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LTTP: Watch Dogs (2014)

cormack12

Gold Member
Mar 21, 2013
11,508
31,639
1,550
So, I finally played through this just before RDR2 dropped and have been wanting to share my thoughts. But getting time to actually jot them down is something else. I tried to start this game twice and shelved it when I got to the end of Chapter 1. To be honest I've done the same with Watch_Dogs 2 as well. Tried twice, got to the first 'hideout' both times and just put it down.

Watch dogs was released when the animosity towards Ubi was probably nearing its height culminating in the Unity outrage. It led to those legendary downgrade threads and melting PS4 threads as well. So the first thing that struck me was the number of ctOS 'towers', there were only 13 which surprised me, I expected a ton more. And I didn't feel like they got in the way or were onerous at all. They were consistent with the world and protagonists aims and never really felt like a 'chore' like in some games.

In terms of the city, much more enjoyable than GTAIV and obviously has the fidelity and graphical improvements you'd expect. I think it's probably my personal favourite imagining of a modern day urban city (including the downtown districts in GTA V and what little I played of WD2). If they ever thought of creating a modern day police game like L.A. Noire then this city would be perfect for it. It surprised me because as soon as I drove out to the more rural Pawnee, I was itching to get back into the city, which is rare for me.

I enjoyed the vehicles and their differences in handling, speed and weight, except motorbikes - fuck them.


There are things that feel a little out of place or strange though

1. I thought the side missions were more gripping than the main storyline. It appealed more to me to be a 'vigilante' and go and investigate those missing bodies. As they are basically relegated to collectible status though they aren't really fleshed out;
2. The Maurice ultimatum at the end of the game only has an impact if you've bothered to collect the audio logs;
3. I never really felt like a 'vigilante' which is what the game was going for. I felt things happened then the game gave me a waypoint if I wanted to detour from the main storyline. To me it would have been more interesting if there was no main storyline and just investigations you decided to pursue based on intrusions etc. like hack a guy who is a decent husband and father, but as an insurance broker is scamming some people who are falling into debt. That kind of depth really. And then making an actual choice.
4. I didn't like the forced shootouts. I would have preferred more methods to avoid those. There are probably only around four but still annoying when going for a 'tech' playthrough.

I know WD2 is a bit of a deviation from all accounts from the grimdark overly serious tone of WD1, but I don't think it missed its mark by much. At all. I'd be eager to see them revisit this lone wolf kind of thing with a darker theme but with a stronger supporting story or abandon the main story altogether and just have crime periods or events, maybe seasonal as well to solve. Sort of like episodic content in a persistent world. But rewarding and immersive and puzzling.

Overall I think having played it, this game was judged really harshly and suffered because of the whole downgrade screaming 'era', and was launched at a time when Ubi goodwill was at a critical low. I'd definitely say it's worth a playthrough. Although I can easily see why people might pick it up for a few hours and never play through it after becoming bored by the end of Chapter 1.

Some gifs from my playthrough, really is a beautifully crafted and atmospheric world though, especially in the rain and when the lighting is just right.













 

Fbh

Member
Dec 6, 2013
17,612
15,665
1,150
I didn't think it was great but it was better than the bad reputation it gets.
The story was bad and I think they could have done more with hacking concept. It would have been interesting to see an approach where you had to rely more on your hacking because rather than a hacker I felt like a super soldier that also just happened to be good at hacking. But the core gameplay was actually pretty solid, I had more fun playing through the story in this than GTAV because the shooting was way better and the hacking, while gimmicky, was fun to use.

I do get why it got so much negativity though. Not only the graphical downgrade but the world itself wasn't as detailed or impressive as the one in GTAV which was running on last gen systems.
 

Nymphae

Banned
Jun 3, 2013
14,652
22,894
1,235
Canada
I was very impressed with the feel of the gunplay. I played it last summer, bought for like 10 bucks and had a good tune with it for that price.
 

Muffdraul

Member
Apr 23, 2008
10,196
19
1,175
Los Angeles
I didn't think it was great but it was better than the bad reputation it gets.
The story was bad and I think they could have done more with hacking concept. It would have been interesting to see an approach where you had to rely more on your hacking because rather than a hacker I felt like a super soldier that also just happened to be good at hacking.

It seems like a lot of people, including myself the first time I played WD1, missed the fact that Aiden isn't a hacker. He says it straight out himself in his voice log diaries. He's a fixer, Damien hired him and then taught him just a little bit of hacking. Notice that you have to rely on Clara to do all of the heavy lifting throughout the game whenever it comes to hacking, because aside from a few cheap tricks with his phone Aiden is useless.

I think that dichotomy also comes into play in WD2, where Marcus is far more of a skilled and accomplished hacker, not so much of a fighter. WD2 was heavier on hacking and lighter on gunplay, a total reversal on WD1... which makes sense in terms of the character development in each game. I mean it kind of explains why the gun controls and so forth in WD2 are undeniably less robust, which is kinda weird. A questionable design choice, but I'm pretty sure it was deliberate.
 
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SirKicksalot

Member
Jan 9, 2018
1,988
3,128
535
I liked fooling with the traffic lights and that's about it. The action never felt right to me.