The iLL Trio Review is a series where we have three of iLLGaming’s editors review a game together across different platforms, in a conversation format. Each reviewer gives a review score, the final review score is an aggregate of the three scores.
It’s all over. Everyone’s reviewed Watch Dogs. The verdict is out. Everyone’s got their hits organically, via N4G, Reddit, using clever SEO or whatever have you.
Now it’s our turn.
“But iLLGaming, what’s the point?”, I hear you coo softly into my ears as I slip into something more comfortable, dim the lights and caress my…oops. Wrong website. Sorry.
Ahem. So where was I? Ah, yes. What’s the point since everyone already has a review out? Well. The fine folks at iLLGaming have played (and finished) it across every platform. All of which matter greatly to you. So if you’re the sort who is interested to know how it runs on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 or PC, you’ve come to the right place.
Chirantan (PC version): Ubisoft sure built up a lot of hype around this ‘new’ IP which seems to be a lot of old ideas rehashed together in an open world version of Chicago.
Tat (PS3 version): It shows its blatant admiration for Grand Theft Auto, Saints Row, Batman: Arkham Series, Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed…
Rishi (PS4, X360 versions): Max Payne, Bioshock, Splinter Cell…
C: Dude, he already mentioned Splinter Cell.
R: Yeah but is it my fault if the game reminds me of a better version of Splinter Cell: Conviction?
T: That too. But what Watch Dogs does (and does well) is that it tries to bring out the best bits about those games and tie it up with its central theme of modern day hacking.
R: Which is cool. The stealth works. As does the gunplay and hacking. It all ties-in rather nicely. Except for the driving.
C: The driving seems rather poorly done. Vehicles seem to respond rather strangely which is not helped by heavy framerate dips when driving. This can turn extremely annoying when the cops chase you causing you to fail a level repeatedly.
R: Agreed. Kinda deathly thanks to poor controls with shoddy responsiveness.
C: Even more so if you partake in side-quests.
T: Speaking of which, there are a couple of car drops to make if you are playing the sidequests, and even the variety of cars you get in the early stages of the game is quite fascinating.
C: You’ll find that the the driving camera lock is not very sensitive to mouse control. You might be better off not touching the mouse at all when driving, this means you could lose out on hitting some city ‘hacks’. Consider a controller if you’re on PC.
T: On the topic of hacks, a larger chunk of the game is poised to make the gamers take quick decisions, like open gates amidst a chase, pull up a bridge, or hack open a garage and hide until the threat blip is off.
R: Don’t forget sneaking past (or ending) guards and using Aiden’s uber phone to play a flow connection minigame reminiscent of Bioshock’s hacking puzzles.
T: Watch Dogs is what we call in India a ‘Thali’ (or a palette of delicious dishes), but don’t get me wrong, this Thali certainly left me smacking my lips.
R: Yeah, it isn’t over the top like but a slick experience nonetheless.
C: There is a morality system in place where in small radio messages give you feedback of public opinion about Aiden. That’s a rather nice touch in addition to the bar.
R: I don’t know I found it a tad extraneous given the variety of systems at work. As does the levelling up and skills.
C: Curiously, this same morality meter says nothing of all the disruptions and larceny committed by Aiden.
T: Exactly. I think we can all agree that the best bit about Watch Dogs is that it is not a giant stretch of land wherein you will get exhausted driving from one point to another.
C: Yeah, there’s a sense of scale but it never does become too tedious for a player.
R: The environmental effects are pretty cool. Chicago at night and early morning looks gorgeous….
C: Speak for yourself, on PC the game is not only badly optimised, but it also comes with performance bias towards one hardware manufacturer.
T: It’s far from a polished product on the PS3. Draw distance is poor, texture pop-in is immense and a slew of jaggies mar the experience even further.
R: Sounds like the X360 version. Except it seems that MS’ console has one exclusive feature.
R: Screen tearing. Tons of it. During cut-scenes and in-game. At least the frame rate is consistent barring a heavy combat scenes.
T: Ditto on the PS3.
R: The PS4 version is fluid. It runs smooth and the game barely misses a beat from a technical standpoint. Chicago looks amazing at night and early morning. The frame rate is steady and the texture pop-in is minimal.
C: Oh yes there is attention to minute details on the models of the main story characters. But NPC models look rather generic.
T: Nonetheless it is digital, innovative and at some points deserving of having a Glitch Mob track in one of its trailers. Watch Dogs goes for density ahead of diversity and it serves the game well.
R: Exactly. You feel like you’re in complete control. That the city is indeed your playground.
On the Multiplayer
C: The alternative game modes and multiplayer can be an interesting change and add longevity to your playthrough.
T: Extremely so. Your job is to find out who amongst the NPC looking pedestrians is the hacker, and kill him before he runs away with the decrypted data.
R: So…a newbie friendly version of Dark Souls?
T: Hell yes. Hacking NPCs who are undercover white hackers can trigger an online bounty on you for other players to collect, so make sure whom you are hacking.
C: There are online races but they aren’t too impressive with the overall driving being what it is.
R: The free-roam mode (PC and next-gen only) is pretty cool as well. But I feel that the multiplayer modes are wasted because there’s so much to do in single player. Like digital trips for instance.
T: Yup. I found the Flower Leaping mini game as the best off the grid. The Saints Row style mayhem seeps into the digital trips activities, with the Spider Mode having a strong resemblance to the Tank Mayhem missions from the Saints franchise.
R: I think we’ve bored ourselves (and anyone else still reading this) to death. What do you think?
C: Well, it has tons of teething issues on PC. Would be worth people’s time once it’s fixed. But if you can run it, a grudging 8/10.
T: It’s a good start, just like Assassin’s Creed was and is on the way to becoming a gameplay defining franchise. 7/10.
R: Hmmm…it’s competent, empowering and most importantly fun. 8/10 on the PS4. Deduct one point if you’re going on current-gen.
So there you have it, a solid start for Ubisoft’s newest IP, which leaves us hoping that an all but obvious sequel improves on what this does.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we have some lights to dim….err…blackout. With our 1337 h4><0rz sk1llz. You get it. Don’t you? If not, you’re probably on the wrong site.