Watch_Dogs was originally presented as a very dark and mysterious future world. Instead the 3rd-person shooter is present-day, more action-oriented, and has nearly every aspect of the world revealed to you from the beginning. It is incredibly fun, but not exactly what you may expect when compared to their E3 2012 and 2013 trailers.
One of the greatest faults on the part of Ubisoft, was their “two months are enough to visit Los Santos” advertisement.
This advertisement opened the door for direct comparisons to GTA V. A game that Watch_Dogs struggles to live up to.
And because of that ad, it does help a comparison to GTA V feel more valid. Because this is evidently a game they were trying to compete with. Two open-world games that have deep stories with an intricate setting. The main difference between the two games though, is their presentation. GTA V tries to be funny but often comes off as serious because of how in depth the world and characters are. But Watch_Dogs attempts to be overly dark and serious and the story doesn’t have the depth to complement that.
In GTA V it seems that, even if you aren’t there, the world keeps going on. Watch_Dogs reveals nearly everything to you right from the beginning, and even though the map is a decent size, there is little motivation for you to ever explore much at all. You know where everything is in the city so why explore the parts of the game without a former objective? This makes the world very straight-forward for an open world.
Outside of their initial presentation, the game is not necessarily bad in anyway.
The graphics are great (though not as amazing as originally represented) -especially at night or when it’s raining. The lighting reflecting off of the surface of puddles as you slowly walk through the city is incredibly immersive. It’s clear they focused a lot on making the backdrop look fantastic as you travel through urban Chicago.
The missions are enjoyable and include a reasonable amount of diversity ranging from car chases and fire-fights to hacking and stealthily tailing various criminals. The game’s approach to combat and stealth help players find unique ways to approach each mission. These unique approaches prevent things from ever getting too repetitive.
The online missions and gamemodes are easy to quickly divert to when the main story grows a bit too dull. A simple “app” on your in-game phone can bring you straight to an online multiplayer match or an open-world to explore with friends.
The story was at times exciting, but all too often underwhelming. Aiden’s battle with his own thoughts were far too exaggerated and his actions compared to how his character emotionally reacts is sometimes laughable. The abandonment of some of the story’s most unique characters, mainly Jordie, your first in-game ally, is also disappointing. Jordie is initially presented as a major character, but is often cast aside in favor of following Aiden’s narrative over everyone else. There are moments where it seems as though it would steer the game in a more exciting direction, but it just never seems to come.
Watch_Dogs is decent, but it still feels slightly disappointing when you compare the game that was shipped to the one that was originally showcased at E3 2012/2013. Though the expectations for Watch_Dogs 2 should still remain very high.