Zero Punctuation: WATCH_DOGS

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WATCH_DOGS

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews WATCH_DOGS.

Watch Video

Well there was an utter sense of boredom throughout this review. It didn't even seem like disappointment because Let's Drown Out has revealed that you wanted to dislike Watch_Dogs anyway. I wasn't going to get it immediately but now I feel further pushed away from it.

With the Jimquisition, The Big Picture and now Zero Punctuation all scoring a wonderful "meh" this week, I've little hope for this week's Escape to the Movies...

Heh, I can't be the only one who's the worst vigilante ever on Watch Dogs, easily committed many more crimes than I stopped. I gave up on the blue crime stopping missions when I shot some random innocent woman because I thought the game was telling me she was the criminal... apparently not.

From your description Yahtzee it sounds like there is relatively little hacking going on in a game about a hacker.

i ended up shooting those asshole in the face, after i had failed those bad crimes.
game gave me a homicide committed popup.

i ended up shooting more people in the face cuz' i would breathe on them as walking by and they would say "fuck you asshole" D:
so i had to shoot em...

faffing about about in this game was fun..
fixer missions
gang hideouts
and those damn end game chess puzzles.

i had fun with it.

Evonisia:
Well there was an utter sense of boredom throughout this review.

Yeah, I got that too, was if the thing was so generically bad there's not even any interesting complaints to make about it.

So does ZP not do the "Escapist into" bit any more or is the video just bugged?

He's right about the main character.

I knew I was going to hate Aiden right from that first gameplay preview where he walks into a building and starts being really rude to someone who is cooperating with him.

Watchdogs isn't good. Well that's a surprise, it's not like companies over hype things when they're crap. Oh wait.

How can anyone expect a game, movie, book or TV show to be good when it's been hyped up when whenever anything has been hyped up it's because it's bad?

So buy it once it's $20. Got it.

Yahtzee mentioned ponies.

I've been waiting to post that, I'm sure it annoyed him. Anyway, this review hits on most of the things that I've heard other ones knock, that the main character is a combination of boring and horrible. That the hacking mechanics add fun gameplay but are silly and the shooting can fuckoff.

Aren't you basically describing Republique at the end there?

I had a lot of fun in this game, especially when using cameras to check the area for enemies and thin the heard with explosions. It felt very strategic to me as you can then plan the best way to attack the enemy. Driving was great as was the x events for traffic lights and bollards.....which on 3 - 5 star coppers dont do all that much really. Though those moaning about the "press x" thing - what would you want instead? Though hacking other peoples phones should have given you a mini game before you got their money as there was fuck all to buy with the money and it was easy to steal.

I was thinking about this game compared to GTA5 (stick with me). I played WD more after i completed the game than i did when i completed GTA5. GTA5 is an awesome game for the characters, the interactions of the characters and dialogue - once you finished the game and was free roaming it all felt abit boring. With WD the hacking element added alot to the gameplay, and whilst it may not of lived up to the hype, i think its worth seeing what they can do with a sequel. Maybe i world were everything can be hacked in different ways, like driving cars remotely, stalling it or plain exploding the engine. Maybe hack enemies phones for info we can use against them or cause issues between them and other gang members. Maybe stuff like hack into the council and arrange for road works outside a gang place so it stops cars entering due to the road works. I dont know, there is so much they could do with the game.

Yahtzee seemed mostly focused on the hype of this game. And I really don't care about the hype. It's like when he dedicated a whole minute to describing how GTA V was marketed all over the streets when it came out. Dude, that's like in 3 or 4 countries in the world. Anywhere else you just have the game, and it's either good or bad.

I am having fun with the game, but after 22 hours in the game, I find that I wish it would just end. I am a master hacker, I sneak with the best of them... though the game is not easy still, which is good. A lot of fun, the varied missions are a fun, the crime missions drive me up the wall, so I just stopped caring about them. Once you unlock the ability to blow steam pipes, it makes the convoys easier and a lot more fun. Driving around to escape pursuit using the environment as a weapon is a lot of fun in my book.

Not a perfect game by any stretch, but I mostly avoided the hype for the game so I feel like I have gotten my monies worth. The only thing that slows me down in that game is that every time I see something new about The Witcher 3, I feel compelled to play the Witcher 2. But that is always fun.

Brilliant video Yahtzee and quite on point.

My sides are hurting from laughing.

Utterly disagree about the hype thing. Hype is simply the best way to get money from those walking wallets out there. there's little else to it.

thaluikhain:

Yeah, I got that too, was if the thing was so generically bad there's not even any interesting complaints to make about it.

