Zero Punctuation: WATCH_DOGS

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Zachary Amaranth:
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.

That's why I think this game is actually a power fantasy for Ubisoft, and the main character is the physical manifestation of Ubisoft. Feels self important, but has annoying personality. Sees everyone in the world as just a walking wallet, waiting to have their cash sucked out of their accounts.

I enjoyed Watch_Dogs, myself. No, it did not live up to the hype, but I never really got caught up in the hype to begin with. It was a fun but flawed game; seen a lot of people compare it to Assassin's Creed 1. Good concept, but a bunch of flaws that need to be addressed, which Ubisoft did with AC2. Can only assume they'll do the same with Watch_Dogs 2.

That was NOT a 19th century steam engine! That was a late 1930's american.
THIS would be a 19th century steam engine,
image
As for the game itself? Yeah, it can be fun at times. And I remember a game Yahtzee talked about coming out for the PS2. It was done via voice commands. YOu can imagine how good that was.

JakobBloch:
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.

I can't remember the name of it for the life of me, but there was also a game like what he commented about on the PS2, which required you to have the Playstation microphone. As you can guess, it didn't work that well as such, but it was a good idea, just poorly implemented.

Now it's gonna bug me I can't remember the name of it.

[edit] Here we go, Lifeline: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifeline_(video_game)
Great in theory, kinda awful in execution.

If we take anything away from this review, it should be that we need to bring "daddy-o" back into syndication. Why did we ever stop saying that?

Anyways, way to stick it to the man.

Bad points: the hacking isn't even as good as in System Shock, the stealth leaves something to be desired, the side-quests vary wildly, and Aidan is definitely in the running for blandest video game protagonist with a speaking role, which does no favors for the story. Yahtzee is also totally right about money and skill points. They help a little, but aside from providing a few more 'I win!' buttons during a car chase and a firefight there's basically nothing game-changing beyond a few basic skills you need, and it's ridiculously easy to hack a few peoples' bank accounts and buy everything you'll ever need. Soon enough, you'll be swimming in skill points and money (this does, however, have the side-effect that you don't have to worry about playing efficiently in order to get every spare $ and EXP point, so the 'best' route ends up being whatever you find the most fun rather than the hardest one).

Good points: the world is interesting and well-realized (definitely look around with the camera when you're in a server room. The videos there are almost always some combination of clever and darkly funny), the hacking is a very cool mechanic that I can't recall having seem before in a game like this, and the moment I stopped hiding and started shooting I had a ton more fun. Haven't played GTA5, but Watch_Dogs definitely also gave me the open world driving fix I'd missed in Saints Row 4 last year.

I'd say give it a look. If the above sounds good and you can figure out how to get it for like $30 or less, I don't think you'll have many regrets. Well, unless you're RPS and for some reason require Watch_Dogs to be the stealthiest stealth that ever stealthed.

Rituro:
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.

It's a fun game, at the end of the day all a critic can do is give you their opinion on a game, yo don't have to agree with them, and if you enjoy a game and someone else doesn't? Well that's fine!

Now back to hacking traffic light!

despite the tone of boredom throughout the review, I found this to be a pretty entertaining review, I totally lost it during the part about random "crimes" and his description of his time trying to hack a helicopter from inside a car. one of the best reviews in a while, keep up the good work!

This was the first ZP in weeks that had me burst out laughing, it was all very recognizable (especially the helicopter bit, that happened to me too).

I still enjoy Watch_Dogs immensely though.

Johnny Novgorod:
An honest and disinterested appraisal of the game itself.

You expected that from Yahtzee? If that's what you want, you're seriously in the wrong place. This is where you come for sarcastic abuse, not "honest and disinterested".

Playbahnosh:

LoneWolf83:
That is not hacking, that is magic.

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...

You ever play a game called Uplink? That sounds extremely similar to that. I enjoyed Uplink a lot.

