Watch Dogs PS4 Review: Game of Phones

Ubisoft's Watch_Dogs was set to be a next generation launch title, but ended up being delayed at the very last moment. Is it worth the extra six-month wait? Oh yes. Oh yes indeed.

Review by Jaz Rignall, .

Primary Reviewer Jaz Rignall

I reached out for my thesaurus so I could start this review with a smorgasbord of superlatives, but decided not to because I didn't want to get all hyperbolic and peak early. All you need to know at this point is Ubisoft’s Watch_Dogs is really, really, holy [expletive] [expletive] good.

I’ve been playing it obsessively for days, and it’s taking every ounce of my self control not to abscond to my PS4 because, you know, there’s something I need to check. Actually, there probably is stuff I need to check, because Watch_Dogs is mind-bogglingly huge and I'm sure I've missed a few things. But this review must go on.

Oddly, though, despite Watch_Dogs being a big game, its map isn’t. It’s big enough, sure, but it’s nowhere near as big as its arch-rival GTA V. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in density. A veritable feast of toys, puzzles, games, missions and attractions are squeezed, singularity-style, into its scaled-down, 20-minutes-into-the-future, sandbox Chicago.

Plus, of course, the thing known as The Campaign - Watch_Dogs’ centerpiece that is its storyline. I’m not going to spoil it, and I’m barely going to tell you anything about it beyond what you very likely already know. Which is, in a Chicago of the very near future, ctOS – a Central Operating System - connects almost everything from utilities, ATM machines and CCTV cameras to public transport, webcams and even smartphones. Data from all these devices flows through a number of nerve centers spread across the city, where much of it is also stored - something that most people don't know.

Protagonist Aiden is able to exploit weaknesses in ctOS' security and use his smartphone to hack and interact with anything that is connected to it. Simply standing on a street corner can yield interesting results. Passers-by can be scanned and sometimes hacked so that Aiden can hear their conversations, read their texts or even steal money from their bank accounts. Sometimes interesting information can be gleaned, which can be acted upon or stored for later use.

Hacking a CCTV camera enables Aiden to cast his field of hacking “view” even wider, and he can even jump from camera to camera to cover a wider area and perhaps locate other hackable targets. This mechanic is an integral part of the game, and one that gives it a very high degree of interest and originality.

Ultimately, the game’s premise essentially explores the concept of what happens when you have different people and organizations storing, accessing, controlling and using data to advance their own agendas – be they good, bad or indifferent. Aiden is one of them, though his agenda is mostly personal, with some opportunistic vigilantism when the chance arises. And arise it does - seemingly around every street corner.

At this point I’d like to change up the narrative with what probably feels like a bit of a non sequitur, but I think it’s relevant. A month or so ago, I attended a Watch_Dogs preview event. We played from the beginning of the game for a few hours, and were then boosted many hours into the game so we could play some of the later missions. I came away from the event impressed with the game, but not with the story or its characters. I found myself feeling detached, and not really caring about what I was doing or what was going on. That gave me a somewhat jaundiced view that I carried with me going into the full production copy.

However, I was delighted to find that the story and its characters are quite slow burn. Events unfold slowly, and it takes a while to warm up to the characters and to fully understand their motivations. That’s also my way of saying that you really do need to watch the cut scenes in this game. I find it surprising to hear myself say that, because I am one of the world’s worst offenders when it comes to X-button hammering, scene-skipping. But there are two reasons why it’s important to pay attention. Firstly, because the cut scenes play a critical role in driving the game – it really does feel arbitrary if you don’t understand the often much larger scope and ramifications that surround each mission. And secondly, because they’re exceptionally good on both a technical and a dramatic level.

Like most games, Watch_Dogs’ digital thespians suffer some uncanny valley-ness in the eye department, and the mouth syncing could have been better (it almost feels like the characters were motion captured for a foreign language first and then dubbed in English), but everything else is top class. The character modeling, clothing, and use of lighting all feel very next generation, and the mostly high quality voice acting and beautifully subtle motion capture really bring the characters to life.

