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Why we’ve stopped playing Watch Dogs

Thursday, 19 June 2014 08:24 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Watch Dogs is a great game built by a huge team of very talented people. But it’s not perfect, and we can’t be arsed with it any more. Here’s why the VG247 crew has moved on.

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Watch Dogs is a triumph for Ubisoft, selling like hot cakes on both sides of the pond and proving once again that when it comes to huge open-world action adventure games it really has its production lines in order. It’s definitely not a bad game, and many people enjoy it.

One month on, when we’ve had time to faff about with it at our leisure, we’ve mostly gone off it. Here’s why Watch Dogs just isn’t doing it for us any more:

The novelty of hacking wears off quickly.

No, give Ubisoft the credit it deserves: the hacking in Watch Dogs is cool. Raising and lowering bridges, messing with traffic lights and bollards, shifting trains about, peeking into people’s lives – that’s all brilliant stuff, and a lot of fun.

The problem is that it’s strapped to a pretty tired genre – the open-world action adventure – and this one differentiating factor just isn’t enough to make us feel interested in another million-hour side activity marathon. In the beginning, hacking is awesome and you want to do it all the time, but it soon becomes just another tool, and that’s when the rest of the game starts to underwhelm.

It goes for about three centuries.

Part of the reason why the novelty of hacking wears off is that Watch Dogs is so long. Like the Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry games (and competing titles like GTA and Saints Row), it’s absolutely packed with content. Now, if you only play one or two games a year, maybe that’s perfect for you; maybe you need that to feel like you get your money’s worth. For many other people, the dragging on of mission after similar mission starts to grate.

We’re in that camp. Watch Dogs feels unnecessarily padded, and stops being fun. Again, the rest of the game experience just isn’t enough to keep you going on, doing the same thing over and over; it has none of the insolence of GTA or the self-awareness of Saints Row to inspire you to keep going.

watch_dogs

The city doesn’t feel alive.

The Chicago of Watch Dogs is a tremendous technical achievement. It might not be quite up to GTA 5′s level, but it’s certainly the best city we’ve seen on consoles besides that, and second place to Rockstar’s stunning effort is not an insult. Comparisons of screenshots from Watch Dogs and photos of Chicago show off how beautifully Ubisoft have captured the city’s shape and form, while exercising judicious artistic license to lend it the drama and gravity required of a gritty modern video game.

Unfortunately, Ubisoft Montreal haven’t managed to capture the feel of Chicago. The thing about Chicago, the thing that makes it an important place and not just a convenient spot to move cargo between riverboats, is that a shit ton of people live there. Absolutely nobody lives in Chicago except Aiden and a few other main characters; the NPCs are lifeless and colourless and behave like weird little robots as your prance among them, overturning their lives. They seem so cool at first, with their own little personality traits and background stories, but it doesn’t take very long before you realise there’s no meaning to this randomly-generated information; it has absolutely no effect on the game, and you’ll hit duplicates faster than you might expect.

watch_dogs_conspiracy_1

The best bits aren’t scripted.

Yes, we admit it: there are some really great stories coming out of Watch Dogs. It gives you just enough tools that being set loose in the city can lead to incredible adventures. Just wandering around and interacting with things can trigger some great emergent behaviour, and if another player invades your world, the most amazing shit can go down.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen very often. Like, at all. For most of the time, Watch Dogs just plays out like an other action adventure game, and the little mechanics that ought to fit together beautifully don’t. Some of this is to do with the dull AI, as discussed above, but it’s also because the missions make so little use of the world. It’s just go here, kill that guy, get this thing – so much linearity, and very few opportunities to get some real sandbox play under your belt.

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60 Comments

  1. seireitei

    I played about 10 minutes on PC. Had some nasty SLI graphics bugs and am still waiting for the game to be patched…. not happy…

    #1 9 months ago
  2. Gekidami

    Realities video games arent allowed to use:

    -Something set in Africa is going to have a lot of black people in it

    -Street gangs tend to have more minority groups in them

    Oh and no more white devils!

    I agree with a lot of the points here about the actual game and its content. But of course, of course being written by Brenna it had to have this dumb over-sensitive PC enforcing crap in it.

    #2 9 months ago
  3. TheWulf

    This is how I feel about a lot of mainstream releases.

    - The setting is atrociously familiar, unimaginative, and safe. No risks are taken in doing anything surprising or new. Worse, there’s often a slightly ‘right-wing view of the world’ spin on things, to suit the lowest common denominator.

    - Touching on the above point further, the setting is frequently racist, sexist, and generally abominable, just to appeal to the lowest common denominator — healthy, extroverted, straight, white, cis-gendered men of low IQ.

    - The setting is as real world as possible, to make the player feel empowered within a facsimile of what they can’t have in reality (externalised thinking). Sometimes fast cars and sex is thrown in as well, to complete the ‘stupid person fantasy’ grab bag.

    - The story is written for dude-bros, thus anti-intellectual and also safe. It’s never going to make them think, feel vulnerable, or consider their views. It’s just going to reinforce everything they all ready take for granted. So it seems stupid to the rest of us.

    - The story in and of itself is a very, very weak excuse for violence in general, as most dude-bros aren’t paying attention to that. All they want to do is kill shit in what’s yet another kill-a-thon, about killing people, with nothing else but the killing. To kill.

    - The characters are depressingly one-dimensional, stereotypical, and clichéd. As such, they’ll often say the most ridiculously dumb Hollywood-esque things. This ties into how the game reaffirms the world views of the lowest common denominator.

    - The main characters tend to be douchebaggy, meant for dude-bros. I mean, really, have you heard them talk in trailers? They’re arseholes! The excuse for that much violence frequently is that they are an arsehole. But… I don’t want to play an arsehole!

    - The game is designed to desensitise us to and glorify Hollywood-esque violence. Usually by having us play a complete arsehole (see above). So we’re seeing the world through the eyes of a silver screen psychopath, basically. High brow entertainment!

