I had the day off to watch my son who was sick, so I finished up Watch Dogs. Wound up at just shy of 80%. I debated finishing up a few of the collectible things I missed, but after a good 30+ hours I think I'm ready to move on.
At any rate, I think it got a little bit of an unfair backlash from gamers due to hype/mystery surrounding it. It's a good game, but needs some refinement in the form of a sequel to really take it to the next level. I definitely look forward to playing future installments.
This is the reason I went from primarily PC gamer to primarily console gamer this gen. I got tired of the lazy PC ports. I also got tired of games that had decent PC ports, but were so obviously designed for a console that it detracted from the experience.
Well I got a nice Father's Day surprise - a copy of Wolfenstein PS4! So even though I have about 10 more missions to go in Watch Dogs, I'm going to treat myself to some Nazi kill in' tonight. I also got a bit of time in with the Destiny alpha.
I've about finished up all the side content I want to do, and ready to finish out the campaign and be done with this one. That's not to say I haven't enjoyed it - I've sunk a good 30 hours in and will all is said and done that will probably be closer to 40, which is just under what I put into Black Flag.
I've done all the official side missions (Gang Hideouts, Convoys, Fixer Missions), and most of the collectibles (which I may push through and try to complete). I don't think I'm going to finish the Online Missions (just don't have a lot of interest in it), and I'm not going to bother with the mini-game stuff (Level 10 against all three drinking game opponents? Pass).
I give it a solid B-, and the minus comes mostly from the uninteresting story/characters. The gameplay itself was fun, the side content was great, and though it failed to live up to its next-gen hype, it was still a solid example of a good past-gen open world adventure.
I'm almost finished with all the side content, and plan on burning through the story missions soon. I estimate I'll be done in about a week, ready to trade this puppy in for $40 Gamestop credit. Combined with the fact I bought Watch Dogs with game credit as well, it means they essentially paid me $15 to play the game.
Can you help me understand why that feature is exciting? There's a good chance I'll buy this collection at some point, but when I do I'm pretty sure I'll play each title in order, starting at the start and ending at the end.
Yep, I'll be playing it the same way. However, I watched the conference with the biggest Halo fan I've ever met (he's played every game, sometimes multiple times, and read every novel and comic book). This feature really had him pumped, because having played the games over and over he's not really interested each one in its entirety. He really likes the idea, however, of going back and playing his favorite levels and basically constructing his 'perfect" Halo game from all the best bits of every title.
As cool as that is for single player, however, I think it will really shine with multiplayer. Every Halo fan has their favorite maps from each installment, and the ability to construct a playlist that encompasses maps from all four titles is really huge.
In summary, a simple greatest hits package would have been great for newcomers to the franchise, or folks like me who didn't play every game in its entirety. However, the level of customization here really makes the package attractive to those hardcore fans who want instant access to their favorite levels/maps without going through the pain of unlocking them or jumping in an out of different titles to play their favorite multiplayer maps.
We reserved a conference room and watched MS's briefing on the big screen today at lunch.
Overall pleased with it, though no big surprises. They did exactly what they needed to do which was to focus on games, particularly games you'll be able to play this year. 2014 exclusives is definitely their big advantage over Sony right now, and they did well to put those in the forefront.
The Halo collection looks awesome. I disagree that it's just a simple greatest hits package - the ability to play any level or any multiplayer map from any title at any time using customized playlists is really, really cool.
Star of the presentation for me was The Witcher 3, though. Man, I can't wait for that game.
Would you ever tell someone "if you like Infamous, you're going to like Watch Dogs", or vice versa?
That has nothing to do with what the word "genre" means.
That's like saying, "Would you ever tell someone "if you like The Exorcist, you're going to like Saw 3?" Those two films are both undeniably in the horror genre, but that doesn't mean they are in any way alike nor that there is a guarantee that someone who liked one would like the other.
I think the side quests in Watch Dogs are generally superior to anything in Far Cry or AC4, simply because most take a more mission-based approach. You're not simply running to point A and clicking a button. I've put the vast majority of my time (approaching 30 hours) in just side content so far, and still haven't burned out on it.
As for the storyline, I agree it's kind of all over the place. I think the biggest problem is that Aiden is a hard guy to root for. During the course of the game you're hacking people, invading their privacy, stealing their cars, killing people, and you're supposed to feel sympathetic for him. It's hard to do when most of the time you're thinking, "This guy is a pretty big douchebag." It's kind of hard to feel like ctOS is the Big Bad when you're going around doing the same stuff they are.