Apart from some occasional wooden dialog and flubbed lines, and a couple of situations where characters don’t seem quite true to themselves or their situation, Watch_Dogs does a terrific job in making you feel emotionally involved with its cast. This is something that very rarely happens with me: I tend to see cut scenes more as justification for what I’ve done or what I’m about to do. But in this game, they’re so much more than that. I’m interested to hear what the characters have to say, what their decisions and actions reveal about themselves, and how they relate to one another – which in this game runs the full emotional spectrum. In some cases, there’s even the hint of chemistry here and there – something that I think is a quite astonishing achievement for a game.

Surrounding the expansive and ambitious storyline is a myriad of missions and activites, and here’s where the game’s designers have really triumphed. One of my questions coming in to Watch_Dogs was whether or not it would be able to elevate the open world, guns-and-cars, story/mission structure that’s been milked nearly dry by generations of Grand Theft Auto games. Fortunately it does, and it does so very well.

There are plenty of standard fetch quests, shoot-outs, and automotive pursuits and evasions that wouldn’t look out of place in a GTA game. However, when missions factor in the game’s hacking component, a completely new dimension emerges that the designers have exploited very creatively, turning what could so easily have been a GTA knock-off into something richer and more intellectually challenging.

Many of the game’s larger mission set pieces are open and can be tackled in a wide variety of ways. Perhaps you might choose to shoot your way into a location using whichever SMGs, assault weapons, sniper rifles or spec ops gear you might have bought or acquired, and then shoot your way out. That’s pretty much always an option – and sometimes a viable one. But most of the time it’s difficult to pull off this brute force approach effectively.

So before you rush headlong in, perhaps you might want to hack a CCTV, and case the joint. In doing so, you might see some opportunities to trip a car alarm, or mess with pieces of machinery, which might cause certain guards to move away from their positions to investigate. As they do, you can then move in and make progress using the game’s cover and sneak mechanics without needing to fire a shot.

There are opportunities for even more deadly measures. Valves and control points on utility pipes can be hacked to cause them to rupture or even explode, blowing it – and any guards that happen to be nearby – to pieces. Aiden can also craft grenades, lures, and manually and proximity-detonated IEDs. This combination of a large cache of weapons, sneaking, and the ability to create distractions both benign and deadly give Aiden a very impressive tactical repertoire – and it’s this aspect of Watch_Dogs that I love the most. While some missions are linear, there is very, very rarely a single effective solution to achieve an objective. In most cases, it’s up to you to experiment with your own strategic approach, which is often incredibly fun and rewarding, because achieving an objective using your own creative solution is far more satisfying than simply figuring out the correct set of maneuvers that you need to execute to reach a goal.

This openness is achieved thanks to some fairly solid AI, and the excellent design of mission locations that can vary from tight quarters to open areas with very little cover. Guards and enemies move around and use cover quite effectively, and even try to flank you. Sometimes they can be a little dumb, but considering most of the time you’re outnumbered, out-positioned and out-armored, this is not necessarily a bad thing. They react to what you’re doing in a reasonably consistent way, which means on repeated attempts at a particular mission, you can expect some degree of predictability. But that’s not always the case, and I found myself in more than a few situations where my well-laid plans just didn’t pan out the way I thought they would, and I ended up having to think very quickly on my feet and improvise. That can and does result in some the game's most exciting moments.

An interesting aspect of Watch_Dogs' sandbox-mission setup is that sometimes you can make things really hard for yourself, and sometimes the opposite can happen. On one mission, I hammered away at a particular approach before realizing that I was being an idiot, and by shimmying over a roof at the back of my target location and stealthing to a certain spot, I could easily take out the guards that were previously shooting me to pieces. Another time, I drove a car straight through the front gates and mowed down half the guards before they even knew what was happening, grabbed the objective, and drove straight back out in a hail of gunfire, escaping with the barest sliver of health. That was quite an adrenaline rush – one of many that Watch_Dogs has given me.

Something else I’ve enjoyed very much are Watch_Dogs’ environmental puzzles. Sometimes these play a part in a mission, but many are standalone side-missions that basically involve Aiden having to figure out how to reach a specific point on a building. Sometimes getting there is as simple as hacking a scissors elevator next to a nearby building and clambering over a roof. But most of the time they’re quite fiendish logic puzzles that involve using cameras to hack things, activate objects and find not-immediately-obvious objects to climb on so you can reach the objective.

