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Watchdogs Review

So Watchdogs, from Ubisoft, has been out for a while and you’ve read the reviews saying how wonderful and innovative it is, etc. Well, I’m here to set the record straight and give you my unbiased Watchdogs review.

The TL;DR version:

Watchdogs is 75% Assassin’s Creed, 10% GTA and 5% Deus Ex. There is virtually nothing innovative or that you haven’t seen before in Watchdogs. The story and characters are dumb and you don’t give a shit about any of it, so the only thing propelling you forward is the gameplay which is very repetitive. Despite all this though, it can be fun.

Let’s see how those percentages break down, shall we?

75% Assassin’s Creed

You follow people, you eavesdrop on people, you kill people. This is the basis of all 300 Assassin’s Creed games (OK, maybe there more like 16, including different platforms and spinoffs, but it sure feels like a lot more). This does get repetitive very quickly, even in AC IV, which was supposed to be a complete departure from the Series since it had a new naval theme, you still get the idiotic follow, eavesdrop sequences which suck so much. When will Ubisoft learn that following and eavesdropping on people for hours straight is not fun gameplay?

Watchdogs employs the same retarded following engine used in all the ACs, you know, the one that constantly warns you you’re losing your target when it’s occluded behind a waist-high shrub, it’s ridiculous. And not fun.

Unlockable towers: oh yes, another staple not only of AC but also, seemingly, of every Ubisoft game since AC. Far Cry 3? check, Splinter Cell: Blacklist? Check, Watchdogs? Check. Fortunately, the unlockable towers in Watchdogs are actually quite fun until they get old due to repetition.

Dumb story, forgettable characters, uninteresting protagonist. Another AC and Ubisoft staple. Except for the original AC, the rest have had very dumb and uninteresting stories that fail to engage. Ezio, from AC II and above, was a terrible character, only surpassed by Far Cry 3’s Jason Brody who was simply a hateful, whining little bitch. Now, I know it’s hard to have a good story and decent characters in a video game, but look at Mass Effect (1 and 2, not 3), Uncharted (again, 1 and 2, 3 should have been cancelled) and of course the best video game story and characters of all time: The Last of Us. To find out how to create a good story and engaging characters, every Ubisoft employee should be made to play The Last of Us: Left Behind DLC, the story is even more engaging than the original if that’s actually possible. The only interesting character in Watchdogs is a dude named Jordi who’s deranged and pretty funny yet, sadly, only shows up once in a while.

Side Missions: like AC, Watchdogs is riddled with side missions, most of which are a pain in the arse. The first few times you have to defeat a house’s alarm or delivery a car against the clock, or hack a garage door (similar to defeating the alarm), or read a barcode (again, more camera hacking), etc are fun. When you have to do any of these for the 6th time they’re already boring and repetitive (they’re all very, very similar, except for the car delivery) and not much fun at all.

10% GTA

  • Open world
  • You can steal any car
  • You can buy a shitload of weapons
  • You can drive like a maniac and get chased by the police
  • Motorcycles
  • Triggered slow motion (think GTA V [Michael] and [Franklin] special focus abilities)

None of this is a bad thing actually. While there is absolutely nothing innovative in Watchdogs here, all of it is fun and saves the game from being a total slog. Ironically, the best bits are the ones stolen directly from other games, the winner being the Convoy Attacks.

5% Deus Ex

Hacking. 99% of the hacking is lifted directly from Deus Ex and similar games, with the sole exception of the Neutralize your pursuers mechanics (you’ve see it countless times in the trailers) which are new and fun.


Where does Watchdogs innovate? Except for the Neutralize pursuers mechanic, nowhere. Anyone who’s saying this game is innovative is being paid directly by Ubisoft or has never played anything else in their lives. I honestly don’t understand any of these reviews that give the game 9 out of 10 and rave about how original and fun it is. What game are these people playing? And what games (if any) have they played before?


So a pretty damming review overall, does this mean the game sucks? Well, yes and no. The game can be fun and it sure has its moments, but it’s not the game you think it is, nor is it the game we were sold. Very few (if any) games live up their hype, this is true, but Watchdogs feels like false advertising to me. We were promised innovative gameplay, something we’d never seen before, a fun, different campaign with many ways to tackle a mission, etc. etc. What we got instead was the spawn of Assassin’s Creed and GTA: fun at times but definitely a disappointment. This should be more of a rental than a purchase, I just wish I’d read honest reviews before buying it.

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