I'm kind of ambivalent towards the whole story though. I just want to run around and kill people and crash cars.
I'm kind of glad it was delayed, to be honest. I binged on Arkham Origins trying to finish it up before this came out, and I think I burned myself out a bit on the whole Batman game thing. By 2015 I should be ready to jump back in, but October would have probably been too soon.
I'm only 22% through the game (total progression). I couldn't fine a "time played" stat, but I'm currently estimating about 15 hours. What's scary is that in those 15 hours, I've only done 7 storyline missions (out of 40ish). I've only 100%ed two side missions - the hotspot check-ins and the audio logs. Everything else I'm at best halfway done and in most cases only a quarter of the way done. And I'm character level 19 out of 50.
I was talking to a buddy of mine that hated Black Flag due to the repetitive side content, and as I was telling him the sheer amount of side content in Watch Dogs he thought it sounded like a nightmare. As I explained to him, however, the thing that separates this game's extras from something like AC: Black Flag or Infamous: Second Son is very simple. Side missions of the same type can still have tremendous variance. Two gang hideout missions are never going to play out the same - the environment will vary, the enemy types will vary, etc. Fixer missions are varied in type anyway, but even those of the same type are going to play out differently just by virtue of the open world. And the puzzle based missions such as the QR codes and Privacy Invasion missions can range from super easy to really challenging - but you don't know which you're going to get when you attempt one.
I'm guessing right now that I'm going to easily sink 45-50 hours into this to get 100%, if not more. Not bad for a game I didn't particularly care for when I first bought it.
Some cop chases are easier than others. I'm pretty good at getting away - I've run into only one Fixer mission so far that I can't beat due to cop difficulty, and that was before I got the Steam Pipe skill. I need to go back and try it again. Typically I don't do the back alley/sneaky stuff. I just find a good stretch of highway, put the pedal down, and take advantage of every environmental hack to stop the cops behind me. Get some distance, veer off the road out of their sight line, then you're home free.
Jam Comms are probably the single most useful item in the whole game. I HATE HATE HATE how civilians will call 911 at the drop of a hat, so I always keep a healthy stock. It also REALLY annoys me when I'm trying to stop a crime, the criminal is shooting at ME, and the dumb civilian calls 911 and the cops go after me. That's total bullshit.
I haven't dabbled in the online play much, but every time I have, I've had a blast. I'm terrible at the online race missions though - I don't think I've won one yet. The odds are just way too stacked against you when the player playing the cops has both cops, choppers, AND environmental hacks at their disposal. I'm sure there's some tips I'm missing, but so far I haven't been able to crack the secret to winning those
It's been a long time since I've played a game that I really didn't care much for at first then somehow grew to love. My RL friends are totally confused, because I dissuaded them from buying it at launch after I played a couple of nights. Now I can't stop raving about it to them.
I will say that I thought that buying both consoles would mean I'd essentially be sitting around with two giant paperweights instead of one, particularly this early in the cycle.
However, I've been pleasantly surprised that I've been getting decent use out of both. The XB1 I use constantly since I run my cable through it, so it's my go-to Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime/TV box, and I've played the XB1 exclusives quite heavily. The PS4 has gotten a lot of use since most multi-plats I'm getting on it for the resolution/performance bump.
Man, this game just continues to grow on me. I think the biggest mistake they made in the design was opening up the whole world to you from the start. I think it would've been much better if they had eased you into the different side quest types via the story. I think this would have made you more attached to your character, and given you less distractions in the early part of the game.
I'm finding that as I'm reducing my side quest play and mixing in more main storyline missions, the game is becoming more fun.
I completed my first online hack today and it was very intense. It was night and after I hacked the guy, I ran over to some tunnels that were hidden in the shadows. At around 90% completion, he dropped down about 10 feet from me and I thought I was dead. I just froze and he ran right past me.
The other part of the game I'm really enjoying is the puzzle like aspect of some of the side quests. It helps when the optional content makes you use your brain a bit. Black Flag was particularly bad about making the side stuff just a grocery list of check-in points. I definitely feel "less bored" with Watch Dogs' side content.
Yes, TiLT is correct - I wasn't talking about just graphics. While I picked on them a bit, the next-gen "experience" is about much more than that. It's bigger worlds, better AI, etc. As long as a developer has to make sure their world fits inside a 360, that XB1 title is going to be held back.
And while I realize that it will take time for next-gen consoles to catch up in terms of graphic quality, there's a perfect example in Infamous: Second Son about how a next-gen game that is not shackled to older platforms can look fantastic. That game looks much better than Watch Dogs, and it came out two months ago.
