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Watch Dogs is a hacking good time
Tue, 3rd Jun 2014
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Watch Dogs is finally out after getting a huge reveal two years at E3 2012. Does the full game actually deliver?

Being a sandbox game, Watch Dogs will inevitably be compared to the famous Grand Theft Auto series.

Even though Watch Dogs may not be as fun as the recent Grand Theft Auto V, it does add some new things to the sandbox genre and video gaming in general.

Watch Dogs sees you play as Aiden Pearce who is a hacker living in Chicago. Chicago is connected to a network called CtOS and Pearce is capable of using his smartphone to hack lots of things in the city.

Things take a turn for the worst when a hacking job goes wrong and someone seeks revenge on Pierce for bailing out by killing his family. Pierce then goes on a hunt to see who is responsible for his family's death.

Before I begin talking about the gameplay, I would say Aiden Pearce is not the most exciting main character in the world. He often grumbles and doesn't show too much emotion.

He doesn't show extreme grief like Joel did in The Last of Us. The only enjoyable character in Watch Dogs is his hitman partner Jordi Chin. He's the only person in the game to crack a smile and make jokes.

In terms of gameplay, Watch Dogs takes heavy inspiration from Grand Theft Auto IV and the recent Splinter Cell games. I say Grand Theft Auto IV as that game was more serious and grounded than the other games in the series. Watch Dogs too takes a more realistic approach and keeps the humour to a minimum.

The main campaign missions in Watch Dogs are similar to Grand Theft Auto IV in a lot of ways too. Most of the missions see you taking out lots of bad guys in their hideouts, or chasing them on foot or in a car.

Sometimes the missions get repetitive since they all play out the same. Still, Watch Dogs has a few things up its sleeve to make things a little more interesting.

The hacking dynamic is by far the best feature of the entire game. Aiden can hack into lots of things in the city to troll his enemies. He can hack the traffic lights to stop pursuing cars and can even disable helicopters.

He can also explode enemy smartphones and hack into any surveillance camera and more. The hacking is what makes this game innovative as it adds a whole new dynamic to the action gaming genre in general.

Combat in Watch Dogs borrows a lot of elements from Splinter Cell Conviction and Blacklist. It's pretty cool how you can choose to take out enemies stealthily instead of going in all guns blazing. If you choose to go loud, enemies will call reinforcements which will make life even harder for you.

Driving around Chicago is also pretty cool to do in Watch Dogs. My favorite thing to do is listen to the radio while driving in the game's cockpit mode. It sometimes feels like you're driving in real life with all the traffic and all. The music in the game is decent, although its playlist is pretty small compared to any of the GTA series.

Graphically, Watch Dogs looks decent especially on the PS4. The game may not look as good as it was first revealed at E3 two years ago, but the graphical downgrade isn't as bad as I initially thought.

Apart from the loading time at the start, there is rarely any loading screens once you play the game and I didn't encounter much glitches roaming around the city either.

Overall, Watch Dogs is a decent game that tries its best to be different from the Grand Theft Auto series. The gameplay can get repetitive at times, but the hacking system is what makes it feel fresh and not so boring.

Verdict: 8.5 out of 10