Watch Dogs (PS4) Review

Watch Dogs showcases what it’s all about in its very first mission. Blackouts, hacking, taking guards down, and lots of explosions happening on-screen. I have one word that describes this game straight off the bat…fun.

Watch Dogs Review (PS4)

The game puts you in the shoes of a clever hacker, Aiden Pearce. My first impression of Aiden was that he doesn’t come across as a very vibrant character. He isn’t an exciting protagonist or particularly outgoing – in fact he’s more of an empty shell.

However, take nothing away from the characters in Watch Dogs. The characters that make up the story – as well as the average Joe on the street – all offer plenty of color and variety and lots of interesting people to meet.

Watch Dogs Game Art

Watch Dogs is a game all about hacking, and you can honestly hack almost anything. That includes people’s phones, ATMs, traffic lights, trains and more. The possibilities are truly endless, and the fun you can have with Aiden’s in-game smartphone is remarkable.

Aiden’s phone is integrated very well into the game, running seamlessly alongside the action. Some of the most interesting parts of the hacking system is just pointing your phone at people in the street to see their personal history, age, occupation, and in some cases, deep, dirty secrets which can actually be used against them.

After five hours of gameplay, I can confirm that there is an overwhelming amount of things to do in this virtual rendition of Chicago. The map is absolutely huge. So large in fact, that at the time of writing, there are vast areas I’ve yet to even see or interact with. After five hours of gaming, that’s impressive.

Of course, a large city doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a pleasant city. Looks mean a lot.

Thankfully though, I have no qualms in saying that Watch Dogs will be one of the most beautiful games you will play on the PS4 this year. For an open world game, it really is astonishing in terms of visuals. The trees, the weather effects and the animations are all stunning.

Speaking of weather effects, Ubisoft really went out of their way to create a dynamic weather system which constantly changes.

For instance, when you first start up the game, you may experience the world as very overcast. Yet, before long, drops of rain being falling, prompting people to pull out their umbrellas and put their newspapers over their heads as the rain really starts to come down. It’s really quite mesmerizing to just stand and admire these gradual weather changes.

The sound in the game is another big plus. There are lots of great sound effects ranging from car engines, Thunder, distant gunfire and more. Watch Dogs’ soundtrack is very easy on the ears too.

Some of the issues I had with the fundamentals of the game included the driving mechanics – which let the game down a ton.

Watch Dogs Promotional Art

For a game with so much greatness inside of it, the driving is something that needed to be stellar. But it just isn’t. Other games in the genre make the driving in Watch Dogs pale in comparison. There were also a few minor bugs scattered around, but nothing that took away from the overall feel of quality.

I’m only through around 10% of the main story of Watch Dogs in my 5 hours of playing, and so the story should be quite hefty. Although in fairness, I was distracted by several mini games and the online components. These range from gang hideout missions to zombie and killer robot spider virtual reality games. There really is so much choice and variety in this game.

As for Watch Dogs’ online multiplayer mode, I am truly amazed by all the hacking fun I have already had.

By hacking opponents, and by opponents hacking me, it’s been a great game of cat and mouse. The satisfaction you feel after a successful hack is intensified when you’re up against another human.

You can hideout in a car, blend in with crowds in a coffee shop, or stay on the move to evade being seen. Whatever strategy you employ, they really make for an enjoyable online experience.

The Good & The Bad

To help round off this Watch Dogs review, here are all the best bits of the hacker title, followed by all the worst bits. After that, it’s straight to the verdict.

Pros:

  • Graphics make the huge city look beautiful
  • Many activities and missions, barely scratched the surface
  • Online features are very fun, give a unique edge to the game that other open world games do not have
  • Great Sound and soundtrack
  • Destruction is great, dynamic damage on cars
  • Weather system is breath-taking

Cons:

  • Some minor bugs, nothing to take away from the experience of the game
  • Driving isn’t as tight as I expected, takes away from the whole experience

Watch Dogs is available on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Wii U

Release Date: November 18th, 2014

Developer: Ubisoft

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