Getting around Chicago is much as you’d expect: you can ride trains, or simply nab a handy car or motorcycle. However – and this is just me being a car nut – I tended to favor particular cars, because the ones in Watch_Dogs are based on real-life models, several of which are personal favorites (such as the Mitsubishi Evo VI clone). Auto-geeks will have a lot of fun playing spot the vehicle in this game: there are many of them, and some are really cool. It’s a minor deal, I know, but it’s something that really appealed to me. Especially since the game’s handling engine is pretty solid and effectively articulates a wide variety of steering characteristics, from oversteering classic muscle cars to fast-maneuvering super-minis. It just makes driving around fun.

Cars can be used for racing, of course, and there are plenty of driving-specific missions and side missions too. These form a part of Watch_Dogs’ larger roster of things to do while you’re not working your way through the main campaign. It’s almost overwhelming at first, but once you begin to settle into the game it becomes easier to choose what you might want to do as a respite between major acts. Perhaps it might be dealing out some vigilante justice to street criminals or infiltrating a gang’s hideout to eliminate a specific individual, or perhaps it might be tailing a hacker, or uploading a backdoor to a target smartphone so data can be stolen.

Or perhaps it might be time for some fun. Watch_Dogs features a number of different mini-games. For the more athletically minded, there are several Parkour-style challenges where you follow a trail as quickly as possible, for both a reward, and potential bragging rights on the online leaderboards. And then there are “Digital Trips,” often-outrageous psychedelic games that include a Carmageddon race where you mow down demonic policemen in a Chicago-style hell, or go on a crazy rampage in a Spider Tank – which is exactly what you think it is.

And if that isn’t enough, there’s a mini murder-mystery to solve, and a ton of other hidden things to find and collect. Oh, and there are also skills to develop that put more aces up Aiden’s sleeve, from improving his driving to making him more effective with weapons and hacking.

The sheer wealth of things to do makes Watch_Dogs a great place to spend time - time that you can also spend with friends. There are multiplayer racing, hacking and tailing games, although to be honest, they didn’t interest me a huge amount. Players can invade each others' games and steal data by following their opponent and avoid being spotted. However, it didn’t feel particularly skillful or fun to me – more a simple hide-and-seek game. The free-roaming option is probably the most entertaining aspect - basically it's a recipe for multiplayer combat chaos. It's fun, but I'm not sure of its long-term appeal, because it doesn't seem to be particularly well structured.

This is asking way too much, because it’s clear the developers already had their work cut out delivering Watch_Dogs in its current form, but I’d love to have seen options for two (or more) players to work together tactically on impregnable targets. Or perhaps one using CCTV cameras to help the other slip unseen through a heavily defended location - using the mechanics seen in several missions. That would have definitely been far more interesting than what’s on offer right now - but obviously a lot more work to produce.

Something else I think could have been improved are the controls. The game is complex and Aiden can perform a multitude of tasks, but the button layout and wheel-style menus are sometimes clumsy, and make it difficult to activate an item or switch weapons quickly in the heat of battle. It’s something you can work around, but take it from me, prepare for some occasional moments when button confusion results in Aiden getting nailed.

Other nits to pick include the way music is integrated into the game – it isn’t presented radio-style, and just feels clunky. The lack of clothing options is another minor annoyance. Oh, and slightly better subtitle formatting would have been appreciated.

If you go out of your way, you can make pedestrians and drivers do stupid things or go into repetitive loops, and it's easy to create traffic chaos with one badly parked car – but for the most part, Watch_Dogs’ Chicago is a convincing, living, breathing city that’s alive with activity. The architectural attention to detail is phenomenal, the landscaping is stunning, and the lighting and environmental effects are just incredible. There will be moments where you’ll stop, look around and marvel at the sheer realism of it all. And if you don’t, do. Spend some time sightseeing, because near-obsessive care and attention has been put into this game’s environment, and it really should be appreciated. It’s in these details that you can witness what this new generation of consoles has in store for us.