Maybe he was doing is impression of cardboa...Aiden.

Johnny Novgorod:
Yahtzee seemed mostly focused on the hype of this game. And I really don't care about the hype. It's like when he dedicated a whole minute to describing how GTA V was marketed all over the streets when it came out. Dude, that's like in 3 or 4 countries in the world. Anywhere else you just have the game, and it's either good or bad.

He's a game critic for a game-related site that operates in and deals with said hype. What do you really expect?

You know, its funny. I totally expected him to not like this game; its kinda' his thing.
But I didn't expect to completely agree with him. Aiden is SO boring.

Zachary Amaranth:

Johnny Novgorod:
Yahtzee seemed mostly focused on the hype of this game. And I really don't care about the hype. It's like when he dedicated a whole minute to describing how GTA V was marketed all over the streets when it came out. Dude, that's like in 3 or 4 countries in the world. Anywhere else you just have the game, and it's either good or bad.

He's a game critic for a game-related site that operates in and deals with said hype. What do you really expect?

An honest and disinterested appraisal of the game itself. Which I got anyway, I just feel like all the extra commentary is a waste of space. He already has an entire column dedicated for it.

I wasn't a huge fan of the "guiding your pet" missions. By the time you had to guide a certain person in a certain hangar/warehouse I just jumped inside instead and shot all the baddies dead. I had most fun stealthily taking down every single guard in a mission area, but that got repetitive quite quickly in the end.

I'm not gonna say I didn't enjoy my time with the game (the spider tank was quite fun), but it was far from being a tenouttaten.

The game never sounded fun to me. The hacking in the game is no different from waving a magic wand and having shit happen. I'm not the kind of person who demands any level of realism from games, dual welding ak47's is unrealistic but fun but quad welding ak47's each one powerful enough to shred enemies and take out tanks is absurd. The hacking in this game is ridiculous. How does one hack from an cell phone? Maybe hacking barriers and stop lights could be done if there is already system in place for police or emergency services to bring up barriers and change stop lights but taking out the city's power from an cell phone, no. Did someone hack the system, put in a back door and create an app that automatically uses that back door to get into the system and do things? That'd be easily fixed, all they would have to do is close that back door or just take the computer off the internet or any other network. Then there is blowing up steam pipes by hacking them, taking out helicopters by hacking them, hacking ATM's, and hacking peoples bank accounts by walking by them, all with an cell phone. That is not hacking, that is magic.

It describes Watch_Dogs' quality the best, when instead of the open world goodies and story missions, I had the most fun with the privacy invasions and chess puzzles. Everything else was either soul-numbingly boring or tedious. All through the game I had a feeling I played this before. It's like GTAIV with a hacking gimmick and less mandatory man-dates.

The protagonist has the personality of an algae, the supporting characters are all one dimensional plot delivering devices and the story feels like it been shat out by a burnt-out screenwriter, fell through TVTropes and landed in a puddle of mediocrity. Same goes for gameplay, it feels like "been there, done that". NEVER BELIEVE THE HYPE!

I rarely buy games new, but this one had my attention. What stopped me from buying it was, no joke, one of the special edition goodies being "Aiden Pearce's Iconic Cap." It's a plain black baseball cap with a barely visible (also black) logo. At this point, I realized that Ubisoft was just screwing with us now. Leaving aside the question of how exactly the cap can be "iconic" of a character that has never appeared in any form of media before this game, it's just a baseball cap, for crying out loud. This seriously made me reconsider whether I wanted the game at all, and thus I decided to wait. Seems that was the right choice.

freaper:
I wasn't a huge fan of the "guiding your pet" missions. By the time you had to guide a certain person in a certain hangar/warehouse I just jumped inside instead and shot all the baddies dead. I had most fun stealthily taking down every single guard in a mission area, but that got repetitive quite quickly in the end.

I'm not gonna say I didn't enjoy my time with the game (the spider tank was quite fun), but it was far from being a tenouttaten.

Hehe one of those missions was particulary funny. I came to a place to get some person out of there and just went in and shot everyone. After everyone was dead, i noticed i was actually supposed to hack into the system and guide the person out. It wasn't very challenging with no more guards around. ^^

Yathzee i can fully aggree with the helicopter hacking. It's the reason why i gave up on one particular annoying side mission were you are supposed to flee from the police but the car you have to do it in is absolute crap. It handled way to poorly and was way too slow to escape an helicopter. Bridges work fine for police cars, but you can't just shake those damn helis without having to get outside of the car.

