Just decided I would try myself at quick game reviews as I always published tons of tweets about the game I played, so here's a somewhat more elaborated personal point of view about the latest game I played. I intend to make these spoilers-free since I just simply hate to be spoiled when playing or thinking of puchasing a new game. Also I'd like to point out that this isn't a review but only an opinion paper.
This week, I've spent a little bit of time with Ubisoft Montreal's latest game: Watch_Dogs. Here's what I think.
Set in a futuristic Chicago, where everything is controlled via computers and smartphones. You play as Aiden Pearce, a brillant hacker who now seeks justice for his family after a violent family tragedy.
Story is full of rich characters, with crazy good voice acting. It sometimes bring deep subjects to the table but never really go deeper with them. Still there's very good moments where you're at the tip of the couch, eyes wide open, suspended to what is going on on the screen.
On PC, the game looks really good. Few textures are smudges at times but overall the graphics options of the game satisfy my urge to tweak everything just right. Yet, once again Ubisoft demoed us something that (I imagine) couldn't run on most PCs and consoles. I personally don't really care but still it's kind of a false advertisement.
Ubisoft talked about Arcade-like driving, which they succedded well with the bumpy colisions between cars and the globally destructive environment. You can easily drive on the sidewalk, smashing everything on your way without fear of getting face blasted in something.
It sounds more fun than it really is though. At times cars are litterally hovering over the road, and yet yours feel like an elephant on the road. Driving is unresponsive yet fast which makes the whole ordeal unpredictable.
Yet the "cars on demand" app makes it really easy to spawn a new vehicle for new to do what's really important instead of mindlessly looking for a new car while being in the middle of nowhere.
Some might say it's simplistic, because it is but I'd say the vast variety of options when unlocking new skills is what made me change my mind about Hacking in the game. Yes, it's about holding one button most of the time, but picking the right times to exploit those really is what makes it fun.
Distracting enemies, luring them towards traps, messing with them via text messages and getting police cars smashed in street blockers is pure enjoyment.
One important thing to consider: always look for lift. You can pretty much always get up on the roofs and have a major advantage over your enemies.
There's also a hacking puzzle minigame when intruding networks and such which is very enjoyable when you get the gist of how it works. (I've seen a lot of angry people on Twitch yelling at that puzzle).
No hand-to-hand combat, really? I hate to compare but the gunfight is similar to GTA V yet a bit more difficult. Where GTA V automatically aims at enemies no matter where you aim: Watch Dogs make it harder. You have to at least aim somewhere close to an enemy if you want the auto-aim to engage.
My personal favorite weapons are silenced handguns. They just fit the sneaky atmosphere of the game well and taking down enemies while not making a sound is very pleasurable.
Hacking is really what makes the combat nice. There's nothing more satisfactory in the game than luring an enemy near an explosive trap and toasting the hell out of it!
I usually hate skillpoints-based systems, they're always the same and most of the time they're completely useless for progression. Not this time. Watch Dogs skill system adds a wide variety of things to do, new hacks, new combat tweaks, quicker ways of obtaining money, etc.
Picking the right skill points is always important, based on the fact that there's just enough of them to make them really count. When you pick something new, you're always excited about trying it out which makes it really fun.
Overall, Watch Dogs is a solid title full of good promises that most of the time are well fulfiled. PC port is good enough yet still could use a few optimizations and tweaks. Its story is just deep enough to keep you enthralled as you go through hacking enhanced car chases, fast action-based gunfights and surprisingly satisfying multiplayer elements.
I'd say the game is unfortunately not "Game Of The Year" materal, but sure is good enough to give you one hell of a ride and is sure worth the price. Ubisoft Montreal shows us again the power and talent of Québec's gaming industry in a rich title worth 40+ hours of play time.
One last note, I haven't played the game with a mouse and keyboard but I heard very bad things about it. I personally think such title needs to be played with a controller and always play with one when available.