Platform: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, mobile app
Tim says: 4 out of 5 stars
Ubisoft’s open-world action-adventure game “Watch Dogs” finally was released after a long delay, much to the amusement of many gamers, as it was released for all consoles, PC and even mobile devices. The game is set within a fictional version of Chicago and centers on hacker Aiden Pearce.
Played from a third-person perspective, “Watch Dogs” follows Pearce on a revenge mission in which he must use his hacking skills to find a resolution. Players hack into Chicago’s centralized computer system, ctOS, using Pearce’s cell phone to control everything from street lights and citizens’ cell phones to cameras and even billboards. Players have a choice in the game to play as law-abiding vigilantes or cold-blooded criminals. There are also several online modes that enable players to compete against both friends and strangers.
“Watch Dogs” is filled with tons of fun content in which players can indulge. In single-player mode, the game offers a cinematic story along with many side missions — so many that I haven’t yet tried them all out, and I’ve had the game for a week now. There are mini games like chess and poker and even some alien and soul-devouring augmented reality missions. Players can check into 100 hotspots for a Foursquare-type check-in service, complete with mayors and all. On top of the immensely insane number of single-player missions is a multitude of multiplayer types as well. Players can tail other players, hack them or play with a team to see who hacks an object first. There is even a mode in which players on the console or PC can compete against mobile players.
However, a few of the mechanics in “Watch Dogs” do seem off. For one, the single-player story is a bit erratic and hard to follow initially. Also, money in the game is so easy to come by that it is not at all valuable. The constant hacking UI pop-ups can become distracting and annoying. Finally, vehicle control is a bit loose and awkward for a game that features a lot of vehicle chases, but it does get better with time.
Perhaps not the hyped-up game most gamers thought it would be, “Watch Dogs” does bring an impressive amount of content and a new take on open-world gaming. Hacking feels very natural, not gimmicky, and the game features a fluid and flexible combat system. Also, the multiplayer mode is integrated wonderfully without being invasive. Although not revolutionary, “Watch Dogs” is worth your time as you hack your way into supremacy.