I was hoping they would do that in Watch Dogs. Instead they gave the player a win button for hacking. If you've ever played a hacking game before, there is a bit of a thrill setting everything up so you're not detected, stealing information and leaving before the system picks up your presence. It's even more of a thrill when you've got seconds left to finalise everything, delete any evidence you were there and then disconnecting before you're caught. Then you hand in the mission, boost your reputation and get more money for better hacking equipment and software.

Watch Dogs had a chance to make this work, especially if they decided to focus on fewer parts and not spread their focus over hacking game + bad driving game + open world game + shooting/fighting game. Essentially, he has a magic cellphone that allows him to steal money and screw with the City's systems without facing the consequences. This isn't only about suspension of disbelief because they've essentially given him a tech super power, kinda like Cyborg from DC comics. The reason it probably doesn't hit the mark is because they've attempted to use a realistic setting and given him the equivalent of a magic wand.

Even in super hero movies there's SOME connection to reality. The hero is the anomaly (Superman) or the product of his environment (Hulk) so there's some explanation for why he is there. In magic films, the fantasy setting works (Lord of the Rings, the bulk of RPGs)- even Harry Potter left the normal world to learn in a magic world where magic makes sense. It's like giving Niko a magic wand in GTA IV. It would seem out of place. Saints Row is different because they established the game is a ridiculous set of games from the get go. That's why a dubstep gun is perfectly acceptable in their world. Imagine giving Aiden a dubstep gun...

A magic wand phone that hacks in seconds... Maybe Aiden spent some time studying at Hogwarts before moving to Chicago.

No wonder they had to hype it up...

JoJo:
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.

I laughed at this because that's exactly what I did. Shot the victim by mistake and then had the criminal rather indignantly walk away from me in disgust. As as for the amount of random civilians I gratuitously mowed down every time I climbed onto a motorbike...

grey_space:

JoJo:
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.

I laughed at this because that's exactly what I did. Shot the victim by mistake and then had the criminal rather indignantly walk away from me in disgust. As as for the amount of random civilians I gratuitously mowed down every time I climbed onto a motorbike...

Ugh, what is it with people who feel a sudden urge to leap in front of me or, even worse, blithely walk in front of me as I lay on the horn to GET OUT OF THE WAY?!? Thankfully, I've been more involved in fender-benders/sideswipes than vehicular homicides, though I am making an art out of navigating the centre line in downtown Chicago. A flawed art, but still - art.

putowtin:
Now back to hacking traffic light!

Ah, an excellent solution. To the hackmobile! *jumps inside an ice cream van*

I dunno, I have literally zero interest in this game to begin with, and I thought today's ZP was adequately funny.

I often don't agree with Yahtzee on various game-related things but it's always fairly enjoyable to watch.

I'm disappointed that Yahtzee didn't pronounce the underscore in the name of the game. I agree that Yahtzee sounds very flat and bored in this episode. He didn't even have the energy to properly make derisive jokes about it.

It is an odd game, in that it is somehow less than the sum of its parts. They've tried to pack a lot into this game, and there are some genuinely interesting ideas. But they've somehow managed to combine them in such a way that makes them dull. The way that all the NPCs had their own little back-stories was good, a pity they didn't do more with that. Certainly the way that the NPCs realistically interact with the environment and each other is probably the best that's ever been done in a game.

Stray observations:

* Did anyone else have a "what the hell" moment, when it was revealed by your profiler that your sister is 33 years old? She looks like she's thirteen, and when I first met her, I thought she was the 10-year-old kid's sister, not his mother. Creepy. Especially odd because most of the NPCs look realistic and age-appropriate, but one of the main freakin' characters in the story looks like pre-teen Barbie.

* The game seems to think the best way to be inconspicuous and go unnoticed is to look and act very conspicuously - somehow you are supposed to blend into a crowd by wearing "look at me, I'm a mysterious bad-ass" clothing. And somehow the best way to deliver a stolen vehicle undamaged and undiscovered from point A to point B is to drive it at tremendous speeds through busy streets. Or that the best way to follow another car unnoticed is to drive at a very suspicious constant distance from it, rather than driving like a normal car on the road would?

* It's probably best we don't mention the story's writing and plot. That was embarrassingly bad.