    - The mechanics share an unchallenging verisimilitude with almost every other mainstream title. This way it sells more easily, since the lowest common denominator understands it the moment they sit down with it (no tutorials or manual required).

    - The novelties and gimmicks quickly pass, revealing the aforementioned point. This shows the game to be ultimately shallow, and a clone of every other FPS/action adventure of recent years, just with tiny differences tacked on.

    And this continues to be true. I mean, when I played Skyrim, I was bored by the mind-numbingly easy puzzles and endless violence. I didn’t like how much of a total arsehat my character was, despite not playing him that way. He was a jerk, the game was designed to make him so. In fact, the only part of Skyrim I really enjoyed, that wasn’t player made, was the one with Paarthurnax.

    The xenophobic Blades sent me to kill Paarthy, so I went to warn him about them. So instead of killing him, I sat down and had a long, philosophical chat with him about the inherent nature of good and evil. That was incredibly memorable, and clearly not meant for the dude-bros. If the game had been almost entirely that, with some puzzling thrown in, I would have been happy.

    But that’s just me. I’m okay with ‘solve some puzzles, go sit with a dragon to philosophise about life, the Universe, and everything for a few hours, then go solve some more puzzles.’ It’s better than what I’m being offered right now. And Paarthurnax seemed like he had some interesting things to say, too! But no, can’t scare the dude-bros, so Paarthy’s voice was quickly taken away.

    The ONE, SOLE interesting character I find in the whole damn game is the kinds of dragons we’re supposed to be killing. Can I side with the dragons, please? I’ll let them do whatever they want with the world, I just want to sit and talk with them about shit.

    And games often leave me feeling cold because of that, because they’re so dull, and I’m so starved for games with good characterisation, thinking, and puzzles that the recent Tex Murphy game felt like a veritable feast to me. I cautiously looked out from under my videogame hobo’s box, I snatched at a few hors d’oeuvres, and they were delicious. I slowly inched my way along inside my box to the table from whence they came, eased myself up, and my eyes widened as the table glowed with a feast of exotic and unfamiliar foods from distant lands, all of which carried scents to my nose I’d never experienced and made my mouth water.

    By comparison, the lowest common denominator has been gorging themselves at feast tables for years now. Gorging. Gorging. Gorging. They’re fat. Stupid. And still gorging. I’ll take whatever scraps I can get, I suppose.

    #3 9 months ago
  4. budgiesmuggler

    Played 3 missions on PS4 and got bored with it.
    Instantly hated the driving dynamics and ridiculous sound effects of the various types of vehicles.

    Was expecting so much from this game but am left completely dissatisfied and to add insult to injury, I’m now £45 lighter in the wallet.

    Oh well, there’s always Farcry 4 to look forward to…… :-)

    #4 9 months ago
  5. TheWulf

    I mean, sure, as an addendum I’ll give you that Paarthurnax was almost the draconic equivalent of a Japanophile, slipping words of his own culture into sentences and then explaining them; And I’ll even give you that he was a bit emo, to boot. But damn, he was an intelligent pacifist with interesting things to say.

    After hours of idiot fascist elves, idiot racist nords, and just idiots in bloody general… here was this dragon, saying something that wasn’t idiotic. Holy fucking shit. I was completely mesmerised and hanging on every word. This is how video games make me feel, now. They’re so dumb that if they introduce an even marginally interesting and/or intelligent character, I won’t want to part from them. I’ll just… sit by them, even if they have nothing else to say.

    Because in five minutes, they’ve given me more than the rest of the game has in hours. And I tried to like Skyrim. I hated Skyrim. I loved Paarthurnax. I wanted to save Paarthurnax from Skyrim and put him in something else where he could philosophise at people all day about pacifism and whatever took his fancy. He had a wonderful voice, too. And… you even find an elder dragon at one point…

    Speak… if you have ought worth the saying.

    I DO! I HAVE MUCH WORTH THE SAYING! BUT I’M WEIRDLY MUTE, NOW. I CAN’T TALK. ALL I CAN DO IS FLAIL MY ARMS AT YOU PLAINTIVELY AND HOPE THAT SOMEHOW YOU’LL UNDERSTAND I’M TRYING TO SAY SOMETHING.

    After Paarthurnax, I desperately wanted to talk to that dragon.

    After that, I gave up.

    I felt that Paarthurnax had given me the best experience I was going to have in Skyrim, and nothing would top that, no one would actually make me think about anything, ever again. So I closed it, and I’ve never gone back to it since, other than to run around as a pacifistic werewolf, not hurting anyone (mods).

    Sometimes I go and sit and chill as my werewolf self, next to Paarthurnax, who’s a really rad guy who doesn’t have much else to say, but I still remember.

    And this is how desperate I am for intelligent dialogue in games.

    Which is so, so, so, so rare.

    And damn it, Bethesda, I DO have ought worth the saying! Why tease me like that? Why?

    #5 9 months ago
  6. unclejibjab

    Hated on my self chosen hobby/career before it was cool!

    #6 9 months ago
  7. Optimaximal

    Didn’t Reflections do the driving model? The have a pretty long standing experience with driving games…

    #7 9 months ago
  8. Sethos

    I completed it and never looked back, only because I wanted to ‘get my money’s worth’.

    - Hacking element is trivial and boring. Press X to not-that-awesome isn’t fun a million times in a row.

    - The driving is dogshit. Straight up faeces from a dog’s ass all day, every day. I’d rather listen to my first-born infant, choke on their pacifier than drive another yard in those shitboxes.

    - As mentioned, city does not feel alive. Feels like a boring, scripted world of drab. I’ve ‘hacked’ stoplights and seen people crash, get out and just stand there … for minutes.

    - Story is boring as hell.

    Overall it’s a terrible, generic game that only gets its spot in the limelight because it’s on GTA turf, which hasn’t been released on next-gen. It’s a bit like Saints Row the first, back before GTA IV was released.

    #8 9 months ago
  9. Gekidami

    The driving really is strange. I like that if you hit the gas as hard as possible when you’re starting, you’ll get the wheels just spinning for nothing, but turning feels terrible. Feels like the cars are always skating on on ice even on dry road.

