Meta-review: Watch_Dogs

watchdogsIt was two E3s ago that Ubisoft destroyed all other reveals with their incredibly realistic looking Chicago simulator Watch_Dogs. Since then we have had countless delays, what seems like a million different trailers and previews, and yet the final product always seemed so far away. Thankfully that wait is over, and the pristine autumn leaves of the American Mid-West are ready for our ogling eyes. With the release of Watch_Dogs, many people are heralding the true launch of next-gen gaming (Sorry Titanfall and Infamous…). But what do the reviewers have to say?

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The Escapist: Polished to a mirror sheen, and bursting with content, Watch Dogs is a great looking game with a thriving open world and an empowering premise. It suffers from being an amalgamation of every other major Ubisoft game, to the point where it doesn’t feel as fresh as it deserves to, but it’s still a varied, rich, thoroughly dense experience. (4.5/5)

Game Informer: At the end of the day, Watch Dog’s story works as a basic revenge tale, and the final few missions provide some gravity to the characters. Ultimately, however, the main draw of any open-world game is the gameplay, and while not perfect, Watch Dog’s hacking abilities add an engaging and unique twist to the third-person action. Ubisoft has another deserved hit on its hands, and I look forward to seeing where the new series goes next. (8.5/10)

IGN: One-button hacking might be overly simplistic, but it does give you abilities that make playing through Aiden’s story feel powerful and fun. Doing side missions and multiplayer as you make your way through the dark and lengthy story makes it feel like a huge adventure, and stealth options let you play smart if you prefer. Car chases aside, Watch Dogs is fundamentally very well made, and has more than enough unique ideas to make it a great and memorable open-world action game. (8.4/10)

Inside Gaming: I can’t get past the fact that there is so much to do in Watch Dogs it almost feels like too much. Literally, you could spend 100 hours in varied missions that, while they eventually become a little repetitive, are backed by effective AI that makes each encounter sufficiently unique. The voyeurism of invading citizens’ personal space is truly compelling, even if the main story arc is relatively straightforward. (8/10)

Polygon:Watch Dogs’ basic premise is one of its strongest hooks, all old-school noir conventions and private eye posturing with a post-NSA whistleblower twist. But after a promising (albeit well-trod) start, Watch Dogs’ plot struggles to remain coherent. The writing has Aiden’s flaws covered, but it never finds a way to make him relatable beyond a dead niece and a family in trouble. Ubisoft Montreal also introduces so many “big bads” that it’s hard to know who the real villain is. (8/10)

Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar

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