* Bonus points for the soundtrack including songs by both Ministry and Curtis Mayfield. That's some good tunage.

The reason Aiden is pulling his best trolly box impression is because the game wants to pull a Twilight and let the player more easily self-insert themselves into the hijinks.

It's very easy to picture Player A, who treats Aiden like he's suddenly hacker-Batman; a vigilante who only targets criminals who deserve it and goes out of his way to AVOID harming those not involved.

But it's equally easy to picture Player B, who makes their Aiden into a sadistic firebug. Who takes a moment out of each day to laugh at a 3 way traffic collision he caused and then conclude the festivities with a well timed explosive.

The only way to logically allow for both of these different Aidens is to make the character of Aiden have little to no character at all.

This is exactly the route I expected Ubisoft to take when they demonstrated the darker "serious" tone at E3 last year.
It's just Assassin's Creed, but with a magic smartphone instead of a medieval/Renaissance batman toolkit.

(and yes, I did actually sit down and play it last weekend; and surprisingly, I can actually agree with Yahtzee 100%)

Aiden's sister is the most fucked up person in the game:

"Someone killed my baby! But don't alert anyone to track them down, that'll make things worse!... Ignore the call threatening me and my child you just heard. Don't get involved!"

Geezus, Her kid's not the only one to need a therapist.

Darth_Payn:
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.

He probably didn't mention it because it's not a problem. I don't know about everybody else, but I heard "the driving sucks!" pretty much constantly before I was able to actually play the game and thus found myself surprised by how well the driving actually works. That's provided I wasn't using a vehicle with crappy handling like that sports car from the first mission, just about every other car works no worse than any GTA game.

Sorry Yahtzee, but I am actually enjoying this game. I was waiting for a game in which I could play a round of poker on a balcony with sirens blaring and general chaos in the street below due to a traffic light that spontaneously failed due to a completely random event that had nothing to do with me whatsoever and Watch_Dogs finally gave me what I was looking for. Sure, the storyline reads like a TVTropes website but the most fun is to be had in the open world with the Gang Hideout side missions (Seriously, they should build a whole game just on those missions!)

truckspond:
... but the most fun is to be had in the open world with the Gang Hideout side missions (Seriously, they should build a whole game just on those missions!)

They did. It's called Far Cry 3.

Aardvaarkman:

truckspond:
... but the most fun is to be had in the open world with the Gang Hideout side missions (Seriously, they should build a whole game just on those missions!)

They did. It's called Far Cry 3.

AFAIK you can't hack into cameras in that one

immortalfrieza:

Darth_Payn:
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.

He probably didn't mention it because it's not a problem. I don't know about everybody else, but I heard "the driving sucks!" pretty much constantly before I was able to actually play the game and thus found myself surprised by how well the driving actually works. That's provided I wasn't using a vehicle with crappy handling like that sports car from the first mission, just about every other car works no worse than any GTA game.

I'd agree, although it seems exceptionally rare (particularly among the fancy cars that people will be attracted to) for the cars to break the 4 star on handling. I have all but 2 or 3 unlocked and still haven't seen a 5 star one. The hand brake seems entirely useless too, and you can't drift a corner at all.

MeTalHeD:

Playbahnosh:

LoneWolf83:
That is not hacking, that is magic.

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...

You ever play a game called Uplink? That sounds extremely similar to that. I enjoyed Uplink a lot.

I was hoping they would do that in Watch Dogs. Instead they gave the player a win button for hacking. If you've ever played a hacking game before, there is a bit of a thrill setting everything up so you're not detected, stealing information and leaving before the system picks up your presence. It's even more of a thrill when you've got seconds left to finalise everything, delete any evidence you were there and then disconnecting before you're caught. Then you hand in the mission, boost your reputation and get more money for better hacking equipment and software.

+1 for Uplink. That game gets legitimately pulse-pounding when you start hacking into faster systems, and your account gets wiped if you get caught by someone powerful enough.