    Its not game breaking, after a while you learn to control it and know which cars do it less and which ones are going to send you into the scenery constantly, but its just bizarre they went with this loose driving mechanic.

    #9 9 months ago
  10. newtain

    Must admit i agree with a lot of this after selling the game two days on from release.

    I tried to like it, put a fair few hours in but disagreed with all the hype. Sure enough 1 month on and nobody has been playing this game on my friends list for at least the past two weeks.

    Another open worlder seemed great to me as I liked things from GTA to Sleeping Dogs and older games like The Getaway, but this game didn’t really have it’s own angle (hacking got boring very fast). The Getaway was great because it was in London (woo the UK), a realistic story and had real cars – enough to absorb you into a game.

    Watch Dogs was a game over reliant on pressing one button to hack/ do everything. It was at best forgettable, and unfortunately not that enjoyable during the few days you did remember what it was :(

    #10 9 months ago
  11. TheWulf

    ALSO.

    If you’re going to have a werewolf, why not do fun things with that? Werewolves make the best criminologists because of their sense of smell, that could be really well used in a game intelligent enough to do so. One has touched on it, in the past, but it didn’t really do much with it. I could imagine so much more, especially since a wolf can smell a person’s bloody brain states.

    Then you have scent tracking, general smell perception, all of which could be portrayed in an interesting synaesthesic way, so that our human senses might comprehend it. That would be fun, too. Again, it would add to the whole criminologist side of things, it would.

    And and and… if you’re going to have a werewolf… WHY not include some skill-requiring parkour and platforming? That would be incredible! Sands of Time, but as a werewolf in a fantasy setting.

    In fact, let’s take this the whole way.

    I want a game where I play a werewolf constable in a fantasy setting. I’m on a case to chase down and ARREST (not kill, ARREST) a suspect, and they’re hiding in some old ruins which are staffed with ancient defence mechanisms, automatons, and whantot. That means werewolf investigation, parkour, and platforming time!

    L.A. Noire, then, but with levels rather than open world, and genuinely interesting design.

    Sigh.

    I play games, and I think of how great they could be, given the chance. But hey, we have to appeal to the dude-bros. And this is what makes me so bitter about the state of gaming. How often do we have something like Portal come along? It’s once in a blue moon, and it makes me sad. There are billions and billions of games about murder and death. I swear, if I had a portal to an alternate earth where the most notable change was that people were more intelligent, and as such entertainment was more about thinking, exploration, and general hand-eye coordination rather than just slaughter?

    I’d go through it. No second thoughts. I’d just… step through. I want that.

    What surprises me is that more people don’t want that, which really lowers my perceptions of human worth. Don’t we do enough killing? Isn’t it time for a paradigm shift where we do something else instead?

    #11 9 months ago
  12. YoungZer0

    How does the discussion of an article about Watch_Dogs, a game with some vigilante hacking Chicago, end up about werewolves? LoL.

    Anyway, I agree with Gekidami, apparently it’s not allowed to show the reality. I for one was actually amazed that Ubisoft did something ballsy for once, but of course, cunts like that dude from Kotaku had to cry racism (and sexism for that matter). Bet he’ll turn around in a few weeks and demand games to be more controversial. LoL.

    The game has a lot of problems. But apparently a lot of game journalists miss the part where Aiden kills a lot more white people, unless he’s in the projects.

    #12 9 months ago
  13. TheWulf

    Sorry I’m spamming the article, Bren. Hopefully it’s interesting for you to read.

    Anyway, I’d also like to play a healer, now and then. Say, Medidrone 4200 #35. It’d be set in the middle of a war zone, as the hook to keep the usual suspects happy, but you wouldn’t be the one doing the fighting. You’d be the one keeping other people alive.

    You’re a semi-sapient machine, given certain freedoms in order to choose who you heal and why; who lives and who dies; and the ethics of your situation. You’ll have to make decisions about enemy soldiers you encounter, whom you could save, to send home to their families. It could be seen as a show of peace, to help end the war, or it could be seen by your superiors as suspicious. If they believe you’re a turncoat, they may decompile your program and wipe your memory centres, removing everything you’ve learned along the way (undoing all your upgrades).

    There’d be an overarching storyline, and a number of major soldiers within it on both sides would have their own stories. Your job is to try and keep as many of these people alive until the war’s over, you’re scored on how many people you save, and their post-war stories are revealed to you once the game is over.

    Double Fine would be a really good company for something like this, because they’re good at telling very human stories, and they could inject just a little bit of humour into it to stop it from getting too dark.

    And then, of course, your ending is rather bittersweet, because no one ever remembers the efforts of the healers, just the fighters. So you’re decommissioned, but you feel rewarded by knowing that the people you did save can go home to their families and go on living their lives. That you saved so many people from the egotism and idiocy of their leaders. It would be wonderfully subversive if done right, too, since you’d have an unbiased healer trying to save as many people as possible, whilst operating within the cynical, paranoid systems of war.

    It’s days like this I wish I was working at Double Fine as an idea man, programmer, and writer. So that I could just pitch ideas at Tim. I adore Tim. And many of the ideas I have are very Double Fine-y ones, but I digress.

    Thing is? There are so many interesting games you could make without forcing the player to be a mass murderer.

    #13 9 months ago
  14. TheWulf

    Anyway, figured I’d do something creative and fun to make up for all the people who’ll be bitching and whining about this. I love brainstorming, anyway, it’s fun.

    #14 9 months ago
  15. TheWulf

    Also, checkpoints suck, but I know that designers feel they need something instead of quicksaves, so I’ve been thinking on that. This’d probably fit better with the investigative werewolf idea best, but I digress, it could be used in a lot of games. Perhaps even as a sci-fi variant (I’ll come back to that).

    The essential idea is that you begin each area with a totem, this totem can be dropped at any point to create a checkpoint. Let’s say that you’re about to attempt a particularly devious parkour sequence and you want a fallback? You drop the totem! Once you’ve gotten to where you need to go? You can use an enchantment to call the totem back to you, perhaps some serpent that fetches it and returns it to you.