I agree about the hacking adding variety and strategy to the gameplay. He forgot to mention the problem with the driving, in that the cars rocket off into the horizon if you so much as gently brush the accelerate button. Messed up the Wheelman Contracts for me since I had to drive through tight winding backroads and alleyways to get away from the magically teleporting cops. That, and I had no idea where to go.

EDIT: I giggled when Yahtzee said "underscore" when saying the full name of WATCH_DOGS. Just like when he pronounced the umlaut in Brutal Legend.

Johnny Novgorod:

Zachary Amaranth:

Johnny Novgorod:
Yahtzee seemed mostly focused on the hype of this game. And I really don't care about the hype. It's like when he dedicated a whole minute to describing how GTA V was marketed all over the streets when it came out. Dude, that's like in 3 or 4 countries in the world. Anywhere else you just have the game, and it's either good or bad.

He's a game critic for a game-related site that operates in and deals with said hype. What do you really expect?

An honest and disinterested appraisal of the game itself. Which I got anyway, I just feel like all the extra commentary is a waste of space. He already has an entire column dedicated for it.

Keep in mind it was the company itself trying to hype it up like the next coming of christ. So it is valid, and it's important to note that it certainly doesn't live up to it.

LoneWolf83:
The game never sounded fun to me. The hacking in the game is no different from waving a magic wand and having shit happen. I'm not the kind of person who demands any level of realism from games, dual welding ak47's is unrealistic but fun but quad welding ak47's each one powerful enough to shred enemies and take out tanks is absurd. The hacking in this game is ridiculous. How does one hack from an cell phone? Maybe hacking barriers and stop lights could be done if there is already system in place for police or emergency services to bring up barriers and change stop lights but taking out the city's power from an cell phone, no. Did someone hack the system, put in a back door and create an app that automatically uses that back door to get into the system and do things? That'd be easily fixed, all they would have to do is close that back door or just take the computer off the internet or any other network. Then there is blowing up steam pipes by hacking them, taking out helicopters by hacking them, hacking ATM's, and hacking peoples bank accounts by walking by them, all with an cell phone. That is not hacking, that is magic.

Well that is the whole story, a security company Bloom is a mafia type company who put all the other security companies out of business, installed Cameras all over the city, then went after city infrastructure itself so it could spy on everything. One of the executives lets the backdoor remain open for exploits by the company. Dedsec is the only other people to have the exploit. The ATM hacking is just a mechanic for the protagonist to get money.

I pretty much just project my own image of a female protagonist over Aidan since the triple A industry seems confused on what to do with them. (Recent Ubisoft debacle, anyone?)

Once I got past that it was a fun game that I put 20 hours into before I even beat Act 1. (Spent an hour on Spider Tank. Man that was fun).

I didn't board the hype train, I only bought it when I had a couple friends tell me how really fun it was. I even watched one of them stream the intro mission. And it tickled my GTA-fancy (Since GTA5 isn't on PC yet) so I just went ahead and got it.

Christ they need to patch the driving, though.

Yahtzee missed one point: Mass murdering cops is detrimental to gameplay. I might have killed one in my 21 recorded hours of gameplay. If your rep is too low, civilians will call the cops on you ON SIGHT.

He's right about the other stuff though.

Worgen:
Yahtzee mentioned ponies.

Yahtzee mentioned ponies in a negative context.
image

OT:
Goodness, was a tad more negative than I expected even for Yahtzee. Still, always good to have proof that he says exactly what he thinks.

On a completely petty and unrelated side note, did anyone else notice the theme song played faster on this video? I think I've been watching this show way too long, but there was only 12 seconds until Yahtzee started talking instead of the usual 16.
EDIT: Oh wait, nevermind, there was just no Escapist logo this time.

I think that's the sniper rifle from Fallout 3!
Why do I even notice that?

LoneWolf83:
That is not hacking, that is magic.

You have to understand, that most people DO think hacking is magic. This game is for all those oblivious people. Anyone who knows even a little bit of computer security or hacking would laugh at this nonsense. But then again, this is a video game, so it's "suspension of disbelief" time.

