WATCHDOGS REVIEW

Ah another Ubisoft title, which always gets my Proud Canadian juices flowing. However, this time the national anthem ain’t singing. This game was unfortunately a huge disappointment to many, especially because it had a massive hype around its release in 2014.

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The game has a really cool concept; you play as the mysterious Aiden Pearce, an expert hacker who is out for revenge after the death of his young niece. He can use his phone to hack into systems like lighting, security cameras, and can learn details by invading other people’s devices. The game takes place in the city of Chicago, and Aiden can do everything from drive cars to taking the subway to get around. Overall sounds pretty cool right? Well it was a great idea, but the follow through was just not there. Ubisoft is known for pumping out games (just think of how many Assassin’s Creed & Far Cry games have been released in the past few years), so this game just doesn’t have the guts it should have.

Things You’ll Like

 The whole hacking thing is pretty cool. You can control cameras that provide you viewpoints from angles you wouldn’t have from the ground, so you can hack things in the distance, or see other cameras to look around corners. Aiden can steal money from people’s phones (which just seems mean, but hey sh** happens), interrupt guard’s headset communicators, and hijack cars. You can also cause pipes to explode, or barrier to fall down to block traffic. It is pretty unique and is a real comment on how dependent our society is on technology, so I will give it props for that.

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Combat system is pretty good – very similar to any Assassin’s Creed game where you can get new weapons and quick select them for an easy equip. You can also choose to go “guns blazing” or go more “stealth mode”, along with the ability to hack into everything. You can find or purchase guns, and your inventory feels limitless – so whether you want to play with SMG’s, shotguns, sniper rifles, hand guns, etc. there are options for any player.

Chicago is a cool city, and the graphics in this game are pretty amazing. It’s cool because Chicago has so many bridges, and Aiden can hack these to raise or lower them to avoid the police or other enemies. I like playing games in settings that I am familiar with, so I was quite please that this took place in Illinois.

Things You Won’t Like

 Aiden Pearce does have a nice deep, rough masculine voice – he’s definitely a quiet and mysterious hero, but he is also about as flat as a pancake. Again I say, *cough Assassin’s Creed 3, *cough. I get his need for revenge, but he doesn’t feel like a well-rounded character at all, so as the player I feel like I hardly know anything about him – making it difficult to feel compassion or sympathy. A game driven by emotion needs a charismatic protagonist – it’s a similar storyline to The Last of Us, but in that case the character Joel was downright cinematic in his emotions. His friend “Jordi” is pretty hilarious, and his comedic-relief sort of makes up for the blandness of Aiden – but that’s not really good enough to make this game worth it.

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Repetition. There is a range of missions to complete, but after a few hours you’ve exhausted most of the different types. So now other than the main story missions, the side-missions are just repeats of things you’ve already done. So after your fourth car race-hijacking mission, you’re just sorta done with those.

Yes you can hijack cars, but if you ever do and there are pedestrians around – they will call the police on you. And the police are so friggin’ difficult to escape notice from, so you just waste all this time evading them when you probably could have just walked or taken the subway to your next location. I guess this is realistic, but I’m not playing a video game to feel overly realistic, am I?

Also, like many Ubisoft games you have to climb a tower or station to unlock different areas on your map. This game does this as well, but you have to hack your way into a building and get through different gates to find this unlocking system. This can be incredibly tedious, and then when you finally get to the device it makes you do this snooze-fest puzzle thing.

Verdict

 This review may seem a bit harsh, but I was really annoyed when I played this game. I coughed up 70 bucks on the thing, and it was just a waste of money. It does have a cool hacking element – and could have been an absolute knock out…. however it just falls short. It’s repetitive, and its just plain dull in sections. Maybe play it if you can borrow a copy from a friend or it goes on sale – but don’t waste too much time or money on this game. I’m just being honest.

5/10