    However, you have only so many charges with which to fetch a totem. Let’s say you start with around 10 or so. Now, the mechanic could be explained by the blessing of some ancient, primal deity or whatnot. And around the level, were you to search hard enough, you’d find umbral places where your charges can be restored by a certain amount. So you can proceed by exploration or skill. (Or cheating, with a guide.)

    As a sci-fi version, it could simply be a teleportation marker that you activate before you fall to your doom. Think of it like Myst’s linking books (especially as used in Uru with the Relto book), where you touch a gadget and you’re teleported back to the teleportation marker. To retrieve markers, you have a tractor beam, but it consumes a lot of energy. Searching around can reveal recharge stations where you can regain those lost resources to some amount.

    It’s essentially a mix of lives, continues, quick saving, and checkpoints, but much more fair without potentially making the game much too easy. And it removes the need for an out of Universe button that instantaneously saves all your progress, or a menu. I believe that a lot of designers don’t use quick saves because of the aesthetic quality of them, or the hassle of their use, or how they break up the game’s flow.

    By providing this totem/marker system, a developer could allow the player to figure out their own flow. What, exactly, is too many checkpoints or too few. So, you could have someone who uses lots of markers, VVVVVV-style, or someone who wants to get through the level without even depleting their initial 10 (or whatnot).

    It’s just a game mechanic, really, but it has a certain eloquence that other systems lack, and it harks back to how games used to work. It also has that feeling of threat that you may run out of charges to get your marker back to you soon, and there may not be a recharge station around (or it might be really hard to find). So it would add scarcity into that system as well.

    Of course, the levels would have to be designed to accommodate this, to a degree, but anything that encourages good level design is a bonus in my opinion.

    #15 9 months ago
  16. mamu-ti

    I play around 70 hour and finished and it is good game.

    #16 9 months ago
  17. Dimaco

    There you go. Thanks VG247, I’m totally with you here, since my interest in the game litterally vanished at the very beginning of the game.
    Can’t specifically say what it was, but I really ended up being bored. Early.
    And that is wrong

    #17 9 months ago
  18. VTchitcherine

    @Sethos

    Are the same Sethos from the community of pixel counting and Shenmue-begging known as NeoGAF? As a lurker (due to having no ISP-provided e-mail) I’ve always wanted to get in contact with you in some way based on some of your posts. I also recall watching your pre-release stream of GTA V.

    #18 9 months ago
  19. VTchitcherine

    @VTchitcherine

    Ugh, typo there. I assume there’s no way to edit comments after they’ve been posted? If not, it’s something the good people of this site should address at some point… in addition to some kind of private messaging function.

    #19 9 months ago
  20. Opalauge

    @Optimaximal

    Some of the core team of Reflections are now working at Playground Games (Forza Horizon). It’s not the Reflections from back in the days anymore.

    #20 9 months ago
  21. bradk825

    To be honest I’m not really “getting” a lot of the criticism this game is getting. Maybe that’s partly because I have no interest in GTA or Saint’s Row so I haven’t been through “the formula” so much as some others, but I am still enjoying the game quite a bit.

    The racist bit is unfair. The Viceroys are black, yes, but in the story you find they are not your average punks, they are hackers as well, putting on a front and typical gangsters. Their leader was smart enough to get dirt on all the politicians and cops, and has become quite a powerful criminal. The game’s primary villain (so far, I haven’t finished yet) is white. The guy who killed your neice is white, I’ve killed hundreds of white guys with my cell phone so far. By the way, it’s also racist for blacks to be off-limits as villains in fiction just to be PC. The world is full of people looking for an excuse to be offended though, so no matter what you do someone is ready to call you racist I guess.

    #21 9 months ago
  22. Demigod

    Just a couple of points. Some of this article is valid and some I disagree with as always. The easiest is the cut scenes are skippable at least on pc not all conversations but most cut scenes.

    The game isn’t that long, really, you can finish it in a couple of hours if you play the main quest. Just as an action movie doesn’t show fetch quests you can avoid them in games to. The secondary missions are only there if you enjoy doing it you dont have to.

    The city does have some great parts from random crashes, buskers conversations model planes etc but yes it does seem a bit flat.

    It isnt racist, yes the main bad guy group is black. but that is just part of the story. There are plenty of bad white guys too Was Mafia racist for using Italian Americans? Was COD sexist for (mainly) male soldiers? No. While some may argue the Mafia games are stereotyping the stereotype was correct for the time it was set. In COD you may not like that most soldiers are male but most front-line soldiers are male currently. Black street gangs do exist, as do white etc, and one was made up and used in the game. Using them doesn’t make a game sexist or racists.

    As for story yes could be stronger, it was very simple and rather pantomimed, but it did its job and the ending was satisfying if not very impactful.

    But the main point I find myself asking from reading this is what is the point of this article? Its novel that a game site will actively disparage a game outside of a review did this site do one btw? Or is this it? (I cant find one under the watch dogs headline)

    If I had posted something like this on a forum I would be accused of whining its seems rather odd that a journalist would post something like this. Its not a review its not even a balanced criticism its a hatchet job and without trying to be rude a moan piece. What was the point to give a flash point for people to complain around?

    A decidedly one sided piece like this needs a response but I doubt Ubi will be asked to provide one.

    #22 9 months ago
  23. monkeygourmet

    “Watch Dogs is a great game”

    No, it really isn’t, it’s absolute shit.

    * Mind numbingly boring main character
    * Driving feels shit
    * Parkour and control elements are stiff and archiac
    * Hacking is repetative
    * Map unlocking is the same as every Ubi game
    * Illusion of freedom when there is none
    * Limited interaction with NPC’s (you can’t punch someone out, yet you can steal money)
    * Weapon / Gun comabat lacks ‘oomph’
    * Police chases are repeatative
    * Graphics / physics are average at best
    * The city is boring with poor attempts at diversions
    * Missions are formulaic
    * Story is cringe worthy and trys to be too ‘edgy’
    * You can’t be a werewolf in it

    There are prob more I have left out from a game / gameplay perspective and I haven’t even moved on to the bugs / glitches that pepper the game or the fact the PC port is (once again Ubi) broken as a mofo.