Watch Dogs is more like a generic GTA-style title with hacking being a gimmick thrown in to give you something else to do in combat. I don't see why you couldn't have an open-world 3rd person style environment, but the focus is squarely on traditional mechanics of running, gunning and driving. The hacking is just window-dressing.

Shamanic Rhythm:

MeTalHeD:

Playbahnosh:

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...

You ever play a game called Uplink? That sounds extremely similar to that. I enjoyed Uplink a lot.

I was hoping they would do that in Watch Dogs. Instead they gave the player a win button for hacking. If you've ever played a hacking game before, there is a bit of a thrill setting everything up so you're not detected, stealing information and leaving before the system picks up your presence. It's even more of a thrill when you've got seconds left to finalise everything, delete any evidence you were there and then disconnecting before you're caught. Then you hand in the mission, boost your reputation and get more money for better hacking equipment and software.

+1 for Uplink. That game gets legitimately pulse-pounding when you start hacking into faster systems, and your account gets wiped if you get caught by someone powerful enough.

Watch Dogs is more like a generic GTA-style title with hacking being a gimmick thrown in to give you something else to do in combat. I don't see why you couldn't have an open-world 3rd person style environment, but the focus is squarely on traditional mechanics of running, gunning and driving. The hacking is just window-dressing.

My account got wiped a few times, especially after hacking into banks and greedily siphoning funds from virtual peoples' accounts. It still didn't stop me from trying a second or third time though :P guess even virtual banks are protective of their cash.

Now, if Watch Dogs ditched the morality issue and, like Uplink, gave players the ability to build an empire on hacking ...we'd have a game where players would learn about the gritty reality about hacking, not the magic win button. Hackers are willing to get their hands dirty by diving into trash cans for crucial details about a company or to con an IT by saying they're logging in from home and their password doesn't work - things they could work into any game. There was so much they could have touched on linked to hacking alone.

They had plenty of time to explore it, using an open world setting as a way for players to find information about targets before hooking their laptop (not magic wand cellphone) to a nearby phone line or abusing a nearby wireless connection to complete their jobs anonymously. Aiden could have had hacker buddies who would supply him with better hardware and software (think gun dealers in Saints Row and GTA but computer stuff!) for his hacking. The cellphone magic wand could have been the ultimate upgrade players could build towards. Nothing wrong with starting low and finishing high.

But heaven forbid players be thrown a pulse pounding challenge...

Did he just reference Eden of the East? Awesome.

Just going to put this hear.

A zero-day exploit is one that takes advantage of a security vulnerability on the same day that the vulnerability becomes generally known. There are zero days between the time the vulnerability is discovered and the first attack.

Sometimes, however, a hacker may be the first to discover the vulnerability. Since the vulnerability isn't known in advance, there is no way to guard against the exploit before it happens.

Zero-day exploit is the only way (I can think of) to explain Aidan's hacking.
Considering how many different systems would be used for the different variation of things he hacks in the game he was either a billionaire or discovered them himself and decided he didn't want to be a billionaire, since zero-day exploits can be worth hundreds of millions each.

A good example is Stuxnet, it used an estimated dozen zero-day exploits hence why it was so wide spread and took so long to fine.

What's wrong with Yahtzee's voice? New microphone?

truckspond:

Aardvaarkman:

truckspond:
... but the most fun is to be had in the open world with the Gang Hideout side missions (Seriously, they should build a whole game just on those missions!)

They did. It's called Far Cry 3.

AFAIK you can't hack into cameras in that one

No, but the mechanics are remarkably similar. That was a tongue-in-cheek remark, BTW.

I really love Watch_Dogs so far. For a LOT of reasons. One of the bigger ones is kinda sorta motivated by spite, since I remember this SJW-y article before it was released talking about how Aiden would be a generic unoriginal uncreative standard-anti-hero-protag (based off the fact he was a white guy and not from first hand experience of having played the game of course, this IS SJWs we're talking about) and it's just been really vindicating to play through it and see that Aiden actually is a really well written character. I mean I could do a whole write up about him, but I think the moment that hooked me was when he first met Clara and tired to be all hard and intimidating, only to later apologize for being "rough" whereupon she called out the fact she knew quite well he was trying to pull an age old tactic to try and get a read on her. And then of course later when he's shaking down some criminal guy and he goes "what is even wrong with you?" to which Aiden replies "I wouldn't know where to begin." It's just really nice to see a Batman-wannabe character who is SELF-AWARE for a change.

