There’s not a lot on my PS4 plate that gets me too excited about it. Save for the likes of Best Friends 4 and the last good Final Fantasy game (in a long time), I’m still craving that one title that’ll make it all worth it. I figured that’s where Watch_Dogs would come in. I enjoy open world games immensely, AND Having a profound affection for the movie hackers, I liked the idea of what Watch_dogs wanted to accomplish.
It’s a shame that the game ended up so far away from what I had built up in my own imagination.
The thing that kind of bothers me, is that Aiden is not really a hacker. Well is he? He’s a fixer right? and what a fixer is… is a hacker that spends more time outside than a typical hacker, who probably just goes to the rainymood website to get their fill of environment. But one day after a tragic accident, he’s started using his fixer powers for good and became the city’s vigilante. ( They call him Fox. And he looks a little bit like Matthew Fox. So good on the fictional people of Chicago for making that connection.)
So here comes the part where I stop believing he is a hacker of any sort. ctOS is a city wide security system for the mystical land of Chicago. It is a singular operating system for EVERYTHING. It’s in your webcams, it’s in the traffic lights… It’s even in your grenades and waterpipes.
It’s “complex system” actually seems overly simplified. And with so much “hackers” in Chicago, I’m more inclined to believe that BLUME (the company behind ctOS) designed it to be open source, and the Apple app store is riddled with hundreds of apps for your phone that let you do anything you want in the city at the click of a button.
Maybe BLUME shouldn’t have attached a NFC to your plumbing.
So Aiden runs around the city staring at nothing but his smartphone to accomplish all of his goals. Hard for cash? There’s 30 people in a 10 foot radius that have all the money that you don’t even need. Push a button. Trying to walk through this door? Ghost Trick your way through security cameras, until you see the box that's locking it. Push a button.
It’s these simple maneuvers that make ctOS incredibly flawed and you really start to wonder why Chicago would even agree to have it run the entire city.
Especially the amount of people that just sit at home and masturbate all day, and frequently order hentai. Or how about the family of Cannibals enjoying a nice 100% organic meal in-front of their webcams, or people making Death threats to loved ones as they sleep. This is data that is circulating through ctOS’s security system and the police can’t even do their job.
It’s the worst place to live, and yet still comes out seeming better than Detroit.
Also, Aiden isn’t any better than the world he inhabits. He’s a dick to everybody he works with. Which MIGHT have something to do with the events that took place at the beginning of the game, but there’s not a single amount of compassion in his voice. Aiden is an avid fan of the Chris Nolan Batman films, and nobody has the heart to tell him that it stopped being funny years ago. Or maybe they have but he insists on still doing it, which is probably why he’s so distant and cold to everyone. He doesn’t exactly have the best sense of humour either (The kind of person that goes to a party recalling all those old, dated memes. Thanks a lot electronic Billboards.)
Maybe at some point Ubisoft didn’t really understand what game they wanted to make. It started feeling like that in the first hour and I noticed how a lot of of it's elements felt a little too similar to previous Ubisoft titles. An open world where you're a hacker DOES sound exciting, but there’s a way to implement that stuff without making the city an over-simplified Deus Ex Machina ready to go when you ask it to. It doesn’t need you constantly trying to shoot your way out of an area, or relentless chases disguising themselves as engaging gameplay either.
If you give Aiden strengths, then make them his strengths, don’t give him an app for his phone. I want to do a little more hacking than ‘connect the dots’. Even if it does take place in an open world, there's nothing wrong with concentrating your efforts on gameplay that has nothing to do with it. (L.A. Noire seemed to pull it off just fine.) There's a chance that... if that stuff gets figured out, then maybe you can find a way to use the city in a more significant manner.
Despite my petty grievances, Watch_Dogs is an open world game like every other; It’s got driving and mini-games to play around the city. Sub-missions are plentiful as well, but they all do nothing more than the same thing. So aside from the main campaign there’s really not much else to do.
But I guess, if you want to make excuses, you can always check-in to your favourite locations every hour till you become mayor.
But... Let's be honest here. You should be playing Sleeping Dogs instead.