At some point during the last year, Watch Dogs was a must have for almost everyone, and somehow the perception changed, and what I hear people complain about makes no sense. It's like they are trying to find something not to like just to not like it. But the things they list doesn't match up. Granted, it's all opinion, but their wrong opinions
It's not like the game is getting trashed. A metacritic score in the low 80s isn't exactly clearance-bin material.
The running theme in both the professional reviews and in this thread has been that the game is fun. The difference seems to be in how innovative/fun it is for a next-gen game. Some people think it's game of the year levels of fun, others (like me) think it's fun but nothing we haven't really seen before. I think this perception may depend on a lot of factors - how hyped you were, what other open world games you've played, E3 perception vs reality, etc.
I don't think there's any conspiracy - in fact, if anything the reviews have been remarkably consistent when taken as a whole.
My cold heart towards this game is starting to thaw ever so slightly. I finally got into some other districts by virtue of a 6 minute car chase. I just could not catch the guy. I wound up totaling my car and having to hijack another one mid-chase. The guy called the cops so I had them after me while I frantically tried to keep my target within range (came within 2 seconds of losing him).
I managed to outrun the cops but my prey still had a good headstart and my car was on its last legs. Frantically I hacked an upcoming traffic light and BOOOM! Multi-car pileup and my enemy was smashed right into the middle of it. He bails, a foot chase ensues, and I finally tackle him. Looking behind me I just see this glorious flaming wreckage of cars and people screaming. It was then that I realized that because of the open world free-roam gameplay, there were chances for the game to rise above its own mediocrity.
With this philosophy in mind, I proceeded to spend the next two hours doing nothing but hotspots, hacking people as I went and generally just stirring up mischief. It was a lot of fun. And even better, I finally got to parts of the city where the graphics are actually decent. Go out to waterside areas and the graphic level really goes up. So that was encouraging.
It still doesn't I have the same irresistible pull for me that Infamous had, but I'm definitely starting to enjoy it more.
Not to pile on, but I've noticed some rough little edges as well. For instance, places where the hack button doesn't appear unless you're at exactly the right angle or distance that it wants you to be. This also applies to even seeing hackable items like cameras - I've been in spots where I could see it was hackable from a distance, then move in, and the hack button disappears, only to reappear when I got a bit closer - there' s no real consistency. Makes it particularly frustrating in missions where you have to hack things within a certain time limit.
I also don't like how certain side mission icons will appear/disappear on the map depending on how far away you are. I see this a lot with check-in hotspots. I see the check mark denoting a hotspot, start heading towards it, and the icon disappears. Grrrr.
They're not deal breakers, but they're annoyances. And the fact that I've noticed them with so little gameplay under my belt is concerning. At this point I'm seriously considering just blowing through the story and trading it back in.
I'm having fun, but this game does not strike me as next gen in any way. It feels like I could easily fire this up on my PS3 and wouldn't see much difference.
I think this is what I've been having trouble articulating. It's fun but I think it was REALLY weighed down by having to be cross-platform with old-gen. No offense to those who haven't upgraded yet, but I wish those platforms would die already.
I don't think it helps that GTA V was so recent. That game immediately grabbed me with the story and characters. By comparison Watch Dogs seems very flat and cookie-cutter. In GTA V, I felt like I was doing things because they were part of my character's adventure. In Watch Dogs, I feel like I'm doing things because I'm trying to check them off my progression list.
I hope my feelings change, and I realize it's probably unfair to judge a 30+ hour game from 2 hours of gameplay. You only have one chance to make a first impression, however.
For anyone still uncertain about which platform to play the game on, Digital Foundry now has an initial comparison up.
Good write-up. I've also noticed that the Xbox version has a bit more jaggies, but it's not a deal breaker. The good news is that so far the game has run smoothly throughout (though initial load times can be a bear). Even if they had to make some slight sacrifices, they did do a really good job making sure the performance was up to par on the XB1.
The first mission is not very welcoming. It teaches you the rudiments of hacking but gets a little confusing and wasn't a great introduction to the controls. Then you're having to sneak past guards which causes fail on sight. I didn't have much trouble with the section, but I could have also gotten really lucky. Until I got out on the street, I could feel disappointment creeping in.
Fortunately things got a bit better once I got into the open world. And open world it is. They pretty much dump you into the city, surrounded by tons of side content that you are free to explore at your leisure. Instead of going straight into a story mission, I decided to just free roam, hitting extras as I ran across them. Wound up spending the entire two hours just doing side stuff, ignoring the campaign entirely.
