I hadn’t played Watch Dogs in forever, and until recently hadn’t ever thought of going back to it. I remember downloading it on the Xbox One last summer in Hawaii, not because I was necessarily excited for it, but just because I wanted something more to play beyond Madden and FIFA.
I was initially impressed with the game. I enjoyed what seemed like a fresh take on the GTA style game. The hacking mechanic was enjoyable, especially when used while driving to wreck those pursuing you. Playing around with the cameras in order to obtain a tactical advantage over the enemy was also quite satisfying. The story and its characters, however, did little to keep me engaged. At some point I hit a roadblock in the story missions where I got frustrated and I never went back to the game.
This morning I booted up Watch Dogs for the first time in at least seven or eight months. I again found playing around with the cameras to outsmart my enemy to be a blast…literally:
Instead of trying to rush in and engage in a firefight, I scoped out the area by hacking into as many cameras as I could reach. I stalked my enemy from a safe distance, waiting for them to place themselves close to a hackable explosive so I could reduce their numbers. I then slipped in and completed my objective unnoticed. It was surprisingly satisfying.
I then decided to try out one of the “digital trips”, or mini games. I tried out the Madness mode and it was incredibly addictive and fun. The sky turns crimson and demons overrun the streets as you find yourself behind the wheel of a sinister looking vehicle designed to splatter said demons. And that just happens to be your goal: splatter demons and watch your points rack up. It was an absolute blast! I couldn’t stop myself from trying again and again to get further into the challenge while earning and spending skill points to become even more deadly.
Lastly, I decided to fool around with some of the online modes that I had previously ignored. The first one I hopped into was a stalking mission where I was supposed to observe another player without them catching on. I’m not sure if the game lets the person know you’ve entered the game, because I hopped in on a person engaged in a shootout with the police as I creeped around in my car entirely unnoticed (earning an achievement!).
The second mode I played involved finding and decrypting data. You have to hold the data to decrypt it, however the other players can kill you or hack it from you (by getting close enough to you for long enough to steal it). It was pretty chaotic and quite fun. The data switched hands a few times before I managed to grab it and hop on a motorcycle which allowed me to outmaneuver my pursuers long enough to win the match. What fun!
I’m looking forward to playing some more Watch Dogs this weekend. Hopefully I’ll get around to finishing it at some point, however at this rate I’ll probably spend more time engaging with the mini games and multiplayer.
Have you returned to Watch Dogs? What were your initial impressions of the game? Would you recommend it for someone who hasn’t played it yet? If you asked me that eight months ago I probably would have said no, but after today I think I’d have to give it a thumbs up. Watch Dogs is still enjoyable in 2015!