    It’s utter, utter shit. And especially shit considering the size of the team and the budget it’s had. 5 minutes with ‘Spinwheels’ (or insert almost any other random Indie title here) has infinitely more passion and soul packed into it than this poor excuse for a game.

    The only people who could ever think the premise or main character was ‘cool’, are too young to be legally allowed to play it anyway.

    So sad that it’s sold so well and a perfect example of people buying into any old shit.

    #23 9 months ago
  24. monkeygourmet

    Also, I see people mentioning Race / Racism.

    It’s not racist, it’s shit.

    #24 9 months ago
  25. ManuOtaku

    @monkeygourmet well if it is shit, it can be racist as well, depending on the color of the poo.

    #25 9 months ago
  26. Hcw87

    Oh man, there are some real hate being slung at the game in here. Personally i enjoy what i’ve played so far (only at the beginning of Act 2, waiting on PC patch for fear of losing my gamesave), and i enjoy what i’ve played so far. The combat feels like an open world Splinter Cell, so i feel they nailed the gun-handling really well. The driving IS shit though, and the car-sounds are weak as hell. The music is cringeworthy, and Aiden does lack some charisma.

    But i enjoy the premise of the game so far, it’s not every day we see games taking chances like this, having a story that should have far more attention these days (big corporations spying on you). This is something that does happen in the real world, and no one is really anonymous anymore.

    I don’t get how the game-length can be a negative, there are far too many games these days simply not worth full price because of their shortness. Nobody is forcing you to collect everything and do every sidemission. Focus on the actual campaign and this game doesn’t drag at all.

    TLDR: Has its flaws, but it’s FAR from a bad game. The current metacritic rating is actually quite representative i think.

    #26 9 months ago
  27. Dimaco

    @ monkeygourmet +1
    (Kind of)
    I also found the game deeply underwhelming and plain boring.
    Plus yep, the driving model is really crappy.
    Not much I can say I liked about the game… Maybe the engine… Yeah, the engine’s pretty decent tbh. (played on PS4)

    #27 9 months ago
  28. monkeygourmet

    @Manu

    True! :)

    @HCW87

    In your heart of hearts, do you think you will remember this game in 2 years time? (well, apart from the fact it will churn out endless sequels / movies).

    Does it really rank any higher than a ‘straight to video’ type experience?

    Then think about how much money went into the project… O_o

    Everything about it is vanilla / average.

    BTW, yudos for waiting for the patch (protip: It will never be patched, the stuttering is here to stay).

    #28 9 months ago
  29. sebastien rivas

    “@3 The wulf” pin pointed the issue of Watch Dogs in its very first sentence’s subject (quote) mainstream releases.

    Watch dogs is the evanescence for a majority of players that in depth say, please that’s enough. Give me something “interesting”.
    This can result in a gazillion of solutions but it marks the point that shows players are tired of getting games dumb downed in a way or many ways that just cripples everything and their interest too.

    So again to all AAA. stop making games for 8~40+ set in a vanilla package

    #29 9 months ago
  30. Tormenter

    This doesn’t surprise me at all.

    The very reason the game was delayed in the first place was because the devs themselves actually came out and said it was too repetitive.

    A couple of months was never enough time to fix a design and play decision that had been baked in at the ground floor. Pretty, but ultimately unsatisfying and boring was always going to be my opinion of this… and if I don’t ‘love’ something from the get go then all the hype and marketing in the world doesn’t stand a chance in hell of changing my mind. This game was never on my radar.

    #30 9 months ago
  31. monkeygourmet

    Ultimately, what it shows me is;

    We’re still not quite ready for ‘open world’ yet.

    An open but boring world dillutes gameplay and ruins both experiences. I feel this would have been a better experience if it took the Splinter Cell route. But then, Ubi can’t do that because they already make Splinter Cell.

    So, your left with a bastard child nobody wanted.

    Unless you can really, really push open world, don’t bother attempting it. It eats resources and almost never works in the long run. Even GTA 5 had many moments where the illusion is shattered.

    I think Red Dead did it best becuse you KNEW that large area’s of land would be un-populated. It made sense.

    Just because a bit of text pops up with:

    “This is John Smith, he doesn’t pay his Child support”

    It doesn’t make you suddenly emote! Okay, he doesn’t pay his child support, what are my next options?

    Well… you can follow him till he glitches out, shoot him, or steal his money!

    Crazy fun!!! Thanks based Ubi!

    #31 9 months ago
  32. polygem

    i didn´t even pick it up at all. looked a bit shallow to me right from the start. i can´t judge it though – haven´t played it and probably wouldn´t even pick it up on a steam sale.

    when i see a game like this i am getting an assassins creed syndrome instantly. my body screams: back off!

    these games look interesting, even gorgeous sometimes, they play and feel alright but i get bored within the first few hours. always.

    i recently gave the ac franchise another try and picked up 4, because people said that this one, this one did really change a lot of things for good. i played it for an hour and got instantly bored by it. then i forced myself to pick it up again, played a few more hours…i will never return.

    these games just play to similar to each other. i believe that these games are great to people who haven´t played them in and out. if you have though, they feel boring because they never do something new or fun with the gameplay.

    in games like cod you are also just getting more of the same, sure but at least you are getting some reward from the competitive aspect of it. mario delivers some nostalgia and like cod, the gameplay is just spot on. ac – and by the looks of it, this one as well, just feel too much like ´been there done that´to me but they forget to offer another hook.

    so this is a new ip and all, it´s cool, that´s fine. it did well too in the shops but i´d rather see more new and fresh gameplay elements than more new ip´s if this recycled stuff is what we are getting.

    #32 9 months ago
  33. Legendaryboss

    Expiration date has been reached for Watch Dogs. Who’s Next?