At this point, I don’t really know what more I can say. Watch_Dogs is a landmark, benchmark, must-buy game. It’s a challenging, rewarding, adrenaline pumping, utterly compelling spectacle that absolutely delivers on the sandbox premise by giving you a really interesting set of tools that you can use in whatever way you see fit to solve inventive, creative and exciting missions and objectives.

This is the next generation I’ve been looking for.

Second Opinion Mike Williams

Watch Dogs is a surprising game that didn’t turn out like I expected it to. I expected Grand Theft Auto by Ubisoft, with a hacking twist to hook players. Yes, you could boil it down to just that, call it a day, and move on. Is Watch Dogs as good as Grand Theft Auto V? No, but that’s an unfair comparison, being that GTAV was Rockstar’s continuation of what they learned from the personally-disappointing Grand Theft Auto IV and Watch Dogs is the start of a new franchise for Ubisoft.

Watch Dogs brings together a few Ubisoft staples into a single title. There’s the open world and widget collect-a-thon the publisher mastered in developing the Assassin’s Creed series and Far Cry 3, the driving action of Driver: San Francisco, and a version of the character progression system created for Far Cry 3. What surprised me the most was the inclusion of gameplay from the Splinter Cell series, notably Conviction and Blacklist.

As Jaz explained, certain missions can be tackled in any number of ways, among them the randomly-generated Crime Preventions, the vehicle-themed Fixer Contracts, and the vigilante-style Criminal Convoys. While you can go in guns ablaze, Watch Dogs places stealth and planning before the run-and-gun in many story missions and the Gang Hideouts. Aiden, like Sam Fisher before him, can’t take that much sustained fire before blacking out.

The new hacking mechanic combines with Splinter Cell: Blacklist’s take on cover and stealth to create something different. Watch Dogs wants you to watch areas from far away, hacking into cameras to scope out the situation and choose your targets. Hacking can be used to disrupt communications, prevent enemies from calling out for reinforcements, provide distractions, and outright kill folks in certain cases. I found myself hiding behind corners, waiting for one guard’s back to turn before knocking out another. Throwing lures to get a rent-a-cop into the right position. Activating a grenade on an enemy to take out him and a comrade.

There’s a lot of stealth in Watch Dogs’ mission structure. Yes, sometimes I’d flub an approach, get spotted, and then clean up with my handy grenade launcher and Destroyer sniper rifle (seriously, unlock the Destroyer, it’s awesome), but most of the time I’d just reset the mission and try again. It’s the same gameplay loop I default to in any Splinter Cell title; being seen is failure. That’s something I really enjoyed about Watch Dogs that I didn’t expect to be there. And seeing how many missed the excellent Splinter Cell: Blacklist last year, I'm glad part of that stealth action will still reach audiences.

Seems like a bad combination.

Watch Dogs is a Frankenstein's Monster built upon Ubisoft’s past successes. Jaz talked about the scope of the game and the wealth of things to do; it’s impressive, but not perfect. Your hacking abilities are locked behind skill trees. That would point towards focusing in specific directions, but doing the random missions that pop up will ensure that you’ll fill out most of the hacking skill tree early on. Once you get get the bread-and-butter moves - Steam Pipes and Bollard Control in my opinion - pursuit evasion becomes much easier.

Among the random missions - Ubisoft finally gets tailing right in Fixer Missions - you'll find the semi-frustrating Crime Prevention. In these missions, you’ll follow a victim or perpetrator within a marked area, staying out of their sight. Once the crimes happens, you intervene. Crime Prevention's problems involve timing. The amount of time you have to get out of sight if noticed is relatively short and half of the time you’ll approach the scene from the same direction the criminal is. You walk or drive into the zone, they notice you immediately, and bug out, ending the mission.

You also have to wait for the exact moment the crime happens before acting. Act too soon and the mission fails; the criminal isn’t a criminal yet, so you just shot a random person. Act too late, the victim dies, which is unsatisfying. I ended up relying on the time-slowing Focus mechanic in every single crime prevention, and even then the victim still died occasionally.

