(Un)review of Watch Dogs

The unreview of Watch Dogs.1401115038_header

At E3 2012 Ubisoft unveiled a trailer and footage of its new IP Watch Dogs under the moniker of everything is connected. Delivering an open world experience across a sprawling Chicago following the exploits of Aiden Pierce, an elite hacker with access to the ctOS. A centralized unifed communications network of which ‘everything is connected’ every camera, phone, computer. Giving unpresedented connection to do a lot of actions including the function of disabling/enabling traffic lights causing streams of chaos on the roads to your advantage, viewing CCTVs getting the drop on enemy locations and finding secrets. Set within a conspiracy heavy ‘Whos watching the watchers’/Big Brother controlled paradigm, torque with cyberpunk elements and a tight action thriller driven story.

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Everything is connected

 

A spin on the Ubisoft tagline from its seminal annual title Assassins Creed, of which Watch Dogs has ‘evolved’ from. Much in the same way Assassins Creed evolved out of Prince Of Persia. Much of Assassins Creeds staple hallmarks have continued into Watch Dogs. Unlocking towers are syncronizing to reveal items/sidequests etc in the surrounding area. Movements and animations are taken straight from its . Assassins Creed would as such does not work in a modern setting, because of the likes of cars, why walk around passing people when you can drive everywhere. Not to say it hasn’t been teased or deballed with Desmond sections in earlier titles exploring a modern environment.There is a document you discover within Black Flag from Abstergo Industries offices which outlines why ‘Abstergo’ does not access modern time scenario despite a need and call from its audience to do so. Then listing its next places in history showing us clues to where future titles of the Assassins Creed are going to occur. Abstergo as such being Ubisoft. Giving heavy hints of a spin off, which may have a cross over as such. There a few easter eggs which tease a ‘same-universe ‘ which would be spoilers.

 

Nothing is permitted

 

At retail and digital there are over a DOZEN variants of Watch Dogs, you would have to purchase at LEAST 4 different Watch Dog package to guarantee getting all of the content that is available. That is just simply insane. There is not just complete edition. Watch Dogs has gone on to be a big winner for Ubisoft being the best selling new IP (Intellectual Property) garnering millions of sales. Unfortunately a proportion are unable to even play the title. Including myself. I purchased Watch Dogs from Uplay… and that was a big mistake. Just wish I had read the Forbes article highlighting the tools being used for development were NVIDIA Gameworks toolset. Which will affect those AMD cards.

So AMD gamers from the onset were on a losing battle for a promised experience. Of which I am proudly one of. Numerous complaints have flooded the web with issues, across both graphic

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– Watch Dogs isn’t living up to performance expectations on PC. Benchmarks across the internet have varied dramatically, and my sources at Nvidia suggest that even they can’t get consistent back-to-back benchmark runs. Nvidia explains that Ubisoft’s Disrupt engine is quite complex, and that the way the game streams in data may be a potential bottleneck. Jason Evangelo

 

– The most perplexing thing about the PC version of Watch Dogs is how divided user experiences actually are

I have yet to play beyond a few minutes at a time, before a full system lock up and a dark blue screen of death. There is to my experience a 1 in 4 chance of the game loading to the splash/menu screens. As what for hardware I am using in my beastly PC, is a AMD Radeon HD 7970 with 2GB vram. AMD Phenom 2 – 6 hexacore system 16gig of DDR3 Ram. Even in the graphics menu itself choosing auto-setting, puts everything to bare minimum. Of which the game is unplayable, crashing as soon as in the environment. Have however had 2 slighty extended play sessions where it managed about half an hour. Which is just baffling. Such varying experiences when it comes to playing Watch Dogs. All Watch Dogs is presently doing on my PC is taking up data space. The title is unusable, it is unplayable and is as such greatly disappointing.

 

On top of the debacle PC users had the challenge of logging into Uplay! Uplay is Ubisofts digital content DRM browser of which its a nice clean interface with cross platform functionality. Upoint achievements system where unified unlocks and points. For instance if you purchase Splinter Cell Blacklist and using Uplay points (earned from a objectives in game) unlock a costume/car/tool etc if you later purchase the same title on a different platform the same unlocks are available. Cloud saving is another element, when I managed one of the half hour trips into Chicago the game auto-saves progress your save file is cloud only. Verifying the game on each play. Making the game unplayable if you are offline. I discovered this, following conversation on Steam forums of better experience and framerates if played offline. There was no continue functionality of my progress.

 

Many gamers were locked out due to server issues. Steam purchasers have to double load, then into Uplay as well.

The marketing department are patting themselves on their backs furiously and rightly so, but the game is not as intended. As many commentators are talking this is not the slick cyberpunk-like darker action thriller we were expecting, and it certainly is not. It is a nice sandbox of potential. There is fun to had exploring, it ‘feels’ like Assassins Creed 1 testing out the waters with what is do-able in that world, without a doubt the green light for Watch Dogs 2 has already been lit. With a confirmed 4 million copies sold so far. Assassins Creed 2 is considering the benchmark for the better-sequel over an original. Watch Dogs future may be closer to the experience we were expecting from the initial trailers and marketing. 

Kristian Lander

 

Post Author: kristian lander

Social commentator. Looking to learn more about life’s mysteries! Researcher and writer of the curious. Filmmaker & observer of the daily tussle.

Presenter of the “Rabbit Hole That Is Reality” Radio podcast.
Editor of Beyond The Line magazine. Writer for Supernatural Magazine.
Has a number published works and articles. TV and radio credits. Currently gritting down writing a novel.

www.KristianLander.com

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