Yubel Reviews Watch Dogs

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Yubel Reviews Watch Dogs

Post by Yubel » Sun May 17, 2015 5:38 pm

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Watch Dogs is a unique experience, thanks to it's central concept of hacking. The game takes place in a futuristic vision of Chicago, with technology at it's core. Most scenarios may be considered fictional, but many remain based on genuine concerns. However cynical you may be about such possibilities, my opening claim still stands.

There are many common traits running through this title's DNA, components which seemingly no other game in the genre should be without. It's down to Ubisoft's forward-thinking proposition that structurally similar scenarios feel distinct in how your approach is influenced. Such compelling game-play opportunities surround players throughout; whether improvising your own devices, sabotaging enemy tech or tapping into a variety of infrastructure, the playing field couldn't be much different. This extends to pursuits, surveillance, navigation and more with unprecedented access, and therefore control, over an electronically charged environment.

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The game opens with Aiden Pearce, along with Damien Brenks, performing a data-heist within Merlaut Hotel. Damien doesn't stick to the plan, so Aiden disconnects and leaves his partner to deal with the aftermath. Although ramifications of their detection result in a hit being made on Aiden, his six year old niece ends up paying the price - a tragedy which sees Aiden become a vigilante in pursuit of vengeance. What follows is a story that strings together various leads, ropes in several factions and ultimately uncovers the truth pertaining to Lena's death. Objectives tend to encourage stealth, though gun-play is also viable with a wide range of weaponry to choose from.

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There's no denying that the game's ctOS control towers (serving the exact same purpose as Assassin's Creed's viewpoints and Far Cry's radio towers) are merely disguised, but this repeated mechanic doesn't warrant any negativity from me. Once activated, each tower uncovers new side-contents on your map and it's these diversions which I'm going to now draw attention to.

There's alot of optional content spread across the map - more than enough if you ask me - so they'll be explained to varying degrees. First of all are the missions: gang hideouts, criminal convoys, fixer contracts and crimes. During times of solace , you'll frequently be alerted to nearby crimes. Upon arrival, identify the victim and watch for potential threats whilst remaining hidden to prevent spooking them, then intervene at the right moment to incapacitate the crook.

Gang hideouts welcome you to infiltrate exactly that, each harbouring specific targets to physically take down - this rule also applies to criminal convoys, who need to be literally stopped in their tracks. Fixer contracts, on the other hand, are less compelling vehicle deliveries against the clock.

Investigations are most interesting, peppered with some narrative throughout. Human Trafficking involves eavesdropping on suspicious phone conversations, therefore tipping you off to the location of 7 briefcases. Once each case has been scanned, De Marco (a key figure in this shady business) will be escorted out of the city by corrupt police - nothing one burst steam pipe couldn't obstruct, prompting a swift exchange of bullets.

On a more puzzling note, there are also 17 QR codes to scan, each one containing an audio log courtesy of DedSec. Fragments of these codes, plastered over several locations - often of varying heights and range - can become whole by hacking specific surveillance cameras and aiming them at the correct angle.

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Missing persons is a series of locations where brutal murders have taken place; disturbing scenes set up by the killer. Burner Phones are your more standard collectable, chronicling the regrets of someone involved in killing Aiden's niece and Weapon Caches tend to lie behind garage doors.

The city and Pawnee - a small town residing on the outskirts - also include a handful of mini-games: chess, poker, drinking, gambling, NVZN and Coin Rush. Among these, it's the latter two modes I should elaborate on. NVZN presents you with aliens to neutralise as they invade via a number of wormholes. Fleshed out with evolving enemy types, weapons and power ups, it's a decent enough distraction.

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As with NVZN, Coin Rush is another augmented reality mini-game where your surroundings play host to parkour challenges, spread with coins to collect and skulls to avoid.

Transitioning into a parallel universe now, Digital Trips surprised me the most. There are 4 in total, each one as diverse as the next. Spidertank puts you in control of a mechanical arachnid, complete with dynamic movement, (scaling walls, leaping between structures etc.) rockets and a chain-gun; all of which you'll use to complete objectives such as bringing down helicopters, suppressing cops and generally causing destruction.

Probably the most bizarre, vibrant and far out trips on offer is Psychedelic. Here, abnormally large plants sprout from the ground as you hurl between each one in 17 unique courses.

Fiery demons wander the streets and roads, a demonic voice spurring you on, the crimson red skies - all indications of an apocalyptic setting in Mayhem. Although ramming through hordes with an armoured vehicle reminiscent of Mad Max, all the while avoiding lava plumes sounds exciting, it quickly became my least favourite offering.