I understand why Ubisoft Montreal did this, because in the world of Watch Dogs, you’re the only person who knows about the crime before it happens. You can’t really bust someone for a crime they haven’t committed yet. And occasionally, the victim is a criminal as well, so why not let them die? It’s an interesting moral choice, but these missions overall aren’t tuned quite right. A bit more time to hide or intervene would’ve made them much more enjoyable. At some point I continued doing the missions just to raise my reputation, not because I liked them.

Aiden doesn't judge.

Watch Dogs has a number of these small problems. The hacking interface is well-done, giving you many options at the touch of a single button, but occasionally the option you want isn’t the one at hand. Focus seems a partial fix, letting you slow things down to target a specific hack, while the rest of the slack is taken up by the Neutralize feature that prioritizes hacks that will hurt pursuers. The smartphone menu interface feels slow and it never quite clicked with me. A similar complaint can be lobbed at the weapon interface. Again, all these features work, they’re not just as good as they could be.

Watch Dogs is a very good game. It has a lot to do and will keep you occupied for a long while, but it still falls short of my all-time best, Sleeping Dogs. That title was probably one of my favorite open-world shooting/driving games ever because it’s so small and tight. Watch Dogs and other open-world titles like GTAV creak under the weight of giving the player so many things to do, which can come at the expense of focus. Sometimes, I’d just open the map in Watch Dogs and marvel at all of the different Check-Ins, Digital Trips, City Games, Fixer Contracts, Gang Hideouts, Investigations, and AR Phone Games available; other times just seeing it all would tire me out.

Watch Dogs reminds me of the first Assassin’s Creed; an impressive piece of work with a few problems and a host of potential ahead of it. The jump from Assassin’s Creed to Assassin’s Creed II was nothing short of astounding and I’m hoping the jump from Watch Dogs to Watch Dogs II is just as good. Until then, Watch Dogs is still worth a purchase.

The Nitty Gritty

  • Visuals: Whether it's the realistic textures of a character's clothing, or the garbage in a dark back alley, Watch_Dogs' world, characters and vehicles are astonishingly well conceived.
  • Music: The ambient sound is superbly detailed and realistic, and the voice acting is excellent. The music feels a little arbitrary, good though much of it is.
  • Interface: The controls can sometimes be fiddly, simply because this is such a complex game, but generally Watch_Dogs does a good job in enabling the player to effectively work through its broad range of options.
  • Lasting Appeal: Once you finish the meaty and often challenging campaign, there are plenty of other things to do. And if you like the multiplayer options, that'll further extend the life you can wring from this.

Watch_Dogs combines an astonishingly detailed world, a gripping storyline, creative game mechanics, a myriad of missions and activities, and improvisational tactical sandbox gameplay to create a truly next-generation open world game. Phenomenal. No other word for it.

5 /5

Watch Dogs PS4 Review: Game of Phones Jaz Rignall Ubisoft's Watch_Dogs was set to be a next generation launch title, but ended up being delayed at the very last moment. Is it worth the extra six-month wait? Oh yes. Oh yes indeed. 2014-05-28T00:01:00-04:00 5 5

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Comments 53

  • Avatar for fullyillustrated #1 fullyillustrated 3 years ago
    I was unsure about this one, but if Jaz say yes, I say buy.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #2 Ohoni 3 years ago
    I definitely want to get this one, but my PC is at the minimum specs, and I'm hesitant to buy it without a tech demo so that I know how it will perform on my own system (I bought a 360 because Bioshock crashed my PC), and that means probably going all in with a next gen console, the PS4 most likely. Decisions decisions.
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  • Avatar for scuffpuppies #3 scuffpuppies 3 years ago
    5 out of 5? Have we both been playing the same game?

    I've invested over 25+ hours into Watch Dogs these past four/five days, and there is absolutely nothing original about it, nor anything it excels above other open-world games. In fact 90% of Watch Dogs is stolen from other titles.

    I appreciate reviews are simply one persons opinion, but in this case Ubisoft clearly gave you a special version that the rest of the world has yet to play.