    The only problem with the above statement is that it shares two themes with Call of Duty & Assassin’s Creed – Hate. Specifically internet hate.

    #33 9 months ago
  34. Legendaryboss

    @Legendaryboss Oops i forgot they all they sold Millions.

    #34 9 months ago
  35. polygem

    oh, great, this went from a discussion to the shit stirrer show again. well done mr. mod :D

    #35 9 months ago
  36. Legendaryboss

    @polygem You have a problem with the comments? Take it up with Pat. You will get nowhere because theres nothing wrong the comments. Disagreeing doesn’t equal shit stirrer.

    #36 9 months ago
  37. polygem

    @Legendaryboss
    i just reply to your stuff in a way i think is appropriate – has nothing to do with pat.

    #37 9 months ago
  38. Gheritt White

    @Legendaryboss I fucked your Mum.

    #38 9 months ago
  39. Carton of Milk

    I stopped playing it too yesterday……………… because i finished it 100%.

    I’m not gonna say this game doesn’t have flaws, outside of performance issues, it does (as for bugs, I’ve only faced one, in the ending, it froze before the Maurice part, but it worked when I tried it a second time). but it was a worthwhile experience.

    Yes the driving, oh sure you get used to it but its still bad. To be fair though, I haven;’t encountered driving I’m 100% happy with in pretty much any open world game of the type. Saint’ row is alright, GTA IV was awful and WORSE than WD (I haven’t played the 5th cause I’m on PC), Just cause 2, let’s not even go there, Saboteur, serviceable…. So yeah it’s bad but sadly at this point I expect that of open world games….

    The story and character? I liked it. Story is of minimal importance to me i’ll admit but at least I gave a S about what was happening (looking at you GTA IV, actually, i’m REALLY bored of playing straight criminals and on paper I find none of the GTA V characters sound compelling. Vigilante is a nice change. As was being a resistance fighter in Saboteur). Yes it was pretty much standard fare revenge thriller (anyone else thought ubisoft should just get the Punisher license? I thought all the way this was like punisher with hacking and then at the end Aiden says something about punishing….). Pretty much in my experience when games try to overreach story and character development wise, I hate it because it’s rarely handled well. Maybe because I’m an angry white male but I like revenge stories. though I felt it being about your NIECE was a bit weak but I guess wife or children would have been too Punishery…

    the hacking, well it was never gonna be more than a one button thing. But yes, it loses it’s charm. When driving about halfway through the game I stopped using it EXCEPT when being chased by many cars. but otherwise I found more fun in using the offensive driving skill to wreck them or just get them caught or slow them down enough so I could get out of the car and shoot them. Car chases end in seconds if you use it…. For stealth, hacking is useless, oh sure it CAN help sometimes but it’s so easy to go stealth in this game, you really don’t need to hack at all. In shooting sequences, it seldom is useful, and I remember trailer showing it being useful when running after cirminals on foot….yeah it happened maybe two or three times in all my playing time I actually got a chance to use it in this situation. Still it IS a nice feature and adds to the game but . Also…really blowing pipes with hacking? how does that work? I understand the CTOS is all linked to everything but that seems to me a little far fetched. I didn’t like using it in car chases cause I thought while it looked neat, it was a little lame. It got me thinking though…what about having a character that would have telekinetic powers? a sort of Xmen thing. That game is a good example of how that could work.

    You don’t think the city felt alive!?!?!? I haven’t played GTAV as I said, but this is the most immersive open world city I’ve seen yet. Oh sure some conversations repeat a lot over time, but the one thing that struck me about 2 mins after id finished the opening mission was how immersive it was to just walk the streets or travel by train. I mean like anything after a few hours it does get old too, but it certainly is the most alive city I’ve seen in a game yet.

    The padding…see I want my games padded. And I think there was way enough diversity in activities that it didn’t get boring fast, come on they DID try. Poker, drinking, the cup games, the AR stuff, the digital trips. A+ for effort at least if you didn’t like them. Normally this is what open world games that aren’t GTA didn’t get. I think WD got it right enough. Sure some of the minigames were not as interesting as others, but I don’t even like playing chess and I found myself doing every single chess puzzle in the game (even if some had me yelling at my monitor…I’m not very good at this). The only thing I truly hate is the drinking games past level 5, maybe I suck but I find them unbeatable. And the psychedelic digital trip while I did all tracks, hated it.

    the accusations of racism…its true that when I think about it, even the non thuggy black characters were bad guys (the mayor, the Blume CEO or whatever her title was) I don’t think this is deliberate though, I feel it’s probably accidental. But someone should have checked that so as to avoid that kind of criticism. Maybe they could have made Kenney black or something…. one good black character in the game at least, wouldn’t have been too much to ask… Let’s not pretend there aren’t street gangs in Chicago either though.

    You know what I DO like though, as french canadian, I like that Ubisoft Montreal has finally recently decided to include people of it’s own culture in games. ACIV in modern day was set in montreal with plenty of french canadian characters, and now Clara Lille (who was played by very famous quebecoise actress Isabelle BLais, I mean she’s famous HERE). I mean it would seem forced if they started to put one in every game but it’s nice to feel represented in games finally. Especially since so many game studios have been here for years. I was bummed that Eidos Montreal was supposed to have Montreal be a big part of Deus Ex and finally it was little more than a bit part…. I have a feeling it was due to higher ups questioning the interest of montreal as a setting for a game… Im still hoping for a future Watch Dogs set here….

    Anyway all in all, I didn’t get bored with Watch Dogs. I’m not gonna play it anymore now that i’ve done everything (speaking of which, all fixer contracts are replayable but not the criminal convoys or gang hideouts? lame) but this is the length I expect of a good game in the genre. three to four weeks of serious playtime. I had fun, I wasn’t bored. It doesn’t dethrone San Andreas or Just Cause 2 from my top games in the genre, but it places right under, alongside The Saboteur (so underrated) and Saint’s Row II and III and such. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ubisoft will do with the franchise.

