Following recent graphic-wise controversy that made the web explode, you’ve got to admit that the unreleased Watch Dogs is a very hot game at the moment. And while there is a massive quantity of information on the internet about the title, it’s easy to get confused and lost in it. So I thought that it would be helpful to have some sort of “guidance” at hand and provide with what I think are the game’s best and worst features.
Obviously one of Watch Dogs’ best features are its graphics. This is the first thing that caught gamers’ eyes when it was first presented at E3 in 2012. And while this gif on NeoGAF suggests that the game’s visuals have been downgraded since it was first shown back in 2012, Ubisoft said that it is not true and the game is looking as next-gen as it could ever look. “Believe me the game is not downgraded. That would just be a bit ridiculous. I saw the game it looks incredible. It looks what a next gen should look like.” says Tessa Vilyn, Ubisoft Benelux PR and events manager .
Another great thing about Watch Dogs is its massive, dynamic, open world. It takes place in a fully simulated living city where you can interact with a huge number of objects in the environment like managing the traffic lights, stopping trains, raising drawbridges and every other electronic thing that can be manipulated from your phone, bending the city to your will. Even the city residents are unique and each of them has a name and a background profile, which you can check via, you guessed it, your character’s smartphone and use it against them. And the best thing? The game also features an 8-player co-op multiplayer freeroam mode. It’s like a GTA with a lot more freedom and opportunities. Pretty neat, huh?
Last but not least, the length of the story. The action takes place in Chicago, where a central network of computers connects everyone and everything in the city. So of course this attracts the interest of hackers and so we meet the game’s protagonist: Aiden Pearce. He is a genius hacker and a former thug whose criminal past led to a violent family tragedy. Using the city as your own personal weapon, you seek personal justice for those past events, all of these while exploring the impact of technology within our society, which is the game’s core idea. I sense Assassin Creed-ish controversial and conspirationist ideas, that leave you scratching your head at the end of the game and make you reflect on the world around you. And that, in my opinion, is one of the best kind of stories with the strongest impact on the gamer. And the fact that it takes an outstanding 40 hours to complete the game, it just makes it a lot better as today’s games have this problem with very short singleplayer campaigns. Even the highly-acclaimed Assassin’s Creed IV had a pretty short singleplayer experience in my opinion. And I’m sure that in Watch Dogs’ case we will see some DLC that will extend that experience even more.
But speaking of visual design controversy, one of the bad things about the game is the graphic difference between the platforms it’s being released on. In order to fully enjoy Watch Dogs’ superb visual design you need a top-notch PC for it is the only platform where the game will run at 4K resolution and 60 fps, as stated by Ubisoft, according to Arab Gamer. Meanwhile, the game will run at a rocking full 1080p on the PS4 while the Xbox One draws the short straw, at 960p, both of them at 30 fps. You may think that this contradicts what Ubisoft said about downscaling not being true, but it actually does not. You see, at E3 the game was running on a high-end PC in order to include as many graphical elements as possible. The gif on NeoGAF and the new story trailer are most likely captured on PS3/Xbox 360 (though I don’t really see the point of it). So the game is downscaled, but in terms of next-gen/last-gen difference and that is understandable as the PS3/Xbox360 could never match the specs of their younger brothers. So if you want to see how the game will probably look on PC and next-gen consoles, check the old gameplay trailers and previews, as Ubisoft actually suggests.
But the main problem with the game may be all this info and rumours coming from a variety of places which creates a vortex of confusion and sucks everyone in. What we need is Ubisoft to release a big and consistent official statement and clear the air. Let’s not forget that they delayed the game a time ago and while the reasons are not clear, the publisher said that it was in the best interest of the game. The most paranoid of us may think of a similar scenario – Aliens: Colonial Marines. I don’t really think that Ubisoft may pull off such a mischief because it would probably put them in the ground, but they really need to pull themselves together if they don’t want gamers to start thinking bad things (which is already happening).
Watch Dogs is a title which will probably set a mark in next-gen gaming history, whether it’s an amazing and beneficial mark, or an utterly disappointing mark and without doubt a worthy contestant in this year’s highlights. Does it have any chance at being game of the year? You be the judge of it. All I suggest is stay put, don’t jump to conclusions and wait for the first reviews.
Watch Dogs is set for release on May 27 for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, and on an unknown date for Wii U.