One thing that REALLY appeals to my "completionist" side is that you are always aware of your progress. Pull up your Progression Tracker and you can tell exactly how many of each side quest you have left to do, what skills you have left to unlock, what percentage of the game you've completed, etc. With a game this large (in terms of content), a poorly built or vague progression tracker could have been disastrous. Thankfully they got it right.
The hacking aspect of the game is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it's super cool to be able to drive across town, manipulating traffic lights and blowing up transformers. I also like the puzzle aspect of leaping from camera to camera trying to get the best vantage points to hack certain items. On the other hand, it's so exceedingly simple to do and so ubiquitous that it can sometimes be a little distracting.
I mentioned earlier how many of the more negative reviews focused on the fact that there was very little innovation in terms of the open world gameplay itself, and I can definitely understand that. Based on my early early impressions, if you strip away the hacking stuff you're left with a generic GTA clone (albeit one with a ton of stuff to do). My perception could certainly change with more gameplay - I really haven't scratched the surface of the stuff there is to actually do, nor did anything other than the tutorial story mission.
My biggest disappointment so far has been with the graphics. At times the game looks next-gen, staring off at detailed buildings and watching people and cars milling around. But often it looks decidedly last-gen, with really simple textures and dated looking character models. The good news is that I haven't run into any framerate issues or hitching so far.
I truly believe the game's saving grace for me is going to be the sheer amount and variety of stuff to do. Even if I'm not completely enraptured with the story, I can see myself hopping on just to goof around or knock out a couple of quick side missions. In that respect I'm more than confident that I'll get my money's worth. If I'm being honest, however, it's not quite the heavily hyped new experience I thought it would be.
Even Jeff at GiantBomb said he had fun with it. His main complaint was that it didn't really do much to differentiate itself from open world games that have come before it. While I certainly wish it flipped the genre on its head, I don't mind a good open world game to sink my teeth into even if it's derivative of others.
I get the feeling from reading the reviews that those who gave it the lower scores were let down from the hype more than anything. They wanted Game of the Year-caliber innovation and got just a good open world game with lots of content.
I probably won't get a chance to post impressions until much later tonight. Finding time to dig into this monster is going to be the more challenging "game" for me.
Unfortunately the Gamestop woman gave me a hard time.
GS: "You're going to lose your pre-order bonus which is an extra mission blah blah blah." YK: "I don't care." GS: "Are you sure? Because you're going to lose all of it. You're going to lose an HOUR of gameplay." YK: "Yeah, I really don't care. All my real life friends are going Xbox for this one, so I want to stay on the same platform." GS: "Well, next time you should really make up your mind before you pick up the game. Our system is automated so I can't give you the bonuses now." YK: "I don't care about the bonuses!" GS: "I see you have Destiny pre-ordered for Xbox One. <sarcastically> Are you sure you don't want to change your mind?" YK: "FUCK YOU SMARTASS. JUST GIVE ME MY GODDAMN GAME."
Ok I didn't say that last part, but I REALLY wanted to.
Think I'm going to switch to the Xbone version. While I want it more for single player than multiplayer, the fact remains I have 100+ Xbox friends and 1 PS4 friend. My best buddy in RL is also getting it for the Bone so it just makes sense to go where I have more opportunity.
All I think when I see people shying away from the game is that old Vanilla Ice lyric, "Anything less than the best is a felony."
It's got a solid 82 Metacritic score so far, and Ron likes it. Good enough for me. The thing that pushes me over the edge is that it sounds like there is a LOT of side content to keep you busy. If this was a 10 hour game and that was it, I'd be more inclined to wait, but the fact that there is so much "stuff" makes me think I'll get my money's worth even if it isn't the best game ever.
I like the guys at GiantBomb, but they tend to be too cynical and jaded for my tastes. I find myself disagreeing with them more often than not.
There's just no reason for LC2 to replace LC1 once the future has been changed. It's hand waving to create that final scene with the school and Jean. I get that they 'laid the rules out' and stayed consistent with them. But the rules don't make any sense.
They only have to make sense in the context of the universe in which they're set, not our own. Mutants flying around with superhero powers don't make sense with what we know either.
I'm feeling a little better now after doing some digging.
All of the early reviews I've read have been extremely positive. I grant you that these aren't from major sites and should be taken with a grain of salt, but the consistency is there. I'm also seeing really good feedback from people who have claimed to received early copies. One would think that if the game truly were bad or even mediocre, this would be reflected somewhere.