Strictly speaking, it could theoretically be possible to do things like this from a cellphone. The groundwork in the game has all the possibilities. CTOS is this all-encompassing overwatch system connected to everything in the city from utilities, banks, CCTV cameras, all the way to baby monitors. If you had a backdoor or worm in this system, and your phone has high-speed internet access, you could (in theory) flip traffic lights or raise bollards and whatnot. But not at the speed Aiden does it. First, you have to somehow log into the respective sub-system, search for the intersection or device in the giant database (it's Chicago after all), then send the code that would bypass a billion firewalls, encryptions and security measures built into the system and the devices themselves, and then and ONLY THEN would you be able to flip that light or raise that bollard. Again, in theory, you could automate most of this process by tying it into your phone's GPS, so it shows your the stuff you might be able to hack around you (like in the game).

BUT (and this is a big but), any action like this would raise all kinds of hells and bells throughout the system, and any competent computer security guy would shut you out and track you down in a heartbeat. Don't tell me the people who designed and developed a giant system like CTOS are this incompetent in their own software as portrayed in the game. If in real life something like CTOS would get implemented and some douche would hack into it and screw with traffic systems, they would shut the whole system down, track down the security hole, patch it, and probably install a billion more security checks and failsafe systems. In the game, they just let Aiden (and anyone else really) run rampant, destroy half the city, steal millions of moneys and not lift a finger. That's what made this game really stupid for me.

I would've introduced a game mechanic, that whenever you press Y to log into CTOS using your backdoor, it would start a security trace. The more things you do in the system, like rob accounts, open doors, etc, it would make the trace much faster to the point they eventually reach your phone and alert the authorities to your EXACT location using your phone's GPS. You either log off before that and wait a set amount of time for a new backdoor to be created (which will take longer each time because of the new security measures), or if they did reach your phone, you could throw it away and escape, but then you have to buy a new phone (which costs a considerable amount of money because of all the custom made software on it). Either way, you won't be able to hack anything in the meantime. Yes, this would've made the game too complicated for some simple minded people, but all the more fun for many of them. Consider the adrenalin rush, when you are escaping from a gang fight, you already used your phone many times to steal some data or something, and the trace is getting dangerously close but you need the phone to hack bollards and whatnot. Do you log off and try to escape the offline-peasant way, or keep using it and run the risk of the police joining the chase and losing your phone altogether. Things like that...

Yeah, having to get out of the car to shut down helicopters was a dumb idea.

And it's hard not to snicker as Pearce growls about gang members who aren't going to get away with their crimes when Aiden ran over five pedestrians on his way to the mission.

But I'm still enjoying it. Room for improvement in the inevitable franchise, right?

As someone who has logged 54 hours and unlocked allllmost everything (can't really be bothered to round out the multiplayer bonuses) I'd be lying if I said I didn't like it. Though I played it more with saints row in mind then assassins creed. The skills are a real mixed bag though driving ones are almost worthless though the hacking and combat skills are all notable upgrades. Crafting is interesting until you meet someone who you can just buy all the stuff off of especially since you can get more money then you'll ever need just by walking around in the right area taking atm info for an hour (didn't quite do this but I opted to run to alot of places that were in reasonable distance and looted everything on the way and managed to have all the best guns before the second act ... and all the other guns .... and most of the cars). I had alot of fun with it especially if you embrace the hacking. It's like someone dropped a whole bunch of traps for you to use and you can set them off to brilliant effect. Silenced guns are op too as it doesn't count as a full alert when you kill someone with them so even missions where your supposed to not be spotted you can execute them all right in front of each other they'll look for you but in a lazy wandering way after running to check on there buddy meaning you can chain head shot a whole base as they come in one at a time to check on the problem. The hardest missions I had really any trouble with were the convoy missions where you had to stop a car from reaching a deadline... until I realized all the planning was inferior to simply walking infront of the convoy with the best gernade launcher and obliterating all (or all but your targets) cars. I had alot of fun with it but I can't help the devs would feel sad at how I played. The game really wants to be serious and closer to the real world but I liked the game best when I embraced the gamey silliness

I agree with Yahtzee's criticisms (especially the chopper LOS for getaway chases, UGH, that is frustrating) yet I still find the game too fun to put down. I think the hype may have affected my brain. Either that, or it's still a fun game, warts and all.

Hmmm

I don't know if anyone ever tried this game but the "direct another character through cameras" is pretty much this game:

http://www.gamersgate.com/DD-112/the-experiment-112

Is is more of a puzzle game with swathes of unprompted investigation required. It is the concept that is interesting as the game is fairly slow and hard to get into. The word boring comes to mind but does not really fit but it requires a time investment (lots of reading) with the game not rewarding you with a pay out in emotions. Finding that password written on a postit note does make you feel really clever though. I recommend it for anyone that would like to try a game that experiments with the medium and that thought that guiding someone through cameras was a great idea.

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