    I love how UNrepresentative those screen shots are of the actual game. Watch Dogs looks NOTHING like it does in those images (PS4). It's a PS3/360 game with a PS4/XBO/C version. Absolutely nothing "next gen" about it. 7/10.Edited May 2014 by scuffpuppies
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #4 Stealth20k 3 years ago
    Perfect score interesting?
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  • Avatar for AdventuringThruGames #5 AdventuringThruGames 3 years ago
    What are the minimum requirements for the PC version? I'd love to get this.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #6 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    @scuffpuppies The images in my portion of the review are all direct-capture from the PS4.
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  • Avatar for CK20XX #7 CK20XX 3 years ago
    @scuffpuppies Originality is really more of an artificial merit. On paper, it seems like a good idea to commend something for trying to stand out from the pack, but in practice, it tends to be more of an estimate of how anal the critic is. The old proverb "there is nothing new under the sun" is still relevant because if you're really determined, you can link everything that's ever been created to something else.

    But isn't that how life should work anyway? Shouldn't we welcome people who build and improve on the past accomplishments of others?

    It's better to subscribe to the conventional wisdom that immature artists imitate while mature artists steal from each other. The question shouldn't be whether an element of a game is original, but whether it is used effectively within the game's context, whether it is relevant or frivolous.
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  • Avatar for Jaz_Rignall #8 Jaz_Rignall 3 years ago
    @scuffpuppies Originality is a little less important to me than something that doesn't feel repetitive or overly familiar. I reviewed Wolfenstein recently, and enjoyed it - though I'd rate it a near zero on originality, since it's a standard 90's FPS with modern sensibilities. What I liked about it was that it was simply a brilliant, bloody and entertaining experience (despite its flaws).

    Watch_Dogs is an open world game, and in that sense it's very similar to GTA - but then any open world city game is. What I was most interested in was how well executed it was, and whether or not it had something different added to it to give it a new dimension.

    To me, the hacking element was enough to do that. Sure, there are shootouts and car chases a-plenty, as I said in the review. But there were just enough new things to make the game feel fresh and interesting - at least to me. There's some stealthing, some open area battles, some fun set pieces where you can mess with the guards and kill them all remotely - and some missions where you could be incredibly creative and do thing that the designers probably didn't even plan for.

    That's enough for me. I know it's personal preference, but I actually didn't enjoy GTA V as much as prior versions because of its over-familiarity. I liked much of it, but it wasn't so much its lack of originality, but more its lack of challenge intellectually. Almost every time a mission started, I knew exactly what I needed to do. Watch_Dogs didn't quite have the same problem for me: it actually made me think.

