The newly released PlayStation 4 game, Watch Dogs, has been widely anticipated by video game enthusiasts and critics for years since its announcement. As of today, the game has opened to lukewarm reviews from fans and critics. Ubisoft’s open world thriller was poised to be the Playstation 4’s response to the very successful Grand Theft Auto V for the Xbox, which earned $1 billion in its first three days in retail. Set in a fictionalized Chicago, Watch Dogs puts you into the shoes of vigilante and hacker Aiden Pearce. After losing his niece, Pierce pursues vengeance against the powers that be in the futuristic and oppressive city.
Andrew Webster, from The Verge, stated the game’s plot is “standard” and “not particularly compelling.” Webster also contended that the game is full of long “drawn-out sequences,” which inhibit the experience. Webster does compliment the tools at the user’s disposal when playing. The character can hack into cameras and spy on people and disrupt traffic signals, but Webster does say that there is a lot of “busywork” that the user has to get through.
Watch Dogs’s Chicago is a city under strict surveillance. A city wide operating system, CTOS, controls almost every aspect of the city. All of the inhabitants are connected to it, so the system wields information about all of the citizens in the town. Webster complimented the statement made about privacy and the importance of utilizing technology for honorable purposes. However, he does criticize that the game eschews this narrative in favor of the “generic” revenge story.
Many lukewarm reviews, provided during the opening of Watch Dogs, criticize the game’s graphics for not being as great as the demo presented during last year’s E3 conference. Steven Rugyrok, from The Examiner, highlights this issue. Rugyrok contends that the visuals do no hold up to what was presented, but asserts both: that the game still looks great, and the Watch Dogs is more about gameplay and story than visuals. Rugyrok argues that the story’s characters are engaging and fun, citing he was always entertained and excited by the personalities of Jordi Chin and Damien Brenks; whom, he cites, as providing great comedic relief and support the story immensely. Rugyrok did illustrate his grievance for not being able to make Pearce shoot while driving, a common technique used in Grand Theft Auto V. In conclusion, Rugyrok said that the game is fun and worth its money.
Not all of the reviews released during the game’s opening are as complementary; Jack Pooley, from What Culture, described Watch Dogs as not only lukewarm, but disappointing. Pooley stated that the game’s driving mechanics don’t even compare to Grand Theft Auto 5. He describes them as unresponsive, limiting, and jarring. Pooley also states that the Watch Dogs’s driving physics are “unconvincing,” citing an instance where he drove through police cars effortlessly but was stopped cold by a tree. He also criticized the game for its “repetitive” and “irritating” missions. Pooley argues that the game “borrows” from other Ubisof games such as Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell.
By Andres Loubriel