Almost two years after its surprise reveal at E3 2012, Watch Dogs is finally ready for everyone to hack away to their hearts content. The game was originally planned for release in November 2013, but was delayed only a few weeks from release with no new release date given which, of course, made the internet throw around its theories of a broken game.
The delay was only six months and the impression of first reviews think it was a good thing. Let’s see if Ubisoft has a new franchise worth our time.
“It can last a lot longer than 20 hours though, because Watch Dogs is extremely good at distracting attention away from the main story with a steady stream of side quests and minigames. I’m a big fan of the gang hideout missions, which really let you test your stealth skills as you take down well-guarded targets (though it’s kinda strange that they ask you to keep the gang leader alive but are cool with murdering everyone else).”
Game Informer– 8.5/10
“On the other hand, the on-foot action is entertaining from the get-go and only becomes more engaging as you unlock new abilities. Hacking items adds a meaningful dimension to combat, allowing you to effortlessly hop between camera feeds to get the layout of the environment, tag foes, and activate traps. The solid shooting mechanics make full-scale firefights enjoyable, but Watch Dogs’ combat really shines with a stealth-minded approach.”
Giant Bomb– 3/5
“The other thing that sets Watch Dogs apart from the typical open-world game is the way its online action is structured. While it still has the same boring online race mode that every open-world game seems to have these days (does anyone actually still want to engage in an open-world race in a game that wasn’t built for racing?), it also has a handful of cat-and-mouse-like modes where one player has to get close to another player to steal something from them. These online invasions pop up against your will, forcing you to deal with another player before you can proceed. The rewards for succeeding in this mode are minimal and they seem to always pop up when you’re trying to start another mission, making them feel like a hassle that’s preventing you from doing the thing you actually want to be doing.”
“In fact, despite its open-world trappings, Watch Dogs does the most with its inventive abilities and great mechanics when it has the most structure. Story missions frequently enable and even encourage a lengthy recon phase. Any new assignment always involved my search for a CCTV camera which would then spider outward like cracked glass as I went from camera to laptop to junction box and on and on, spying weakness, marking targets.”
“Watch Dogs’ narrative may win no awards, but as an open-world playground, the game rightfully deserves to be mentioned with heavyweights like Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row. This playground isn’t just loaded with stuff to do, as most such games are; it’s loaded with lots of terrific stuff to do. I lost myself for an hour solving chess puzzles. Other times, I shot up aliens in several of Watch Dogs’ augmented reality games.”
“To the game’s credit, the temptation to peek exists without formal judgement, and there are no good or evil points to earn in your approach. Your reputation as a terrorist determines how likely it is for someone to call the cops on you, especially if you’ve been driving on the sidewalk, but the game is happy to let you spy, stalk, or brutally intervene when criminal activity appears in a dank alley.”