The 2014 open world action adventure title developed and published by Ubisoft was released on the 27th of May 2014. It is a multi platform title, with a variant for the Wii U version planned for release in the fourth quarter of 2014. The title was made on a completely new gaming engine called Disrupt and even though the game was delayed several times by the company in order to optimize the title for multi platform systems, the game is not without its problems. Let us review all the open world gaming title has to offer.
On the PC platform, Watch Dogs requires a hefty gaming system to run at respectable frame rates if the gamer intends to run the title with all graphical settings maxed out. Keep in mind that on the 1080p resolution and with all settings maxed out, (with anti aliasing levels kept to a minimum), the game would still chew up a lot of video RAM from the GPU. This was also to the lack of optimizations that the company had promised to insert. For the console version, Watch Dogs ran on 900p on the PlayStation 4 and 792p on the Xbox One, while maintaining a steady frame rate of 30 fps. Naturally, to maintain the steady frame rate of the title, several visual settings on the console have to disabled. Nevertheless, visuals are impressive. Character details are immaculate and volumetric effects (reflection, lighting) define the realism in Watch Dogs thanks to the destructible environment.
The player controls a hacker named Aiden Pearce, and controls the character from a third-person perspective. Players are required to complete missions combined with a myriad number of secondary missions that are placed all across the map of Chicago. In order to access the full map of the city, the player will be required to unlock several towers. The core function of the game is hacking and through the use of a smartphone, the player is able to complete several objectives. Several times, the game tends to be have a tedious approach by using the same steps over and over again to complete a secondary objective. Apart from this, there are just too many secondary objectives, which will take out color from the gameplay and deviate the player from the actual story mode.
Aiden Pearce’s smartphone is used to hack several hackable elements, which range from traffic lights, electricity transformers, underground pipes, trains, NPC’s (non-playable characters) bank accounts to be later accessed through an ATM and many more. The money collected through hacking and completing missions allow the player to purchase new vehicles as well as ammunition and weaponry to make the controllable character more effective in combat. Skill points are earned after the player fills up the experience point bar by completing mission, objectives and killing enemies. These skill points can be used to purchase skills and abilities that make the player more effective in terms of hacking and combat against enemies.
There is also a multiplayer mode which features several modes for the player to be immersed in. One of them is a one-on-one interaction, in which a player secretly joins the single player experience of another player and will attempt to install a back-door virus onto their smartphone. In addition to this, the game also features a maximum tally of eight players to engage in free roam mode. Other multiplayer modes include car races, competitive decryption combat, and a mobile challenge.
Even though the game received some criticism regarding technical issues, especially for the Windows operating system, the gameplay, and purposely downgraded graphics, the title was still a commercial success. Perhaps if Ubisoft aims to be more of an organization that delivers quality games rather than being a money grubbing company, it will receive further success in the future.
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