    #39 9 months ago
  40. sufianabas

    y’know what’s abysmal? Tomb Raider’s dialogue. That is bad. Not quite Final Fantasy XIII bad, but still claw my eyes out bad.

    #40 9 months ago
  41. Legendaryboss

    @polygem If you don’t want to talk to Pat, or contribute to what i’ve written (and repetitive, irrelevant snide Mod remarks doesn’t count) don’t bother. Take the advice someone gave to you and ignore me.

    @Gheritt White
    http://images.rapgenius.com/da7e807e855ef73724dcc86dc7264650.400x240x15.gif

    #41 9 months ago
  42. fearmonkey

    I ignored almost all the side missions and just completed the main missions, I was able to finish the game without doing much of the other stuff. It worked just fine on PS4, I had no bugs at all really.

    I agree with the points on Driving, Aiden having no real personality, the people being a bit like robots, but disagree with the way it shows people of color. As someone who has been to Chicago many times, and even lived in downtown while training on Unix administration for a few weeks, it’s representation of minorities didn’t seem out of place to me. Chicago is a rough place, and the gangsta street mentality is all over the place there. IS everyone of color like that there, of course not, but what would you expect a game like Watch Dogs to be? Does GTA get any grief for it’s portrayal?

    #42 9 months ago
  43. OrbitMonkey

    The problem with Watchdogs is that its just another sandboxer whose giimick gets dull.

    But who seriously thought that DRM loving ubi could make hacking fun?

    #43 9 months ago
  44. Sethos

    @VTchitcherine – Indeed it is, sir.

    #44 9 months ago
  45. FlyBoogy

    I stoped playing as well. Had lots of fun just running around the city doing side stuff and just trying things but as soon as I had enough of goofing around I played the story missions. And the more story missions I played the less fun I had. It just got worse and worse untill I just switched the game off and I dont see my self playing it any time soon if ever again. Same thing happend to me with AC4. I just had enough of tailing people in every fing mission. And now that I think about it Far Cry 3 got realy meh the more story missions I played.

    #45 9 months ago
  46. Anarky23

    Weird. I’m black and yet I never felt the game was being racist. I think people are just being kind of oversensitive about the whole thing. I mean is it really crazy to not think gang members in a videogame we’re going to be portrayed as thugs?

    #46 9 months ago
  47. Anarky23

    @fearmonkey Yeah it’s really dumb. People don’t give GTA any flack even though it suffers from some of these problems especially the one about the world not feeling alive. Hell, Chicago felt more alive than Los Santos to me.

    #47 9 months ago
  48. metamorphic

    The bread analogy is pure gold. I salute you, sir.

    #48 9 months ago
  49. metamorphic

    @fearmonkey Spoken like a true son of privilege and entitlement. Clearly the likes of you have never faced discrimination so, yeah… I’m not surprised at your total ignorance. Stop using fallacies like one bad makes another right… GTA’s got its serious flaws and its sexist, racist portrayals as well (the torture thing got huge amounts of flak), but it’s supposed to be some weird parody, but Watch Dogs is supposed to be dead freaking serious. Irregardless, both have serious plot flaws.

    #49 9 months ago
  50. Untold stories

    I stopped playing the game as well. Haven’t finished it. It just didn’t feel like it had a soul

    #50 9 months ago
  51. Captiosus

    Did the people poo-pooing on the “racism” statement play the same game? There’s no way to say the game isn’t, at the least, purposely using stereotypes.

    You will find very few African-Americans in The Loop and Mad Mile – they’re almost all confined to The Wards and the Docks. An entire story arc can be condensed into: “Black gangbanger gets power, we can’t have that.” Bedbug is a complete and total stereotype of the “black gangbanger” who would change his ways if only he had the chance but he can’t leave his family in the ghetto!

    The only people with “power” in the game are white. Very few Asians exist in the game with Jordi Chin playing the token lead Asian. Even the secondary white folks are stereotypes: Hyper intelligent social outcast, misunderstood redneck, old school mobster. Maybe the game isn’t overtly racist but it sure does play on racial stereotypes and lots of racial tropes to move forward.

    As for the rest, I find it to be pretty accurate. Although I’ve done everything on the progression wheel except finish poker and complete all the online functions, the reality is the game started to feel like a slog by mid-Act III. As for the side quests, there were, IMO, about 20 too many Fixer Contracts and too few gang hideouts. The most fun I had in the game was playing gang hideouts and trying to figure out how to do so without being gun happy… but since gang hideouts were so few, that joy ran out fast. Criminal Convoys and Fixer Contracts rely too heavily on the shoddy driving and glitchy physics and just became painful after a while.

    I’m wondering why Digital Trips didn’t get a spot on the progression wheel. Other than as a distraction there’s really no reason to bother with them. Spider Tank and Rampage were fun enough that I played them until I unlocked their relevant player outfits but the others were just “meh” to the point where I never bothered after trying them once.

    Until the T-Bone DLC (which I’m kinda scared about, to be honest), I have no real reason to turn on the game. Online was novel at first but invasions and tailing became boring fast. Racing is horrendous and laggy. My favorite mode is CTF… err, Online Decryption.. but sometimes it takes a long time to find a match.

    #51 9 months ago
  52. bradk825

    @51 so I see you haven’t been to Chicago, since you’re calling the racial divide there a “stereotype” as opposed to “an unfortunate reality.”

    Many neighbourhoods in Chicago have experienced “white flight” where blacks moving in causes whites to move out. Many of the poorest neighbourhoods are populated almost exclusively by blacks, and with poverty comes crime, and 90% of the gangs are made up of blacks. It sucks, but it’s true.

    This doesn’t mean that blacks are bad or more likely to be in gangs than whites. Given the right set of circumstances anyone is equally capable of having the “us vs them” attitude and dividing based on their situation. But to make the fictional Chicago a representation of the real one is not racist.

    Should people be upset about the racial divide in Watch Dogs? Yes, but not because Ubisoft is racist. You should be upset because it’s based in reality. That’s something truly worth being upset about.

