Watch Dogs Review

Hacking the city

“Google” sees everything, and whoever hacks “Google” can see everyone through and through. Just so you know, they will find you. And not because you leaked all the information about yourself on social media, but because everyone is watching you, whoever has the time.

Welcome to Watch Dogs, the urban myth of all-seeing hackers come to life on our computer screens.


To be honest, the main focus of this new sandbox game passed me by. Partly because the writers went overboard with the severity of the digital Big Brother, and partly because, in fact, behind all the glitter, we have another story of “Enemies burned down our home.”

The essence of the game: our hero has a phone that can put the Matrix in a known position and use it at his discretion. For the most part, using this super weapon of the future feels like surfing through a social network. You turn on your phone vision, and they show you – this person recently left the hospital, that one listens to Smashing Pumpkins, and that one is planning a trip to the Canary Islands. There are, of course, more serious possibilities. For example, intercepting the signal from external surveillance cameras or hacking another terminal.

In nine out of ten cases, the smartphone works on the principle of “Press A To Hack It All.” In the tenth case, as usual, we are faced with a mini-puzzle with arrows and balls symbolizing complex cryptography.

Despite the fact that you can turn on and off phone vision, once I turned on the smartphone’s omnipotence, I never parted with augmented reality in Watch Dogs. Why? With its help, you can quickly raise cash, get yourself some music (the “hack for one track” looks silly in the context of “I’m a master of hacking everything in the world,” but oh well, music budgets are not unlimited), get digital keys to cars where money is stored, and activate additional missions.

Our hero also has a Target. He seeks revenge for his murdered family while simultaneously working as a crime fighter. On the way to the Target, you can already throw punches in a classic style.

The digital battleground

The tasks themselves do not differ much in variety. There is the aforementioned stealth, optional stealth, and missions with vehicles. We have already tried this dish, more than once. Nowadays, the most important thing is the sauce it is served with.

At first, the surveillance gameplay is entertaining. No one has played with this mechanic for a long time. Something similar was probably in the ancient game Death Trap, and that’s it. So, you sit in the darkest corner, control the surveillance cameras, and set up harmless/lethal pranks, it’s beautiful. And no one can reach you from that corner (however, it’s realistic!).

But on the third approach, questions start to arise.

That is, mostly the same question – why can’t I just shoot everyone? I want to use the miracle smartphone only on the streets when I have nothing to do, but in real missions, sitting on a virtual spot and waiting for half an hour for a bandit to pass by a hypothetical box with remotely controlled grenades, it’s a bit boring.

It’s a surprising thing, by the way. You watch the trailers, expecting an unusual cyber stealth game about a hacker, but in the end, you want to pick up a gun again. Especially since Watch Dogs easily allows you to do that.

Surveillance and subterfuge

Allows, but at the same time tries in every way to guide the hero on the right path. Killing is possible, but it’s better to just knock out, and it’s desirable not to touch civilians at all. You can shoot up the gang gathering, but the main thing is to just knock them unconscious and kind of embarrass them in the eyes of their accomplices. Whom you, yes, half a minute ago, were throwing grenades at. You can destroy cars, but it’s better, easier, and faster to carefully arrange a traffic accident somewhere at an intersection.

And in general, you are now carrying goodness and justice. When you’re not stealing money from other people’s bank accounts and not working for the local mafia.

The further you go, the more big sandbox projects start to resemble collections of mini-games a la Mario Party.

You take a random number of steps, then a random quest falls to you. Then it depends on luck, you may come across a single-button action called “Press A to Win”, or something incredibly hardcore, with tests for reaction, precision of actions, and patience. And all this happiness is wildly fragmented – the further you go, the less different elements fit together.

Unleashing chaos in Chicago

I don’t know, but Watch Dogs gets boring too quickly. It’s not enough for such an anticipated project in the game. To immerse yourself in the local atmosphere, you really have to want it, and even then it’s not guaranteed to work.

But you can go through it once, why not. We’ve seen bigger disappointments, and you can easily spend hours on Watch Dogs until you get tired of it.

Watch Dogs
PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Action, Adventure, Multiplayer
Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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