There is no denying that Ubisoft’s new IP is a winner, while ringing the bells of a very familiar and loved franchise at the same time.
Watch Dogs is arguably GTA like in many respects, but with the addition of hacking. It hit me right from the get go that while Watch Dogs is a hot new franchise for Ubisoft, it hits on so many similar notes as GTA does, but it also goes off in its own and exciting direction as well, it plays like a typical Ubisoft open world game, and that isn’t a bad thing at all in the minds of many gamers.
You play through the campaign trying to find justice for a lost niece, and the main protagonist Aiden Pearce is an interesting character, without much personality, but also extremely gripping as the storyline plays out. The storyline is one of Watch Dog’s major good points.
The main tool in Watch Dogs is your smartphone, you hack into the CtOS Network, and you can profile anybody, from members of the public to security guards and policemen. When you profile a person, you see what their job is, their annual income, and a weird quirk or interest that they may have, for example a security guard that I profiled on my first hour or so of gaming had a “fetish for modern design”.Watch Dogs does a great job of entertaining throughout, and I found myself compelled to continue profiling more and more people as the game went on, for my own enjoyment and curiosity more than anything.
Graphically, Watch Dogs is ok, and that is where much of the talking point has been since the game came out. Watch Dogs was slated to be a next gen launch game, but Ubisoft delayed the game for an additional six months to “make the game as good as possible”.
I agree with the critics to a large extent, Watch Dogs doesn’t look, play, or perform like the polished title that Ubisoft promised or even showed at E3 a couple of years ago. Its buggy, a trait that has been frequent in many Ubisoft titles, especially Assassins Creed. There has been talk that the PC version was downgraded in order to make the PS4 and Xbox One versions look better graphics wise, and PC gamers are raging on social media, claiming (without evidence proving otherwise as well) that the PC version of Watch Dogs is the poorest running in terms of graphics and gameplay.
In my view, Watch Dogs runs poorly in some aspects, and it looks like a game that could have come out for the launches of PS4 and Xbox One. The additional delay didn’t improve much, at least in terms of what you see on the surface, but god only knows how bad the game could have run if Ubisoft stuck with the November 2013 release.
But with the poor buggy annoyances, Watch Dogs is a standout game, and one of the best I have played on PS4 so far. It rings bells of GTA, but Watch Dogs stands alone in its claim to fame, it can be compared to GTA, but shouldn’t be judged as a success or a failure next to GTA either, and it is well worth the buy from what I have experienced so far. Could it be a viable franchise to release an annual version of? Well if Ubisoft can do it with Assassins Creed, then they can do the same with Watch Dogs, or maybe bring it out once every couple of years like they do with the Far Cry franchise.