Watch Dogs Review – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Ubisoft Montreal had been working on Watch Dogs for almost five years, and I still couldn’t find the reason why it took so long for them to develop an open world game. And of course! The game was nowhere near the E3 demo!

As soon as I got the game, I wandered around the city, just like any GTA person would do. Unfortunately, the Watch Dogs world isn’t ‘open’ enough to explore like in the GTA games. Moreover, the game itself is a derivative from several open world games like, Far Cry 3, The Saboteur, Saints Row and other similar open world games that are far better than this so called ‘Next Gen’ game, all featuring towers around the city to be unlocked.

The Good

Ubisoft Montreal had done an awesome job in bringing up the entire Chicago city inside the game. Kudos! For what it’s worth the creative assistance from the Kaspersky Labs saved the game from being the gaming version of the movie ‘Hackers’. The futuristic ‘digitial dystopian world’ (?) has its futurism and fiction blended to the right level. Though the plot clashes our rational minds often, it is better, and for most of the part, it’s Aiden-centric. And the online hacking… It’s something different and good! Period!

Side missions, wifi hacks, and some cool leisure games are some of the good features inside this futuristic Chicago and it serves as a little off certification for the bored explorers. Stealth missions are okay for a normal player, and it would be the best if the AI could be more realistic and challenging. After ten minutes of contemplation, that’s all the good part I can draw from the game!

The Bad

It’s the driving. The driving physics and realism are horrible and you would even start screaming the very first time you get into a car in Watch Dogs. If you are a GTA fanatic, you’ll definitely be let down! It’s more like driving a vehicle strapped with tons of invisible steel and concrete under its chassis. It would’ve been a little better if the wheels were a little drift-friendly for those awesome drifts we’ve experienced in GTA.

Crashes are horrible too! You crash into the poles, a truck, a car, and run over some pedestrians, but ayou can barely notice a single scratch on those shiny surface. The car wrecks and visible damage comes only after some ten or twenty heavy crashes. And they took five years for this physics + the last year in removing all the good part out of the game.

Lack of airplanes and helicopters is another big blow to the open world expectations. The grandness of the game could’ve been pushed up a notch by giving the player, a chance to explore the magnificent Chicago from the air. Lack of ‘real adventures’ is another story!

The fixer contracts are okay in the beginning and as the game progresses, the primitive AI, repetitive themes, and the horrendous driving mechanics made it worse and sucked out the interest out of those missions.

The Ugly

It’s Ubisoft and the AI! They made an exclusive engine for this game and somehow they messed up the little things about the AI. I started the game in realistic mode expecting some heavy challenges. Unfortunately, Ubisoft shattered my heart again with a poorly responsive AI. They were too far from realistic.

In the mission ‘Backseat Driver’ where you are supposed to escape from the cops, this blunder is well reflected, as the AI was too predictable. It really made no sense when the cops turned a deaf ear for my honks.

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Let’s talk about those shiny graphics they promised at the demo day! As a PC gamer, I’m terribly disappointed with the graphics of the end product. The quality was so poor compared to the demo.

Ubisoft chickened out and streamlined the crap out of their original graphics, only to suit consoles and other low-end systems. It’s not a ‘revolutionary next-gen graphics’ stuff as hyped by Ubisoft! The reflection and texture bungles remained the same, the stairs went transparent at times, poor draw distance and shadows – it will be a disaster unless they patch it. We all know Ubisoft will come up with a patch and some apologies for such blunders very soon.

Anyways, considering all this, the game will be a perfect amusement for regular gamers, but a disappointment for hardcore gamers or a guy like me who loves to nitpick.

The game still rocks and Ubisoft Montreal cannot be blamed too much, as no game is perfect. Go for it if you love an awesome open world game and make sure you report all the bugs and request a damn patch for these blunders.

Update:

The graphical elements used in the game at E3 demo are still in the game files and can be applied to the game with a little hack. More information can be found in this video’s description part.

This post was first published on May 31, 2014.

Karthikeyan KC

Aeronautical Engineer, Science Fiction Author, Gamer, and an Explorer. I am the creator of Geekswipe. I love writing about Physics and Astronomy. I am now creating Swyde.

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3 Responses

  1. AuroraLiberty

    I regret preordering it. Uplay is a crap and everything is a crap in this. Ubisoft hacked me :/ Shitty game! Shitty developer!