Watch Dogs review (PS4): Not the next-gen smash we were after, but more than enough
PS4, Xbox One; Ubisoft Montreal; £40
With another story this week warning Apple users to change their passwords, or face a ransom to have their phones unlocked, Ubisoft have released their open-world hacking adventure at an apt time.
Many were frustrated when Watch Dogs was delayed from its original launch date of November last year, but wouldn’t we rather wait for the finished product rather than one rushed to meet the PlayStation 4/Xbox One release dates? As a result of the wait, the pressure on Ubisoft to present something which justifies the hype surrounding its next gen title has been huge. Thankfully, Watch Dogs largely delivers.
Though the graphics aren’t quite as impressive as those promised at E3 two years ago, they are solid nonetheless. The gloomy world of Chicago which protagonist Aiden Pearce inhabits sets the scene for a battle of morality, as a vigilante who can hack into practically anything seeks revenge for the murder of his niece. A nice touch is that information on people’s personal details such as “widower with three children” might cause a guilty pang before stealing their money. But the delay doesn’t last long.
The elements of stealth within Watch Dogs is a great contrast to the open-world environment. There are obvious comparisons to be drawn with Grand Theft Auto, particularly with the option of following the structured missions or taking on varied tasks dotted around town - or simply cruising around to explore. The smooth, slick, driving makes navigating the city a pleasurable experience, although perhaps less challenging than GTA, with impacts much more forgiving. The ability to hack the traffic lights and leave chaos behind you as they all turn green is particularly fun. Ubisoft’s Chicago doesn’t have as much charm as Rockstar’s San Andreas, nor does its residents, though there are definitely characters worth meeting.
While the game opens to an epic beginning, the narrative doesn’t always manage to hold full attention, and Pearce can lack pizzazz. Away from the story there are loads of missions – there certainly isn’t any scrimping on the amount of content with 100 hours of gameplay apparently on offer. Though there’s already been facepalms from users who noticed that you can avoid police detection by jumping in the water.
Of course the thing that sets Watch Dogs apart is the wealth of information at the tip of your hands. The hacking mechanic is undoubtedly innovative and soon you’re into the mentality of wanting to immorally hack everything around you, from CCTV cameras, to vehicles or residents’ mobile phones and ATMs, at the click of a button. But because it is only one click of a button, it feels like Ubisoft could’ve been slightly smarter with the challenges and consequences of the crime.
Despite some interesting new approaches to the open world experience, some of the areas in which it excels can already be found elsewhere. But Watch Dogs has been worth the extra wait, and it's just the beginning of the potential for next gen gaming.
Life & Style blogs
Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
Watching TV after work makes you feel 'guilty and like a failure'
Alien: Isolation preview - If you scream in space, it makes a sound
Xiaomi Mi4: 'Chinese Apple' launches flagship mobile to challenge iPhone
Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Rebecca Hall on her film career so far: ‘I’ve played too many repressed neurotics’
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits + Bonua: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: PHP Web Develo...
£35000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: VB.NET Progra...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: PHP Web Develo...