    #52 9 months ago
  53. SolomanAu

    Go Wulf, fuck you spend more time talking about games than playing them!!

    #53 9 months ago
  54. JGaLaXY815

    I think this is a changing of the guard in a sense where a lot of gamers have become very fickle and are asking for too much. People hating on the driving, if every car drove and felt the SAME in Gran Turismo people would b!tch but this game people hate it, saying the city is lifeless, i’ve walked into some REAL conversations ive never heard in any video games ever. It’s edgy, but people are saying no its trying to be TOO EDGY, but the “main character is boring as hell” GIVE ME A BREAK, I will agree and say it sucks I can’t shoot out of my car or baton smack anyone in the street but it is what it is. Also, someone said all the cop car chases are boring, honestly this game is boring if you have no imagination, thats the thing about this game…and HACKING IS BORING? what about the blue pipe hacking and what do you want? 10 different mini games for hacking people? What about the smooth slow down focus time? I’m not saying this is a perfect game but its pretty damn good, whats came out this year thats been better?

    #54 9 months ago
  55. kabrawly

    So I read this article and somehow made it through all of the comments…
    I could touch on everything but for the sake of not ending up like The Wulf I’ll be relatively brief.

    The game takes a little imagination for it to be “fascinating”, so to speak. Sure, in a lot of ways it’s an AC clone in the sense of how it fleshes out and the exploration and whatnot, but you have to give them credit for making it make sense. ctOS (ctznOS, if you get the joke) has driven itself into every electronic device and surveillance camera and, while protraying itself as just a service to keep things connected, safe and centralized, is secretly monitoring and collecting data on everyone. This is actually something that happens–to a certain extent–already (see: Target knows when you’re pregnant). If it really were centralized, all you’d need is a way in and you could do just about everything that Aiden does in the game; granted, yes some things are still ridiculous.
    Another thing that seems really petty in all of these comments and the article itself is the racism debate. Sure, the game plays out as a little racist if you have no knowledge of the real world and you don’t do anything but play the story and judge people. However, if you do any side missions a lot of the caucasian people are significantly more cruel than any of the black gangbangers. Beyond that, if you’ve ever been to the south side in Chicago then you’d almost be surprised at how not racist this game is (I went to a subway sandwich shop in south Chicago that had bulletproof glass between the dining room and wherever the workers stood; you had to put your money in a rotating bulletproof cubby and they’d spin it back with your change and food. I don’t think I saw a single white person in south Chicago. Just saying). Honestly, complain about racism all you want, but the reality is it’s a reasonable portrayal.

    As for everything else:
    The driving is shit, but if you give two shits to try then you can speed around like a world class drifter (also get the uPlay car, it’s pretty).
    Hacking would be more exciting if it was a little more expansive. I bought everything in the game besides shitty cars before the end of Act II. If it weren’t so simple, or if there was more to do with money, I’d still have a little excitement in me.
    Combat is eh. I usually just stick to the cameras and blow everyone up if I’m not sneaking behind them and taking them out. Getting in an all-out gunfight is a pain in the ass, but at least the better guns handle well enough so it’s not too much of a problem.
    Aiden does have kind of a dead personality, but he’s sort of broken by what he caused with his neice. While things should revolve more around the main story, completing certain side quests/missions allows for a little introspection on his behalf.

    I don’t really know what else to say about it. But I find most of the petty complaints unwarranted. If you have enough intelligence and willpower to come up with so many bad things to say about the game, it’s probably because that was your goal in the first place. Don’t expect to get shit on every time and actually try to look for the good things.

    #55 9 months ago
  56. kabrawly

    I didn’t close my bold tag. oops.

    #56 9 months ago
  57. Shirashi

    @TheWulf

    I can’t disagree with anything you’ve written, but I’d have to ask whether console gamers would buy a AAA title that didn’t sell to dudebro culture. The best part of GTA Vice City for me was driving around a full city with people, enjoying those fantastic and comical radio stations and that day/night cycle. I realized that I want a driving sim that allows me to cruise a city with very developed NPCs. I want an urban Tombraider with emphasis on Mirror’s Edge parkour and building scaling and urban spelunking, and again, I want a fully realized city with people that still seem real even after 20 hours of play – so etching that doesn’t happen in Infamous, GTA, or Watch Dogs. I want heavy social commentary and drama. Watch Dogs at the reveal promised to be just that. The dev opened with a talk about the NYC police crackdown on Occupy Wall Street. The actual game didn’t reflect that rhetoric. I’m not a Killzone fab traditionally, but I found Shadow Fall’s social commentary excellent, putting the narrative beyond what was ordinarily necessary to sell an FPS. I want more Last of Us, but I do not want a sequel. I want games to be a little more like Beyond: Two Souls in terms of emotion and drama, and I reject that Quantic Dream’s works aren’t games; as if COD Ghosts was any less linear or Resident Evil any less quick timey.

    I want games that are mostly in the domain of indies. When it is this difficult to have respectful racially, ethnically, and sexually diverse protagonists in an AAA game, what chance is there to get a To The Moon AAA that looks as good as Assassin’s Creed?

    #57 9 months ago
  58. highiQ

    @TheWulf dude you are sadly long winded. . . you should really get a life, Mr lowest common denominator

    #58 7 months ago
  59. highiQ

    I agree about the game being somewhat repetitive however I disagree with this PC criticism. it seems to me that the game should be realistic and reflect realism. I do not want to play a game in which the scientists are high IQ blacks and the astronauts are Mexicans and all the purse snatchers and home invaders are white men with blue eyes lol. that is nonsensical left wing propaganda which is completely anti reality and we all know it. Thanks for a good yet not perfect game, Ubisoft. I look forward to seeing better projects in the future.

    #59 7 months ago
  60. highiQ

    @highiQ another thing I would add is that the soundtrack for the game was a smash hit however the gameplay was too easy for me even on the hardest difficulty level so if you could design an extreme mode in future projects it would be appreciated. TY

    #60 7 months ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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