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Watch_Dogs PC Game Review
Watch_Dogs PC Game Review
Date: 05-06-14
Topic: Reviews & Previews
Author: Aindrasis Gupta

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Watch_Dogs PC Game Review


Watch_Dogs PC Game Review



It's Here, and It's Big


After a hiatus of almost 2 years, since the first gameplay reveal at E3 2012, Watch_Dogs saw the light on 27th of May 2014.

Frankly, I haven't seen a new IP getting hyped like this so much than what Watch_Dogs did in these last 2 years. Every trailer, every news, kept the gamers at the edge of their seats, building up the anticipation.
So, let's find out, whether this Ubisoft's "Highest Preordered Game Yet" was all worth the wait or not.



The Story is strong with This One



Like other UBI titles, Watch_Dogs has a very interesting story. It's not some over-the-top unrealistic approach, but a very much likable one. And you'll feel the tense just from the intro cut-scene only.

You play as Aiden Pearce (or Pierce) in the most lively city of Chicago, who is not only a highly-skilled hacker and a vigilante, but also the main protagonist of the game.
Born in Northern Ireland, his knowledge of hacking quickly made him acquainted with various underworld figues, that got him a lot of notoriety, not only as a hacker, but as a thief too.

But happy times doesn't last long, does it?
His actions led serious impact on his family, and ultimately led to the death of his niece, Lena Pearce. And that begins a quest for answers and revenge.


The story may seem very generic, but the way the story unfolds is just like reading a thriller novel - you can't put it down until you finish it.



Let the Hacking Begin


Hacking is a core part of this game, and this is the place where it truly shines.

First of all, hacking is done via your mobile phone (Thanks Cpt. Obvious!), which is quite some "super computer". Your mobile phone is also the centre of accessing your skill tree, your audio logs, your media, the online component of the game (just like GTA IV), and pretty much anything and everything.

There's not even a single thing in the city of Chicago that you can't hack - from traffic lights, to vehicle blockers, to cameras, to people's phones eavesdropping their conversations or chat messages, and so on. And it's helluva lot fun.



The hacking part is an "one" button press only - and that pissed a lot of people off. Many gamers were ranting that they should have included mini-games/puzzles to each hacking procedure instead (remember hacking in DX : Human Revolution?) to make it more difficult.

But I'm glad that UBI has gone with "Press X & Win" logic rather than that - I'll tell you why.
Suppose you're being chased by cops, and you press to hack a vehicle blocker, and bam, that damn "puzzle" (or mini-game) falls on your face in the middle of that high-octane chase.
So, yeah, you do get the point now.





Oi Suzy! That's how it's done

I'll start this by saying that the "stealth" or the "sneaking" mechanics in this game is very well-crafted. Thanks to UBI's years of experience with it's Splinter Cell franchise, playing stealthily and taking out your targets is a joy in this game.
Also the movement between covers is just flawless. Last was SC : Blacklist that I had so great time with cover mechanics. UBI greatly implemented that here too.



Regarding weapons - you have lots of them. Starting from standard pistols such as PX-4, to assaults such as AK-47, to snipers such as SR-25. Guns handle pretty smooth with no issues in quick aiming and shooting. Also they come loaded with enough ammo for you not to worry and more can be obtained from specialised gun stores around the city.

Also worth talking is the Skill Tree - it's vast. Your character, i.e. Aiden's skills are divided into four categories :
  • Combat
  • Driving
  • Hacking
  • Crafted Items


Each skill requires different amount of skill points to unlock. For example, some skills like the ATM Hack Boost (Hacking) requires 3 points to unlock, whereas skills like Focus/Steady Aim (Combat) requires only 1. The Skill Tree is indeed a nice addition to the "replayability factor" of the game.

Now coming to the area where this game utterly fails - is the Driving. It's crap, Period.
I haven't seen an open-world game with such crappy driving mechanics such as Watch_Dogs. There's no single amount of physics, no feel of car weight, no dynamics - simply nothing. The driving in this game doesn't even qualify even as "Arcade".



Shame on UBI - for the fact that these are same people who gave us brilliant racing games such as Driver : San Francisco.


"We love Potatoes" - Ubisoft


Other than driving, the area where this game again fails, is it's PC performance. Thanks to UBI's "potato" optimisation, the game even lags and shutters on high end rigs and even more on AMD systems. This shows that the original six months delay was of no use, and UBI is still being lazy regarding the PC platform.

UBI is said to be working on a patch, which hopefully at least sort out some issues of this broken game, as it ran with just 35-40 frames on my system (settings shown), even with the Day 1 patch.




Apart from that, the game looks great, particularly at night and best when it's raining. Haven't felt a city more lively than this before and finally UBI has done the "water" right in this game.
So, nothing to complain here.



