This Tuesday just gone saw the release of UbiSoft’s much anticipated open-world piece Watch_Dogs, which I pre-ordered on Amazon and got on release day for PS4.
Be not afraid folks. It’s not a bad game. However, I’m not overly impressed considering the hype surrounding it, but I’ll get to the negatives later.
What I will say though is that it’s a grower, not a shower.
It gets compared to Grand Theft Auto V a lot and while GTA sucks you in and blows you away slightly from the start, with Watch_Dogs it takes time for you to really get into the game, the story and it’s characters.
But that’s just my opinion.
Anyone else who is playing the game or has played it will probably have their own opinion.
The story itself has been interesting so far. I can’t really say I’m totally hooked on it.
I understand the writers of this game didn’t want to go down the conventional route of a man seeking revenge for the death of a loved one. While most stories in this scenario are about a man losing his child or wife to a hit that was placed on his head, Watch_Dogs, tries to be different and not make it so conventional by going for Aiden Pearce’s young niece.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but some may feel it’s a little impersonal because that kid wasn’t his child (even though she still counts as family), but from another perspective, if it had been his kid, then most people playing the game might just feel that they are playing a typical revenge story and there’s nothing really different about Watch_Dogs‘ story that makes it stand out.
So on the story front it’s debatable but like most gamers, I’m in it for the gameplay.
And guys, the gameplay does not disappoint.
Some may feel slightly let down because the hacking part wasn’t as complicated as they were expecting, but I like the idea that it’s simple. Believe me, if I was being chased by the police, the last thing I’d want to do is work out some complicated algorithm just to change a set of traffic lights.
It makes getting into vehicles so much easier as well. In GTA, when you were trying to escape the police and needed to break into a car to do so, the character would take his time, look around, break the window, hop into the car, mess with the car’s wiring and then start the car.
In Watch_Dogs, one tap of the triangle button and you are set and good to go. When you escape the police, there’s a feeling of personal triumph when you speed ahead of them because you’ve caused an accident by changing the traffic lights or when you use the road block for them to drive straight into.
Another aspect that so many were looking forward to was the digital trips. In particular, the Spider Tank.
I can confirm…Spider Tank is so much fun.
There a lot of things to love about Spider Tank. Mayhem? Check. Challenging? Check. Fun? Definite check.
Those were the things I loved on Spider Tank. Even moving with Spider Tank or jumping around with it makes a freaky sound that you just can’t help but like it.
I haven’t tried the other digital trips yet because I wanted to try Spider Tank so bad. And I made a good call. In fact, Ubisoft made a good call by putting that into the game.
However…with all good things comes the bad. And I had some problems with the game.
My biggest gripe with the game comes mainly from one aspect: and that’s the driving.
From the trailers to the screenshots of the game, one would expect smooth, fluid driving mechanics. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen with this game.
To reiterate: It’s still not a bad game.
My reason for being annoyed at the driving at the game is how clunky it was. It was virtually impossible to drive a car in this game without hitting someone or something once.
There have been some many times on so many missions where the rigidness of the driving mechanics have affected my progress, meaning I’ve had to go back to my last check point and start that mission all over again and that annoys the hell out of me.
I’m not saying that the game is a disaster because the driving is horrendous.
But when you make an open world game, the driving has to be smooth, because in open world games, people like to drive, and when it’s not smooth it bogs the game down.
Yes, driving isn’t necessarily a huge negative factor to when it comes to open world games, but when I compare Watch_Dogs to Grand Theft Auto V like most people do, it’s that factor that makes me pick GTA ahead of Ubisoft’s product.
Because the driving was easy and fluid on GTA, I got so excited playing it, as it didn’t seem like extra effort and extra work when you’re going through the main campaign.
Not only do you have to take down someone who’s going to rat you out to the police on the highway, but you have to be concerned about how much speed you can actually apply to your car so you don’t hit anyone or anything and damage your car.
On this game you want to be recognised by it’s citizens as a hero, but with the driving I’ve gone from citizen to anarchist in a short amount of time. At the rate I’ve been playing this game I’ve just decided that I don’t care anymore, as long as I can make some progress in it.
At least when it comes to driving a motorcycle it is a lot, no, a hell lot easier than using a car. The braking problems do apply to motorcycles but at least the movement is more agile and less work.
And what’s annoying is the fact that there isn’t a frequent number of times or places where you could get a motorcycle.
What probably annoys me most about driving on Watch_Dogs is the fact that when you’re driving, it just looks absolutely stunning. Especially when you have to drive through the tunnel or on the freeway. It just looks so beautiful but it’s wasted on these shoddy mechanics.
And the way the game looks brings me to my other gripe. I’m playing this on PS4, so I’m expecting it to look amazing.
Unfortunately, I have to bring GTA up again, because, especially in the day time scenes, their resolutions look similar. However, Watch_Dogs looks best and shines most on next-gen when it comes to scenes in the rain or during the night.
The scenes at night when it’s raining stand out the most to me because of the level of detail that went into it.
It’s the smallest things like when a puddle is formed and you can see the little droplets of rain causing ripples in that puddle, or when you use a sniper rifle and if you’ve activated focus, the rain no longer turns into lines or streams of water but they appear as drops on your scope.
That’s pretty cool.
Admittedly, when I saw the first glimpse of gameplay for this game that was unleashed upon the internet, I was skeptical about getting Watch_Dogs, but the more that was showed, the more interested I got.
Overall, my impressions of the game have been mixed to positive. Like I said at the start, the more I play it, the more I like it. It takes time to grow on your affections, so don’t go rushing in expecting to be amazed from the off.
So what are your first impressions of Watch_Dogs? Do you agree with me? Or do you absolutely disagree? Do you think it’s a great game or terrible game?
Comments below please and see you on the next post!
(I’ll have a rating for the game attached to my official review of it – once I’ve completed it that is.)