It does bother me though cuz in the back of my mind I can hear the whining of the pretentious Game Journalists and SJWs who'll criticize his character for "glorifying" or "romanticizing" self-destructive hero complexes, or anti social behavior, or even pegging him as some kind of 'stock idealized hero male empowerment' horseshit =/ Cuz he's not. Aiden is clearly flawed, his inability to move on from the tragedy of his niece dying and the way he projects his self loathing onto others and compensates for his perceived failure to protect the ones he loves through resorting to some kind of masturbatory vigilante crusade is NOT framed as positive and is explicitly called out as being psychologically unhealthy and harmful to himself and others. And yet the loonys who spout "ludo-narrative dissonance" and other such trite will try to claim that because he's the protagonist who we play as of course the game is promoting and idealizing him, because despite constantly bitching that games aren't taken seriously, game journalists are the LAST people who are willing to look at games as a valid avenue of storytelling that is capable of presenting flawed protagonists who we're NOT 'supposed' to agree with or support 100% of the time (see: braindead complaints leveled at Joel of Last of Us as well)

Those idiots aside, Aiden is a wonderful character, who seems aware of the tropes he's composed of and thus is able to play with and poke fun at them even while conforming to their guidelines.

Hell, all the characters are really good. The acting and motion capture, especially the facial expressions, really sell them in every scene they're in. Clara is just so awesome, her 'relationship' with Aiden is ADORABLE, and I'm a sucker for accents. She reminds me a lot of Sam from Tomb Raider, only not useless.

I also like how it makes me feel really bad for killing enemies. The whole profiling mechanic that feeds you little factoids of personal info about people you're targeting goes that small step needed to humanize them. I mean we humans are capable of empathizing with a fucking pencil named Steve for crying out loud, so popping up a profile that says shit like "family member committed suicide" or "is curious about yiffing" or "has gone through 4 divorces" while you're in the middle of trying to shoot them in the face really adds that extra sting of guilt I love from games. Reminds me of Deus Ex in that way.

Hell, a LOT of parts about this game remind me of Deus Ex, in the best of ways, what with the extrenious options to do things through stealth or tech-wise, and how getting into a loud shootbangs firefight feels like punishment for failure that's still also a valid option to get through an obstacle. Too often games that push for stealth or non-lethality make the conventional gunbangs impossible or just frustrating to make it feel like you messed up, but Watch Dogs manages to retain that same emotional impact on the player while still having it be kinesthetically pleasing and fun in a sociopathic kinda way as well.

I also don't have a problem with the driving like I've been hearing around. It just feels a lot like Saints Row driving to me, kinda that happy medium between "realistic" and "dumb arcadey" driving mechanics. It works well and meshes with the way the rest of the mechanics function. Plus probably provides the funnest car chases of any open world game, instead of just bring a boring "ram em and shoot em" kinda chase, you really get to use the city as a weapon and when you do it right it has that satisfying zoom in on the car wreck Need For Speed style, it makes me feel GLAD there's no drive by shooting thing since it encourages you to look for more lateral means of resolving the situation.

And, of course, as a completionist type, the wealth of collectables and side activists and potentially endless content in the form of random crimes and fixer contracts and online invasions brings this game closer to my ideal dream sandbox of the future, with no story and just a bajillion side quests and endless randomly generated contextual city-activities/crimes/funnyevents/ect. One step closer~

Don't let the mixed reviews or the over-hyped marketing of the game deter you. Watch_Dogs is wonderful, it's fun, it accomplishes everything it sets out to do and doesn't try to be more than that. If you don't have a stick lodged up your ass, there's no reason not to buy and enjoy it.