Let's go Online


To be honest, from the day I've got my copy, I have been hooked onto the singleplayer campaign. It was maybe an hour or two that I spent, as a whole till now, exploring the multiplayer. And frankly, it's full of goodness.

Firstly, there are five multiplayer modes :
  • Hacking (Infiltrate, remain undetected & install backdoor before your opponent finds & kills you)
  • Decryption (Classic Capture The Flag)
  • Tailing (Follow, observe & remain undetected from your opponent)
  • Invasion (Invade each other's game)
  • Race (Classic Racing)


Online Racing is the only mode, on which I spent my most time with. It's addictive (even with that awful driving mechanics), and you get a healthy amount of cars. Other than racing, Online Hacking is pretty fun too. Here the points you get also depends on the difficulty of your opponent, i.e. how well your opponent's defense is against your backdoor. More difficulty means more points.

I'm yet to spend more time on the multiplayer end of the game - but from what I've experienced, in that short session, it's well worth it.



Verdict


So, was it worth the wait and hype?
In a way, a big YES!


Apart from the aforementioned cons, Watch_Dogs is really an amazing title. It's different. It's unique.
The idea they tried to pitch in, bringing in an all new concept with the "Open World" genre, is truly worth mentioning. If only UBI worked more on bringing PC optimisation, and that the game had better driving mechanics, this would have been a legendary title then.



Also the game is filled with lots of diverse side missions, that itself includes Fixer Contracts - so that you don't get bored.
The game's soundtrack is also worth mentioning. It's no different - UBI have always nailed in the sound department. The amount of adrenaline pump that you get when that music kicks in, while chasing your target, is just satisfying.



To me, this is really a big step in the right direction for UBI, and maybe a sequel is already getting outlined as I'm writing this.
Truly a game that's worth both your time and money. Get it ASAP, if you haven't yet!



Score : 9 / 10

" St[E]llar"



Pros :
  • Deep thrilling story
  • Hacking mechanism is done rightly
  • Skill Tree is vast and adds replayability
  • Online is fun
  • Flawless gameplay

Cons :
  • Awful driving mechanics
  • Serious performance issues on PC

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  #1  
By vijayninel 09-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Thanks for the review ... though I doubt if this will run on my 100mhz Pentium given all the performance issues.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
By realandR3cys 09-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Originally Posted by vijayninel View Post
Thanks for the review ... though I doubt if this will run on my 100mhz Pentium given all the performance issues.
Indeed!
Ubisoft really need to fix this quite of a broken game. And fast.
And with the reputation they're going (AC4 and then this) i'm truly sceptical of UBI's next PC releases.

Lastly, Thank You
Reply With Quote
  #3  
By csunit37 09-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Side missions are kinda boring. The fixer and convoy missions are all the same and feels repetitive. I really liked the gang hideout missions because of the continuously upgrading arsenal of weapons and gadgets.
Driving is absolutely rubbish. I don't understand the reason for making it so heavy. Most of the part in the game you spend is driving and I feel it should have been better. I mostly chose bikes over cars in the game. Another thing that bothered me was that you cannot shoot whilst in the car. And the horrible performance. My friend with a low end rig wasn't even able to play. Glad he didn't buy the game
For me this game is a 8.
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  #4  
By realandR3cys 09-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Originally Posted by csunit37 View Post
Side missions are kinda boring. The fixer and convoy missions are all the same and feels repetitive. I really liked the gang hideout missions because of the continuously upgrading arsenal of weapons and gadgets.
I really enjoyed the Fixer Contacts, but yes, the Criminal Convoy missions bored me as well.

Also, you should also try out Digital Trips, that includes the Spider Bot Tank mission - Hell, I would not have minded even if they had made the Spider Bot as the main game, and Watch_Dogs as side mission
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  #5  
By csunit37 09-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Damn that was awesome. With a few upgrades that spider was invincible
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  #6  
By anubhav992 09-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

The story line was quite small..but the side missions..they were really good and fun to do unlike the one's in GTA and saints row.....

The car handling requires some getting used to...it's nothing like I played before...

The game is really fun and new in its kind....
The last few missions were damn tough....

I loved the "potential crimes"
Felt awesome after stopping one :-)

The game really lived up to my expectations ( unlike murder soul suspect :-/ )

I played the game for nearly 2 weeks (got it the day it got released)
For abt 6-8hrs everyday and didn't get bored at all...

Won shit load of money in poker (400k in super high stakea ; while unlocking a special bike) and after that, money was never an issue after that :-)

I really wished if they added a few aircrafts :-)
And nitrous to the cars :-D



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  #7  
By mohitgamer 10-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Need to upgrade my G-Card before getting hands on this baby. Don't wanna spoil the fun.
Thanks for the review Mate.
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  #8  
By MadDog 10-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

thanks for the review bro..
it was real fun to read the comments on UBI forum on intial days of release when people had problem in logging to UPLAY.
some funny comments on UBI forum like "UdontPLAY", and someone told that "first stage was really tough to hack", were he actually meant logging into UPLAY

Heard some saying that the gameplay was repetitive and UBI didnt know what to do after hacking into system..anyway, nice to know that people liked the game.

