Watch Dogs is a tech-heavy open world game from Ubisoft. The locale of this world is the windy city of Chicago, where the character you play, Aiden Pearce, grew up and lives.
As Aiden, you are a rogue hacker who, is looking for revenge after the death of his niece. He uses his skills to find out who order the hit on him after a robbery gone bad. As you begin play, you notice that Aiden is sort of an anti-hero. He is out to get the bad guys, but when necessary he can hack nearly everyone. A key device in this game is his cell phone which he uses to connect, hack and disrupt anything nearby.
Your smartphone gives you access to the progression wheel which shows your progress thru the storyline, skill tree access and a host of in-game apps like digital trips, cars on demand (which you must hack or steal and then they will be available to you at anytime), hotspots. The game is loaded with things to do outside the storyline, but, which sometimes only unlock or become visible as you go thru the story missions.
The Skill tree shows the skills available to you thru at any given time and points are earned thru mission completion. The areas on the skill tree are Hacking, Driving, Combat, Crafted Items and Collectibles. Increasing any one of these pips gives you a very usable skill when winding your way thru the streets of Chicago when someone is on your tail or you are chasing someone down.
There is driving in the game, I found it sometimes frustrating for catching a bad guy and doing a vehicle takedown, but then again, I could just suck at the driving in this game. All in all it is fun to take down someone behind or in front of you by hacking the city and using the environment to do so.
The world map is broken up into areas or districts that need to be cleared and are dotted with markers that show things to do. Waypoints can be set, so you can easily find your way on foot, bike or car to your objective. One thing, don’t rely on the waypoint to do all the work for you. Once you are in a given location, you still have to search for your objective and complete whatever the mission requires.
I found Watchdogs a very enjoyable and deep game, one that I plan to play until I get that platinum trophy (even though i need to do some online tailing missions to accomplish this!) Some may say it does not live up to the hype during pre-release, but, after sinking a few hours into the game and taking down a few guys it is well worth the money, time and effort.
There are a ton of hidden things to do in the game and I leave it to gamers to find these things (hint: somethings don’t pop up until you complete the next to the last item in a category). If you reserved the game you will get an exclusive mission (PS3) that while a bit challenging is pretty fun! (The game glitched out on me a few times during this mission before I was able to successfully complete it) No, that does not mean it is a glitchy game.
Ubisoft has, as in past games, added an extra layer of playablity by having companions apps for smart devices via iphone, ipad and android. Keep an eye out for a review of the app from THE BURNEY GAMER, David Yerion.
This review was done for the PS3 version, Watch Dogs is available for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.