Watch Dogs Review: Was the hype worth it?
Watch Dogs is a good game and it has some interesting features. Watch Dogs has gotten a lot of great press and a lot of praise from reviewers and the game industry. Does this mean everyone should run out and buy the game? Does Watch Dogs change open world games forever? Is the hype behind the game too much or does it live up to the lofty expectations?
Does it live up to the hype? Were the videos and excitement I experienced and saw at PAX Prime representative of the final product? I think so, at its core Watch Dogs is a very playable game. The story is interesting and has multiple twists and turns. Aiden’s abilities to hack into the city grid and change the environment to his liking is a new twist on the open world. There are a lot of options within the game from escaping pursuers by blacking out the system, creating traffic obstructions, or taking out the pursuers through other means. All of this keeps the game interesting and it never gets old. The leveling and progression meters only server to expand on Aiden's options.
Keeping the story in mind, I felt like the NPCs, both those essential to the the story and the random people in the game kept the game interesting. On of the features in Watch Dogs is Aiden can hack into random NPCs' conversations as well as intrude into building's security system. Both of these options create some awkward situations that may make gamers scratch their heads. Another idea the game showcases is Aiden’s cell phone. His cell phone serves as a tool to scan the environment and profile people, it can controls objects in the cTOS system, such as cameras and door. The cell phone also acts as a tool to order vehicles, invest in skills, and track the progress. The combat system isn’t the most robust, but there are a few nice tricks. Aiden’s ability to craft explosives comes in handy. The ability to hack the environment for cover and traps is another useful feature.
The online play is another feature which keeps the game unique. If gamers aren't careful, they can be hacked by other players at anytime and then the game becomes a game of cat and mouse. There is also online tailing where gamers must tail players from a distance. There is online decryption where gamers must compete to decrypt the file. Once this is decrypted, the players allies must defend them. in teams. Online races are fun and anyone with driving skills will come out on top. Users who have the ctOS mobile app on their phones or tablets can challenge others gamers to outrun the police.
Outside of the online play, there are some fun mini games. Chess, Poker, Drinking Games, NVZN which is an alternate reality game, and cash run. None of these are forced upon gamers and for the most part, if gamers do not want to participate they can ignore the games. There are digital experiences as well. These are a lot of fun. Madness has Aiden driving a car and smashing demons and zombies. Alone pits Aiden against Cyborgs and he has to rely on weapons he can find and stealth. Psychedelic has Aiden bouncing from flower to flower. Spider-Tank forces players to control a spider tank that can crush and shoot its way through downtown Chicago. Conspiracy tasks Aiden with profiling people with his phone and finding who is a cyborg. Did I mention there are skills for the digital experiences? Aiden will gain skills here as well.
There are some ideas in the game which aren't new. The idea of having a lot to do in the city and a lot to collect is nothing new. But at least it is on the map. There are fast travel points, so gamers don't have to spend 15 minutes traveling across the map. The vehicles are fun to drive and handle as they should, the cars don't feel floaty. As gamers can see, there is a lot to do in Watch Dogs. I have a feeling the game has lived up to the hype and Ubisoft should see a lot of sales from this. There are a lot of interesting ideas in and I feel as if there is a lot of potential for the series in the long run.