Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Not So Obscure Video Game Review - Watch Dogs
So, as an extension of my perennially popular Obscure Video Game Reviews, I figured I would go ahead and review a game most people know about. You know, mix things up a bit. Watch Dogs was hyped more than any other game to come out this year, barring Titanfall. Like Titanfall, it's a struggle to determine whether this game lives up to its hype, or falls short.
Now, the answer to that question is a pretty hard one for me. While this game was hyped all to death, I didn't think it looked all that good. In reality, it is pretty fun. Does it deliver on all of its promises? No. Essentially, this is a Grand Theft Auto clone. The things that are supposed to be different from GTA, namely, the hacking mechanics, are pretty lame, and either confusing (hacking a network and camera hopping), or just pointless (using street blockers or detonating junction boxes). Much of the 'innovative' side features just end up being something you ignore because they are impractical to attempt while the game is moving at the pace it does.
The pacing however, is one of this game's strongest points. With the exception of a few quests (the jailbreak part was rather tedious, and had a lot of 'autofail' moments), the action is fairly fast paced. The characters are unmemorable, with the most interesting guy, Jordi, being a telephone icon for the majority of the game. Perhaps I've been spoiled by a bevy of good RPGs in the past few years, but the writing in Watch Dogs is pretty flat. The setting of the game itself is a dystopian/1984 version of Chicago, and...that's it. There really isn't much in the game's setting to 'set' it apart (I'm sorry). It could really have been set anywhere.
As if the above weren't enough, Watch Dogs has performance issues. And not the kind you can solve with a little blue pill, ladies. While primarily dogged with freezing on the PC, the console version is prone to 'chugging' and downright freezing at what are the most profanely inopportune moments. There are patches to help mitigate these problems for PC, but the console issue might not be resolvable.
It's a decently fun game, but I don't feel like this is the evolutionary experience we were told about. With how many delays this game had for release, it seems like it should have wound up as more than an unofficial GTA sequel.