When I played this game, I got a huge redux of the original Saint's Row feel. Just a sort of competent but meh GTA clone with serious QA problems (PC gamer on this thing). Sure, pulling the rug out from under us with all the severely faked gameplay from E3 2012 is a telltale sign of how the game would turn out beyond graphics. Still, it's one of those games that, if UbiSoft Montreal can figure out what makes their game special and really build up on that, then Watch_Dogs 2 could easily be a classic in the GTA-clone field like Saint's Row 2 is.

But apart from the nifty camera sections, which seemed to be few and far between especially after unlocking every CtOS site in under an hour, hacking is just a visually different implementation of the same things you do in GTA. Instead of smash out a window and steal a car, point my phone at it. Instead of bludgeon a passing civilian with bat to steal his pocket change, point my phone at it. Instead of ramping off a hill and over an apartment building to escape the cops, point my phone at it. Watch_Dogs turned GTA boring.

Another little picky nit to work on is what's with the battery mechanic? I understand the need to limit major abilities to avoid spamming out major hacks, but it really breaks the game's feel. What's recharging my Windows Phone knockoff behind that dumpster in an alleyway? A security sniffer program that triangulates in on who is hacking the system if you spam the button is a far more useful mechanic, which would add a degree of tension to the game. As it stands, I can go around pumping cash out of every passer-by without much worry from the CtOS authorities, the IRS, or where I'm stashing 25,000 $20 bills in my trench coat because I found myself sitting on a half-million in an incredibly short time frame. I should have to worry about being chased down by cops that just zeroed in on my phone and caught me on a camera because I'm being incredibly noisy involving bank accounts, the toughest security protocols on the planet.

For instance, if I use the blackout mechanic, it should peak out my cyber-heat mechanic and, when the lights come back on, should I be stupid enough to so much as unlock a car remotely, the system that's actively looking for my signature will just set off the cops again. It would also make upgrading more useful, such as an improved counter-security program that allows the heat to deteriorate faster or increase slower. Instead, I have to craft some item (seriously, what?) to do these things.

I wanted to love this game, but there is just so much lost potential that I really can't get around to finishing it.

It seems like the hacking concept was tacked into another game (possibly a Driver sequel? based on Aiden's apparently being a wheelman as his non-hacker specialization), or they had the hacking, but only decided to make it a major gameplay thing later on.

Outside of blink-and-you-miss-it dialogue early on where Aiden mentions he wrote the profiler, he never hacks anything. He's just deploying pre-made apps by whoever his partner is. If you've seen Person of Interest (which this could almost be an adaptation of), he's very much the Reese to his partner's Finch. He's the wheelman/special ops guy for the actual hackers.

The one-button hacking even makes sense, if you figure that originally the mechanic was Aiden telling his partner hacker to "hack this for me" akin to Booker directing Elizabeth to open Tears in Bioshock Infinite.

The Weirdly Abusive Tutorial Voice game EXISTS on PC and iOS. Its called "Republique".

image

MeTalHeD:
You ever play a game called Uplink? That sounds extremely similar to that. I enjoyed Uplink a lot.

I indeed played the bejeezus outta Uplink and other hacking games (and I did some other, uh, "extracurricular activities" back in school, like getting the admin password for the school computers and installing a bunch of games :D), and enjoyed it very much.

Yes, WATCH_DOGS missed a huge chance to really feature hacking in an open world environment. As I said, this was not an open world hacking game, but a GTAIV with a hacking gimmick, as you said, a magic "I win" button. Aiden is not a hacker, he is an action hero vigilante. He never once solved any of his problems with hacking, but by driving around, shooting guns and waving his magic phone around. I would've loved this game if we had a hideout where we could commit some hacking from, where you upgrade your equipment to do it faster and better, where there is an actual challenge and danger in hacking into stuff. The old CTOS bunker would've been pure gold for this. But that location was utterly underutilized. They could've done so much more with it other than being a place to pick up the odd mission and listen to exposition. WATCH_DOGS is a huge missed chance in almost every way.

