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Even though I played Watch Dogs on a last generation system, I was hopeful that the game would be my first foray into next generation gaming. In some respects it was, but in other respects it was all too similar to the games I played in the last generation.
Watch Dogs is an open world game where you play was Aiden Pearce, a hacker turned vigilante who is looking for the people responsible for killing his niece in retaliation for a job gone wrong. I guess as motivations go, it's not bad? But there's a huge disconnect between the situation the characters finds themselves in and how they react. For example, someone close to Aiden gets kidnapped through the course of the game, and like in any good kidnapping scenario, the kidnapper allows Aiden to speak with the kidnappee. Except if you take their conversation out of context, you'd never know one of them was being held against their will. It's just weird.
But who cares about the story? The gameplay is where it's at, right? Well... all of the promos leading up to the release of Watch Dogs highlights the hacking aspect of the game. While it is a big part of the game as a whole, it can devolve into a generic open world game set in modern day, a la Grand Theft Auto. That's a little disappointing. There were many times that I tried to complete the missions using nothing but the hacking mechanic, but that apparently takes more skill and patience than I had. My typical mission would go like this, start off hacking and sneaking around, accidentally get caught by someone I couldn't see, get shot at a bunch of times and either run away or shoot everyone. I definitely would have preferred something a little more hacking focused. Though, I will say there are missions that are complete stealth where if you get caught hacking the mission ends. Those suck. (So maybe I just want to have my cake and eat it too?)
The thing I had the most fun with in Watch Dogs was traveling around the city of Chicago. Having been to Chicago many times, I would say the map isn't a 1 to 1 fully realized map of Chicago. I would describe it as Chicago-esque. There are a ton of famous Chicago landmarks you can visit and you can even ride the trains. Highways connect the city proper to the suburbs and there's even a more rural area on the outskirts.
One of the more interesting aspects of the game is the persistent multiplayer. You can get invaded by other player, much like Dark Souls. And other players can interact with your game via an app on their phones or tablets. In fact, I was invaded by a reader of AVW without knowing it. The only way I knew is because I saw him at a convention a couple weeks later and he let me know. (Full disclosure, I suck at invading and being invaded.)
When Watch Dogs was supposed to be a launch title for the next generation systems, I was excited. In the past few game generations "shooting stuff" has become the bread and butter of video games. I had hope that Watch Dogs was going to move us beyond that. But I guess we're just not ready for that yet...
There is a ton of stuff to do in the game, but I'd say give this one a "rent". If you're like me and were expecting more hacking than you might be disappointed. But if you look at this game as more of Grand Theft Auto: Cyberspace, than it's right up your alley.
About the Comic
The idea for this comic came about when I found out a lot of the missions where you're being chased by the police or other enemies can be completed by jumping in the nearest body of water and swimming out of their reach.