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Games : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: May 27th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Watch Dogs

Overview -

In production for half a decade, 'Watch Dogs' has always, at least on paper looked like the offspring of a union between the 'Grand Theft Auto' and 'Assassin's Creed' series. Set in a modern day Chicago, 'Watch Dogs' takes the classic third-person, open-world action formula and infuses it with a tried and true story of revenge, regret and intrigue, all intertwined against a backdrop of digital espionage, where no one's secrets are...well...secret and lives can be forever changed with the push of a button on a smartphone. Players are thrust into the role of Aiden Pearce, whose alter ego 'The Vigilante' is a legendary, underground hacker with access to the city's entire network of secrets. When tragedy strikes his family as a result of his actions, Pearce finds himself a man without a home, roaming the streets trying to find out who gave the order that resulted in his young niece's accidental death. Whether Pearce will solve this mystery taking the moral high ground or losing himself into a world of crime and amorality, is entirely up to the player.

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
720p
Audio Formats:
Dolby Digital 5.1
Release Date:
May 27th, 2014

Video Review

Ranking:

Visually, 'Watch Dogs' is still an impressive looking game on the 360. Yes, graphics are nowhere near the levels of the infamous E3 demo, as previously stated, but neither are the graphics of the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. 'Watch Dogs' seems to push the 360 to its limits, but in a much different way than 'Titanfall' did a few months back. Textures are lower-resolution, animations aren't quite as natural as expected (there's some minor lip sync issues) and environmental effects are often left unmentioned. What players won't have to deal with are continual loading screens and horrible drops in framerate. There's some occasional screen tearing and the draw distance is much shorter than the next-gen versions, but at the end of the day 'Watch Dogs' delivers a realistic facsimile of a modern Chicago and graphics that might not meet the gold medal standard, but are far from eyesores. Overall, it's a natural looking game and previous gen console owners are lucky to have it.

Audio Review

Ranking:

Where I'd argue 'Watch Dogs' is indistinguishable, by and large from all other ports is its sound design. The soundscape isn’t cluttered with needless noise and a grating soundtrack; it's a very fluid design that simulates the 'white noise' of a city well. Conversations of passing NPCs give you snippets of eyebrow raising dialogue, but mostly it's a steady wave or organic murmur only interrupted by phone conversations that often push Pearce's story forward, the sound of gunfire when combat strikes or an above average licensed soundtrack serving as the in-game radio. There's a more than adequate use of surrounds and the balance is pitch perfect. Voice acting in the game is equally organic and lends the necessary humanity to the game's cast of characters.

Final Thoughts

Not a grand slam or even a homerun, 'Watch Dogs' is very much akin to Ubisoft's other flagship series, 'Assassin's Creed,' in this respect, the initial entry is engaging (and frankly, 'Watch Dogs' is far more gripping than the original 'Assassin's Creed' could ever hope to be), but at times feels like a really high-quality tech demo. There's a load of promise from the Disrupt engine and the game license itself. The story of Aiden Pearce is money well spent, even if the buildup doesn’t get nearly the payoff one would expect. The little added bonuses feel tad bit gimmicky, but up until recently, Ubisoft never tried to heavily promote them as selling points. What a future 'Watch Dogs' game needs to work on are its driving physics and its graphics; there isn’t a reason why the next game should begin to match expectations of the E3 demo; what gamers have been offered here maybe lacking in sheer 'wow' factor, but had that demo never been as stunning as it was, I'd argue the end product might have been received more favorably.