GAMEQUEST! Chapter Twenty-Four of Fifty: Watch_Dogs


Starting with it’s showing at E3 2012, Watch_Dogs (stylized with that underscore) quickly emerged as one of the most hyped titles for the upcoming Xbox One. Touted as an open world game with revolutionary hacking gameplay, it certainly appeared to stand out. Reviews were alright, hovering around the 8/10 mark, but by the time that I got around to buying it, it had attained bargain basement status, selling for the low starting price of just 15 dollars at my local Best Buy. Being somewhat adventurous at heart, I decided to take them up on this offer. Two weeks later, it was down to the new low price of 10 dollars. Oh well.

On to the game though. Overall I ended up enjoying Watch_Dogs a lot more than I ever imagined that I would. The emphasis on stealth over combat was a refreshing change of pace for me after going though Call of Duty 4 shortly beforehand. I have heard many liken this game to a tech-savvy Grand Theft Auto wannabe. I would have to say that this is a reach. While Grand Theft Auto and Watch_Dogs do share many common traits, such as the vast open world and mission based game play, the similarities pretty much stop there. Most Watch_Dogs missions and side missions actually end with non-lethal take-downs, penalizing you for killing targets. It’s not often that the missions in Grand Theft Auto include non-lethal anything.

This does bring me to my first problem with the game though. The side missions are REALLY repetitive. There are four types of side mission that pop up from time to time. They are:

-Criminal Convoys – Disable the targets car and take him down

-Crimes Detected – You’ve received wind of a potential crime about to happen. Tail the suspect or victim and intervene, taking down the criminal.

-Gang Hideouts – Identify the gang leader using stealth (mostly hacking security cameras to get a better view), infiltrate the hideout and take him down.

-Fixer Contracts – Vary. Most involve evading cops or transporting vehicles.

Notice a trend? Three of the Four types of side missions involve performing non-lethal takedowns. A few missions will allow you to get away with killing the target, but not many. The fixer contracts are the most varied, although most involve testing your driving skills.

One thing that I will praise is the on the fly hacking that can be performed in the game. While walking around the city of Chicago, you can interact and hack electronic devices using the main character’s smart phone. This gives you the ability to hack into bank accounts to siphon off some money, listen in on ongoing phone calls, and my personal favorite, launch pursuing cars twenty feet into the air by rupturing the pipes under the street. Never before have I enjoyed being chased so much in a game like this.

The campaign consists of 39 missions and actually plays relatively well. It tells the story of a hacker who uses his resources to find the people who put out a hit on him that unintentionally killed his niece. The revenge storyline, although fairly overdone in open world games like this, perfectly suits the setting of the game. It is not without its flaws though. I have two major problems with the story that I can’t go into good detail on for spoilers sake. The gist is that a relatively major plot point early on is almost resolved within a couple missions, and then is just kind of ignored for a major portion of the story, and the ending sucked.

All things considered though, for 15 bucks I wasn’t disappointed. For the 10 that I see it for now, it’s definitely worth it to pick up, but don’t expect it to change your life.



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