REVIEWS | July 1st, 2014
Watch Dogs review

After being delayed from October last year, here is Watch Dogs; published by Ubisoft and developed by Ubisoft Montreal. It has been released for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC. Here is the open-world experience from the eyes of our hero named Aiden Pearce in his hacking story of Watch Dogs.

What if I told you that you can hold the city in your hands and nothing would be unreachable or unavailable? Bank accounts, personal information, city devices such as traffic lights, surrounding traps that could immobilize any pursuing enemies and more with just a push of a button. Well, all this is possible in Watch Dogs as you are a hacker in this system that controls the city designed and run by the company called ctOS. Yep, the city is in your hands, hack into traffic lights, burst steam pipes, unlock doors, hack cameras, ATMs and more.

We have a techno-thriller fictions which is centred on Aiden Pearce who has made a job which went wrong with his partner Damien Brenks in trying to hack and steal a bank at the Merlaut Hotel. Things went really wrong as another hacker intersected Aiden and exposing Aiden, a hit was called on him. This ended up in tragedy as his 9 year old niece died in a car accident after being attacked by someone. Aiden, now a vigilante who is also known as The Fox seeks vengeance on those who called the hit and to also discover what was the reason.

The game takes part in the city of Chicago which can be instantly noticed that the level of detail is fantastic around you, especially easy to identify the real city with key places and spots. The surroundings, people, cars, and destructible objects make the city alive and looking at it is a fantastic experience. Now, exploring it is another eye catching experience. With your smart phone you can go through the citizens and profile them when using your smart phone using the Square button. This will give you access to their personal information, giving you the ability to hack their phone thus gaining entry to their bank accounts, messages and another naughty information about them. Hey, you could even discover a former Abstergo employee, the Social Marketing Manager at Xbox EMEA, Acey Bongos. There is a lot of discover and a bunch of Easter eggs to find out about the citizens of Chicago. During the campaign you could also gain entry or passwords from key people to have access to a location.

Apart from looking at people and learning some interesting facts there are a number of surprises in the game which do not require you to hack people, like when I started playing the game, I can see Aiden’s nephew playing Child of Light on his tablet. You will discover that there is in fact one of the NPC being Galtero Blanco, the main character from Breaking Bad; Raving Rabbids toys and adverts in Jacks bedroom; T-Bone’s collection of games include Assassin’s Creed; Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon arcade machine (Too bad you cannot play it) and much more. Yep, the city has more to explore than one might think.

The city, apart from the campaign missions is filled with opportunities, which can either be played during the game or when you finish. These side missions include Fixers contracts, Crafting locations, investigation locations for suspicious organizations of human trafficking, Gang hideouts, Criminal convoys, cash runs and more.

The combat system offers a good variety of weapons and gadgets. Some might say that the hacking of the environment is dull and boring. In a matter of fact yes, since you would need only to press the Circle button to do so; but mix that in combat and you will get a fantastic action packed experience. During combat you can still control cameras, remotely detonate people holding grenades, distract enemies by lifting a forklift or by activating a vending machine, explode or burst pipes. All these combined with a rifle make shooting moments easier and intelligent. In most mission you can either go Rambo style or get past the enemies and to your destination without them knowing. Adding to this the covering system working great and smooth, moving or sliding from one cover position to another makes gameplay more comfortable.

As a character, Aiden is not much appealing as personality thou he tries to hide a lot of his personal feelings; but the supporting cast is great, especially Jordi Chen with his sarcastic jokes and calmness during critical moments. I leave you with one quote of him after breaking into two old people’s home saying “Guess what, it’s not the pizza guy”. The voice acting and soundtrack were a fantastic addition to the gameplay experience and to get you straight into the story mood. The sound effects of the weapons is unique along with the car engines.

Driving is good and the uniqueness of the cars makes the driving experience much better, but it looks a bit arcade-ish. The breakable objects and smashing through most of the things around the city adds to the fun. Car chases thou it would be a bit disappointing with the lack of combat option. Apart from the enemies driving and shooting you, you would have to get out of the car to shoot them back. While driving you can hack the surrounding to stop the cars, but if it would have had the ability to shoot through the car window, it would been much better.

The multiplayer feature as we talked before is embedded in the game and you don’t have to switch from one mode to another. You can be either the hacker or the victim. In-game you will be notified that someone is hacking you and you need to find him and profile him to stop the hack. Mulitplayer also features up to 8 players in both cooperative and competitive modes. The multiplayer works fine and it blends seamlessly in the game without losing the mood.

In Conclusion

Watch Dogs has great stuff to offer for the open-world genre, with its live city, mission variety and hacking powers. The story is solid and it was fun playing it and the replay ability was fantastic. The multiplayer incorporated in the single player mode was a bold move which in my opinion ended up in a fantastic experience.

And from the looks at it if you finish off the game and wait for the credits you will see hints of maybe Watch Dogs 2? Who knows…

Watch Dogs was reviewed by and rated at 9 /10
4 New Versions of L.A. NOIRE coming this November