Watch Dogs has been in development for a long time, so it's with some trepidation that I turned the digital pages of a few favoured game sites this morning to see what they thought of the long awaited hackers paradise. Fortunately, it seems, we're unlikely to be disappointed.
Looks wise, Watch Dogs has managed to hold up nicely, despite some of the wonkier looking trailers from the past year or so. While the original trailer certainly plays to the game's visual strengths and daytime doesn't look quite as pretty as the night, Watch Dogs is still a good looking game and is a great insight into where this generation of games is going.
The general mechanics are pretty solid too, with protagonist Aiden Pearce moving smoothly on foot or behind the wheel. However while vaulting over walls and jumping easily onto ledges, you get more of a chance to use your hacking smartphone, making walking around one of the most fun aspects of the game.
While it's certainly akin to digital wizardry - a few reviewers drew comparisons between the smartphone and a wand - it's good that the game kept things simple, as a horrible minigame for every hack would have gotten dull fast. The ease with which you infiltrate people's lives too and the security systems of Chicago are a chilling reminder that the real world isn't too far removed from Watch Dogs' privacy invading fantasy.
The missions in the game are nice and varied, with a mix up of stealth, puzzles and combat, though the former type does have a few annoying instant-fail missions. The action sequences are a little simple at times, but satisfying thanks to a well handled third person shooting mechanic.
Some of the missions in vehicles could get a bit dull at times, especially in the early levels where precise driving is needed and a few of the vehicles, with their quirky handling meant several restarts were required by some reviewers. In-fact if there was one complaint they almost unanimously had, is that the chases from the cops are some of the weakest elements of the game.
There's a lot to do in Watch Dogs though, with plenty of distractions if you like side missions and mini-games, with some even having their own progression system outside of Aiden's main one. It's a little much perhaps, but it feels sacrilegious to complain that a game has simply too much content.
While Aiden might be a bit of a conflicting character, inflicting death and crime against the guilty and innocent in equal measure to get revenge for the same being done to him, overall Watch Dogs is a satisfying experience with a lot going for it. It's not a perfect game, but it has plenty to do and some really satisfying elements that mean picking it up on whatever platform will keep you busy for some time.
Though the PC has the best frame rates and aesthetics, by far.