They got the hacker society totally wrong as well. Most real hackers don't hack for money, fame or juvenile thirst for destruction. They hack because they can. They don't see security systems as dangers on society or possible source of income or infamy, but as a challenge to their skills and general curiosity. You erect walls around something, that must be worth seeing, so I will go over or through those walls. You make them higher and stronger, I will have to climb higher or use more explosives. The stronger the security measures, the bigger the challenge, all the more to learn and the better the exhilaration when you finally succeed. There are basically three kinds of hackers. White Hat hackers are the ones I described, they hack because they can or because they are bored. Once they get through, they usually lose interest or leave a note to the admin describing how they got in, so they can fix the security hole. They are anything but malicious, other than some playfulness. Black Hat hackers do it for personal gain or other underhanded reasons. They are the ones most people think as "hackers", they are the industrial spies, they steal trade secrets, official documents, valuable information and ransom them back or sell them to the highest bidder. They break into government systems to steal social security, pension or alter their (or someone else's) identities, etc. They work for hire, they are far from ethical, but at least they have their reasons. The third kind is the Script Kiddies. Usually angsty teenagers or neckbearded man-childs with a knack for computers. They are the ones who DDoS your favorite game's servers to oblivion when they lose a game, they hack your email and facebook and post all your personal life on Pastebin for sh!ts and giggles, they would hack the Jumbotron during Superbowl to stream porn on it, and they are the ones who hack anything to cause wanton destruction just to brag to their nameless friends about it in IRC chatrooms.

The characters in the game are none of those. They are one-dimensional plot devices with laughable personalities or justifications. Ehh, I'll wait for someone to actually make an open world Uplink style game, that would be great.

This game is utter crap, anyone who says otherwise is just a delusional buyer trying to justify it's purchase or part of Ubisoft team behind this utter crap. Let's track it's mistake, shall we?

1- Driving is terrible. This game the cars have little to no control at all. Cars go from 0 to 180 Km/h (that is how we roll in the not US part of the world) in a touch of a button. Giving rear is even worse. What leads you to collision. Lots of collisions. They however don't matter. Unless you ram over a bunch of people. Did I say 0 to 180Km/h, well I was not being honest with you guys, this game has no velocimeter. Games like Mafia have it. Not Watch Dogs. They made next gen game with tropes of GTA from PS2 era.

2- Forget about hacking. The most usefull ability Aiden have is his gun. Go Max Payne in a terrible shooter and slow down time giving headshots. Don't worry about damage you take, this is a video game. You can take more bullets than anyone you face and you auto regenerate like Wolverine. If things turn sour all you need to do is to use of black out gadget (really you have to craft it) and hide for a few seconds. Also CQC is lethal in every enemy, but the heavy one. To close to you press B to instant kill.

3- Extra activities are out of context. This game gives you so much extra activities that are out of context for a game about vigilantism. Random street grime and Gang Hide out, the latter being ridiculous planned. There is one gang hide out that is inside a mall. I kid you not, NPC's were cool with a bunch of non cops armed with AK's, but they freaked out when I pulled my police batton on one of them. Them there are those digital trips and car runnings, not to mention the even weirder (is that a word) run coin thing.

I even skipped the part people who bought it could not play, but pirates could with less bugs. ultimately Watch Dogs if not by all the hype it received all the marketing money game sites made out of it would receive a 60.

The annoying thing for me with this game is hte ctOS and blume stuff, which was the behind the scenes of what they are doing with various things i won't mention for spoiler warnings, is the best bit... and not really covered at all by the main plot other than a crytpic (or not so if you got the audio logs) at the end.

And we won't mention the plot hole with the whole unhackable secret location and what happens to it. Oh and there is one location in the game where he says something along the lines of "i don't carry cash" that made me spit my drink out, due to the million or so i had somewhere in my jacket from all the atms.

Its the classic set up to something better, but we needed something better to start with.

I think ubi might be disappointed with the second games sales, its out of the "defining new next gen experience" window and some people (myself included) are going to have been disappointed by this game.

Oh and yahtzees wrong, the lead the person through the maze via cameras thing, was the worst sodding part of the game.

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