Review: Watch_Dogs

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Release date
: 2014
Version played: Xbox One in 2015

+ The game looks pretty, particularly at night or in the rain, except for the horrible reflections, which literally never actually show whatever should be reflected
+ Cover system is responsive, if unrealistic (eg. hiding behind tiny boxes provides full cover). Seems to be based off of the newer entries into Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell franchise
+ Traversal is smooth and generally reliable, though a lack of a dedicated ‘jump’ button is frustrating, particularly over very small gaps, and it is never completely clear if a wall is too high, or just unable to be climbed for whatever reason
+ The option to go in guns blazing, or try to get in and out unseen with no casualties was a welcome change from the “choice” most games give
+ Side missions vary in quality, but each are generally enjoyable enough to want to continue, each leading to a ‘final’ mission of that type

– Suffers from the same ‘omniscient cops’ that most GTA-like games do; even when the police should logically have no idea where I am, they appear in force nearby
– The random crime events are same old, every time. It gets to the stage where the penalty for just shooting them is worth it for not having to chase them down on foot.
– The ‘scanning’ system, that is the main gimmick of the game, will get slightly repetitive.
– The soundtrack (in-game radio) is pretty horrible (this is obviously subjective, but I really only enjoyed a handful of the songs)

> A few references to the Assassin’s Creed games (another Ubisoft property) show up, which was pretty cool. That makes Assassin’s Creed, Watch_Dogs and Far Cry all take place in the same universe
> There is one long loading time between starting up the game and getting into the world, but then there is the entire city of Chicago available with little to no pop-in. Only other loading screens are from quitting or retrying missions you have already started.

Should you play this game: Probably not. If you are itching for a “like GTA, but” game then I would suggest the similarly named, but entirely different in substance Sleeping Dogs instead. If you’ve got nothing else to play, then give this a go.

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