But still "MADDOG is better than WATCHDOG!!!!!!!!!!"
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  #9  
By devvfata1ity 10-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

The game is broken man. It sux that I had to pay 1799 bucks for it. There are huge performance issues even on my rig. - 4670k Oced to 4.5ghz, 16gb DDR3 2133, 120 GB SSD, R9 290 Tri X OCed to 1100/1365... I get huge drops in fps to 2-3 fps & the game is basically unplayable. Havent been able to complete past the 1st mission.

EPIC FAIL...
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  #10  
By anubhav992 10-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Originally Posted by devvfata1ity View Post
The game is broken man. It sux that I had to pay 1799 bucks for it. There are huge performance issues even on my rig. - 4670k Oced to 4.5ghz, 16gb DDR3 2133, 120 GB SSD, R9 290 Tri X OCed to 1100/1365... I get huge drops in fps to 2-3 fps & the game is basically unplayable. Havent been able to complete past the 1st mission.

EPIC FAIL...
Da fuq???
It ran smooth on my laptop !!!
Gt 750m
I7 4700
8gb ram

On 1366x768 resolution
On medium -high settings

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  #11  
By devvfata1ity 10-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Originally Posted by anubhav992 View Post
Da fuq???
It ran smooth on my laptop !!!
Gt 750m
I7 4700
8gb ram

On 1366x768 resolution
On medium -high settings

DUH?? bro u r running at a very low rez & at medium settings. I am running at 1080p max everything...but seriously considering that i can run bf4 maxed out at a smooth 60+ fps...I am disappointed. Plus the graphics are not that great to kill my rig...UBI was just lazy in porting this game to pc
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  #12  
By anubhav992 10-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Originally Posted by devvfata1ity View Post
DUH?? bro u r running at a very low rez & at medium settings. I am running at 1080p max everything...but seriously considering that i can run bf4 maxed out at a smooth 60+ fps...I am disappointed. Plus the graphics are not that great to kill my rig...UBI was just lazy in porting this game to pc
Bro...When i say medium High, i mean Every Thing maxed out except Anti Aliasing....
and at these settings, it runs completely Smooth for me (cant say the Exact FPS , But somewhere between 45-60)
Even on FULL HD ( which is the actuall resoulution, it runs at around 10 fps ; AA off)
Anywaz....All the best...I really want everyone to play this game man....

After a verrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyy looooooooooooooong time, im seeing a good game out
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  #13  
By vijayninel 10-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Originally Posted by devvfata1ity View Post
I get huge drops in fps to 2-3 fps & the game is basically unplayable. Havent been able to complete past the 1st mission.
Try updating your card drivers and running the card at normal clocks.
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  #14  
By realandR3cys 11-06-14
Re: Watch_Dogs PC Game Review

Originally Posted by csunit37 View Post
Damn that was awesome. With a few upgrades that spider was invincible
Indeed

Originally Posted by mohitgamer View Post
Thanks for the review Mate.
Thank You

Originally Posted by MadDog View Post
thanks for the review bro..
it was real fun to read the comments on UBI forum on intial days of release when people had problem in logging to UPLAY.
some funny comments on UBI forum like "UdontPLAY", and someone told that "first stage was really tough to hack", were he actually meant logging into UPLAY
Thanks man!
And yeah, truly (even though I encountered not even a single problem with UPlay) UPlay needs to die. I don't understand the reason why UBI is pushing it so hard against people's throats.
Sad.

Originally Posted by anubhav992 View Post
the side missions..they were really good and fun to do unlike the one's in GTA and saints row.....
Truly the Side Missions are quite THE best i've seen in an open world title. The variety is just ridiculous, and will make you just forget the Main Campaign.

That just takes the interaction with the game world to a whole new level.

Originally Posted by devvfata1ity View Post
I get huge drops in fps to 2-3 fps & the game is basically unplayable.
Sad to hear that mate.
The game was conspired to run "Bad" on AMD GPUs, thanks to Nvidia Gameworks collaboration - and I suppose this would continue with UBI's next titles, continuing the UBI-Nvidia deal.

Anyways, you should wait up for upcoming patch.
Meanwhile, like Vijayninel said, try updating to 14.6 Beta, or if you're using CCC 14.6 Beta try going back to 14.4.

Also, set GPU Buffered frames to 1 and use Borderless Window.
Also make a new WD Desktop shortcut, and add "-disablepagefilecheck" (without quotes) to the end of it's Target line.
Now launch UPlay normal, and instead of launching WD via the client, double click on that shortcut.
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