Alone, on the other hand, slowly earned my appreciation above all else. In Alone, your objective is to restore power to the city by hacking transmitters scattered within. CtOS androids patrol each surrounding area with security cameras mounted upon their bodies, so stealth is advised to avoid being caught in their gaze.

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Tools such as EMPs and a stun gun enforce tactical thinking further, while visually producing an ominous atmosphere. Overall, Watch Dogs' side content proves diverse, but also that it's developers approached the game's themes creatively alongside an otherwise grounded tone.

Back to reality now though, as Chicago's inhabitants contribute greatly to it's sense of believability and immersion. Even simply just passing through, with the 'profiler app' active, nobody's persona can be classed as confidential; their bank accounts can be easily accessed, conversations are exposed, intentions become predicable and everyone is generally shown to be individuals. Rather than siphoning background information, 30 instances of Privacy Invasions offer opportunities to survey subjects in their natural habitats. A few examples include guys trolling the internet, desperadoes taking selfies and stumbling upon sexual intercourse. It's moments like these when you realise how unreasonably tight a grip CtOS has on society.

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As long as you're connected to it's servers, you become part of a seamless online world shared amongst fellow players. At any moment (unless engaged story-wise) people have the opportunity to hack you - with their download in progress, you'll need to identify them within a gradually narrowing search radius. Delaying or interrupting their actions by causing blackouts or perhaps flushing them out by remotely bursting fuse boxes will, in most cases, prompt intruders to cut their losses and escape. Parallel to that, Iv'e often tested my own luck with varying degrees of success. More typical online interactions exist in the form of races, decryption and free-roam, providing a fairly well-rounded experience to it's single player companion.

Watch Dogs shouldn't be overlooked as just another open-world action game offering what perhaps GTA V does better, but rather as an intriguing, technologically focused game bearing it's own identity. GTA may be well known for allowing all kinds of senseless mischief, but Watch Dogs shouldn't be penalised for staying within a certain context. It's characters aren't so colourful either, but not all quirkiness is lost on the overall cast.

The absence of any ariel vehicles and a compact selection of music, while not crucial, didn't go unnoticed and police can be irritating at their most relentless, but my overall experience was thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.
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Re: Yubel Reviews Watch Dogs

Post by Cruizer » Tue May 19, 2015 1:21 am

Very nice write up Yubel. Unfortunately I can't really add much in the way of critique of the actual game itself as I haven't really played it yet, but I enjoyed your review and its inspired me to actually use my Wii U copy of the game that's been sitting under my TV for approximately 5 months :D
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Re: Yubel Reviews Watch Dogs

Post by Yubel » Tue May 19, 2015 4:23 pm

Thanks for the positive feedback Cruizer.

I played the Wii U version too and was grateful that it existed given the circumstances. Hopefully you'll feel compelled to thoroughly experience Watch Dogs as I did.
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Re: Yubel Reviews Watch Dogs

Post by D.J » Tue May 19, 2015 5:39 pm

I had Watch Dogs on PS3 last year, and i really enjoyed it.

I'm not entirely sure why it got so much negativity, it wasn't perfect, but i still found it to be a really fun and solid game.
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Re: Yubel Reviews Watch Dogs

Post by Robbo-92 » Tue May 19, 2015 6:25 pm

Nice review :)

Like yourself I played it on Wii U, however I found it to be very 'meh'. It was a solid game but never really lived upto the hype Ubisoft created around it (but I would have been surprised if it had lived upto the hype), I doubt I'll play it again once I get round to completing it.

Also the driving was laughably bad.
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Re: Yubel Reviews Watch Dogs

Post by Jezo » Wed May 20, 2015 5:44 pm

Good job Yubel
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Re: Yubel Reviews Watch Dogs

Post by Yinga Garten » Fri May 22, 2015 8:29 pm

Been playing it over the past week, intermittently enjoyable but has some serious problems. 'Hovercraft' driving, repetitive mission structure, bland protagonist are just the tip of the iceberg. Still, the story is mildly interesting (albeit cliched alongside the dialogue) so I'll finish it over the weekend.

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Re: Yubel Reviews Watch Dogs

Post by imbusydoctorwho » Mon May 25, 2015 9:21 pm

Really enjoyed the game, yeah the protagonist was bland, and the music selection was rubbish, but bar that Chicago was a joy to explore,and I might go back a replay it again.
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