Watch Dogs: American Vigilantism/Criminality At Its Finest
By Bradley Lewis
Imagine a world where all electronics and utilities are interconnected and run by a central supercomputer. Where everyone has their entire life in databases and possess a mobile device that contains loads of information about themselves. What? You do not have to imagine that? You mean we kind of have that in places? Oh, my bad. Well, that is the city of Chicago in Watch Dogs.
Watch Dogs is an open world, third person shooter set in a fictional version of Chicago. The setting will seem familiar to all those that have played a modern open world game. It is very similar to all other attempts at this genre and nothing really sets it apart; other than the hacking of literally everything that you can imagine. Yes, you want to hack a stranger's phone while he is passing you on the street? Sure, you can do that. Want to blow up steam pipes in the middle of the road to stop a police chase? Yeah, that is possible. Want to bring up barriers behind your vehicle while turning onto a side street? You can do that for sure! The City of Chicago in Watch Dogs is filled with hackable objects that make for very entertaining moments.
The story of Watch Dogs revolves around the life of Aiden Pearce. Aiden lives an interesting life to say the least. He is a man that uses the hacking ability of the central supercomputer to his own financial well being. His and his partner’s actions lead to the death of his niece which sends Aiden on a vigilante mission of vengeance to find the man responsible. As Aiden, you have the choice of going throughout the city as a vigilante or as a criminal yourself. You can choose to help out citizens or to just kill people randomly and wreak havoc because lets just face it, some men just want to watch the world burn.
The multiplayer component is somewhat lacking in Watch Dogs, even though it is the feature that looked the most promising. Getting it to work most of the time is the largest issue since connecting to the Ubisoft servers is sometimes a miracle in and of itself. The addition of players coming into your game randomly to hack you is a good and interesting mechanic for an open world game, but there is a downside. The issue that arose in multiplayer, was a game mode where you tried to hold onto intel until you could download the file while being chased by other players. Sounds pretty simple, but it is very difficult because players can take the intel away if they stay within a certain distance and also they can kill you multiple ways. But that isn't the complaint. The problem is that you can play such a mission and lose all progress because of a server disconnect which leads to utter disappointment.
The game being delayed about 6 months is a good move since there are probably many less glitches and problems in the gameplay. But the fact that there are still issues in large open world multiplayer games like this is more of a lesson developers are learning industry wide than just here. And also the co-op experience is lacking as well. When you enter into a co-op game with your friends, the connection can be hindered and cause huge frame-rate problems when you get close to another player. Co-op was not a smooth experience when played and that is a huge disappointment for a game that promised so much about the multiplayer aspect.
There are many times in Watch Dogs that you encounter situations that are somewhat hysterical and disturbing. One, in particular, is a businessman talking on the phone in his office and complaining about a stripper that he ordered. He is wanting his money back because he did not order the naughty nurse and the conversation continues on for about a minute about this. Another time a man is standing in the doorway to a bedroom and is talking about how he is gong to strangle the woman on the bed, but then she awakens. He then responds kindly and lovingly to his significant other when she speaks to him, a very disturbing and somewhat funny episode.
Watch Dogs is a great game and it does pretty much everything well. The gameplay is great along with the story. The multiplayer/co-op component is the major aspect that is lacking. It is full of moments that lead to really cool crashes and fun shootouts.
Watch Dogs gets 8.0 out of 10.0.
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