, players are able to shoot them in the head or knock them out with a black jack. Players have the ability to kill captives after (mostly) off-screen interrogations. Cutscenes depict further instances of violence (e.g., a man stabbed in the neck and shot multiple times). Combat is highlighted by cries of pain, blood-splatter effects, and realistic gunfire. The game includes several depictions of topless female characters. One prolonged scene depicts a topless women standing in a bedroom; another sequence depicts close-ups of topless women sitting down. The game also includes a few instances of sexual activity, including an obscured depiction of masturbation; a woman performing fellatio on a man; and a man thrusting against a woman from behind—camera angles obscure the sex act and no nudity is shown. During the course of the game, the central character is sometimes consumes large amounts of alcohol (the screen turns blurry); one sequence depicts characters using needles to inject themselves with drugs. The words “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “a*shole” can be heard in the dialogue.
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