On a Friday afternoon, I sat down on the couch and played Ubisoft’s WATCH_DOGS on my roommate’s XBOX ONE. For over four hours, I played this open world game.
In my review, I will rate the game’s four aspects, which are story, gameplay, graphics, and player experience, out of ten points. One point means total failure while ten points is absolutely mind blowing, and six points is average. Please note, I am not a hardcore gamer, so in the eyes of experienced critics, my opinion may be quite forgiving.
The player acts through Aiden Pearce, the main character of the game. He is a hacker and vigilante of Chicago. In this futuristic version of Chicago, ctOS, the computer system, runs the computer based infrastructure of the city, which Aiden exploits.
Story – 6
The WATCH_DOGS story is a revenge based narrative, where Aiden Pearce works to bring his enemies to justice. The story is a bit cliché but fits the “Big Brother” atmosphere with the surveillance cameras everywhere. The main character, Aiden, has a strained relationship with his sister’s family, which probably will be explored in the story. He has a few friends or allies, such as a hitman and a hacker. I do not want to spoil the story, so I will stop here.
Overall, the story was average.
Gameplay – 7
The WATCH_DOGS gameplay primarily focused a hacking concept, where Aiden Pearce has access to ctOS. Aiden can hack into people’s phones, surveillance cameras, and other technology. This hacking feature also reveals what a citizen’s private information, such as occupation, salary, and internet browsing habits.
Driving is simple and fairly controllable because the physics are not realistic, which is fine. In the city, there are plenty of vehicles to drive. I personally enjoyed driving a large fire truck, which I parked and hid behind to protect myself in a gunfight.
In terms of action, the player can fight in melee and with a gun. The combat kept me on my feet because the player intervenes in muggings, assaults, and etc. The attacker might have a gun instead of a knife, so the player has to choose between a melee attack or firearm.
The hacking concept made the gameplay innovative and enlightening when the player gets to see embarrassing information about the citizens of Chicago. This is why the rating is slightly above average.
Graphics – 6
WATCH_DOGS’s graphics are on par with the hardware of the XBOX ONE. The character’s faces are realistic. Chicago’s futuristic architecture appears detailed. The weather is dynamic, where rain pours after a time of cloudy skies.
The graphics appeared average. Nowadays, a developer must do something extraordinary to make their game’s graphics stand out from the competition.
Player Experience – 6
The game’s experience seemed average with its open world gameplay, and its difficulty level allowed any new players to jump right into the environment without prior experience. The game appeared similar to its competitor, Grand Theft Auto V.
The police annoyed me beyond my expectations in the first part of the story mission. A sub-mission in part one’s story involved the main character fleeing from the police, which was incredibly challenging, because after getting away from the police pursuers, the police send out a helicopter and scanners. The police roam around the neighborhood for your presence, and the only choice is to challenge the pursuers again to escape. Unfortunately, you can only use the sports car initially given at the beginning of the sub-mission.
I spent over an hour on escaping from the police, where I conducted the “learn by doing” philosophy. I tried utilizing the environment to the maximum effect by manipulating traffic lights, traffic posts, drawbridges, and AI cars. I purposely entered an old suburban neighborhood, where traffic would be slower in attempting to escape from the police. Eventually, I found the solution to everything that I mentioned above as well as conserving my vehicle without crashing into too many cars. Most importantly, I used brute speed to outrun the police scanners.
Overall the experience was average. The video game challenged me with its hacking feature and its meticulous police.
The First Call – 6.25/10
From my short time of playing WATCH_DOGS, I recognized that this game has something special, such as the great blending the hacking gameplay and the open world of futuristic Chicago. The game featured amazing cinematic melee combat, where melee is initiated once in range and the computer takes care of the fighting. I enjoyed the game’s strong points, but on occasion, the gameplay felt a bit dull, such as running around the city without a car.
Totaling up 6, 7, 6, and 6, the sum is 25 and divide by 4. I give this game a 6.25 out of 10. The game “hacked” into the video game market and possessed great potential, which I hope will be fulfilled in the sequel.