    Ultimately, that's something I want from a game - that intellectual stimulation. Originality is usually the best way to deliver that, as there's nothing like a new concept to challenge you. But like@CK20XX says, "there's nothing new under the sun." And in that case, successfully augmenting a traditional gaming type or format with a few new ideas as Watch_Dogs does is a good substitute.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #9 Ohoni 3 years ago
    @Jaz_Rignall Agreedd. I can't make any judgements on this particular game, but in general I respect execution way more than originality. I'd rather play a game with mostly features I'd seen before, but well executed and with new content for those features to be used in, than to play something that's super original but not as fun to play with. ;)
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  • Avatar for sam-stephens #10 sam-stephens 3 years ago
    I have only played an hour of the game, so I really don't know how it is going to evolve. What has disappointed me about it so far is that hacking, despite being the an important part of the game's fiction, is more of a supportive option than an integral piece of the game. It hardly every seems necessary. Part of it probably has to do with the game being open-world and the popular design philosophy that players should be able to tackle situations in numerous different ways, but it undermines what was so potentially interesting about the concept in the first place. I would have preferred if the game was a bit more linear and structured and I would have removed all weapons from the game. Keep the focus on hacking to stealthily move around environments and lose all the GTA stuff.Edited 2 times. Last edited May 2014 by sam-stephens
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  • Avatar for Jaz_Rignall #11 Jaz_Rignall 3 years ago
    @sam stephens Just you wait...
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  • Avatar for sean697 #12 sean697 3 years ago
    I haven't really kept up with the news, but is the Wii U version still coming out soon? I was kinda holding out to see what they do with the gamepad on this as Ubisoft really seems like the only 3rd party developer who really takes gamepad integration seriously. And this game seems an ideal use for it.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #13 MHWilliams 3 years ago
    @sean697 Fall 2014 currently.
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  • Avatar for scuffpuppies #14 scuffpuppies 3 years ago
    I respect your opinion, and your love for the game. I do.
    But didn't you ever notice how the controls (a long standing issue with all Ubisoft games) didn't always do what you wanted them to do? Whenever I died in a gun fight, it wasn't because i made a mistake, but because he controls were clunky.
    For example. When taking cover behind a wall or car, why couldn't Ubi simply implement it so the PC follows the contour on the cover? Instead you have to line up your target to the corner (direct corner I might add) in order to move cover? It's clunky and archaic. Hell Gears managed this 8 years ago. Just an example of many poorly implemented features.
    Money. In 30hrs I have amassed 1.9 million dollars. Simply because I was searching for other activities. What is there to spend even $100,000 on? Sweet eff all. Yes its not a big deal, but why make it a feature to begin with if there is nothing to buy? I'd bought all the cars in 5hrs, of which there is absolutely no point in actually buying anyway.
    Don't get me wrong, Watch Dogs is a good game, with the occasional glimmer of greatness (no doubt over the next 275 annual releases Ubisoft will tweak the odd thing here and there), but I just can't see it in the same way as you do. I wish I did.
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  • Avatar for scuffpuppies #15 scuffpuppies 3 years ago
    I wasn't referring to your images fella, only the ones in Jaz's review.
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  • Avatar for scuffpuppies #16 scuffpuppies 3 years ago
    I agree. Most games are built upon the foundation of others It's how this industry has always worked.
    However, Watch Dogs doesn't add anything new to the genre. The hacking is fun at first, but becomes pretty mundane after a while. And it doesn't take long before all the conversation's you can hack/listen into begin to repeat themselves...over...and over...and over...and over again. Even random crimes start being in the same locations. Not a huge deal granted, but clearly it's not the living breathing unscripted world marketing led us to believe.
    Follow a fire truck, sirens screaming...and it just runs in a circle. It has no destination. When the system knows you're following it you ever hear over the radio "false alarm, return to the station." EVERY TIME.
    Follow an NPC and they just loop round in a circuit. Never going anywhere. Again, hardly a living breathing world.
    Look harder at the game than Ubisoft want you to, and it's really nothing special.Edited May 2014 by scuffpuppies
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #17 MHWilliams 3 years ago
  • Avatar for scuffpuppies #18 scuffpuppies 3 years ago
    One last point before I go to bed (past 4am in the UK...can't sleep).
    Jaz mentions Watch Dogs is a sign of things to come with this new gen of consoles, regarding the environment build etc.
    Watch Dogs is and always has been a PS3/360 game with a PS4/XBO/PC version.

    Other than lighting and res, there is nothing "next gen" about it.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #19 Ohoni 3 years ago
    @scuffpuppies You keep repeating that, but really what do you expect from a first year game? I don't think the game has to live based on how "next gen" it is, it lives based on how much fun people have with it. You have expressed that you did not enjoy it, fair enough, the reviewers seem to have enjoyed it, also fair enough. People can judge for themselves which of you they are likely to agree with more.
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  • Avatar for scuffpuppies #20 scuffpuppies 3 years ago
    I did enjoy it, in fact I really enjoyed it. But I don't personally believe it's in the same class as other 10/10 games over the years.
    No game is flawless, but Watch Dogs has to many flaws. And this isn't a first gen PS4 game. It's a freaking PS3/360 game. NOT a PS4/XBO/PC game. Why can't some people see that.
    This not or never was a "next gen" game. That doesn't detract from its achievements, far from it.
    But as I said, I enjoyed my time with Watch Dogs, and will no doubt buy the next 15 annual sequels. But this is not a 'Hall of Fame' game. That's all I'm saying.Edited 2 times. Last edited May 2014 by scuffpuppies
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  • Avatar for docexe #21 docexe 3 years ago
    @scuffpuppies Well, other reviewers have given the game more middling grades, Giant Bomb even gave it a 6.0. This one is actually the only one I have seen that gives it a perfect grade, and that seems to be based entirely on the author enjoying the game that much despite its flaws. But ultimately reviews are a completely subjective thing that depends entirely on the perspective and personal experience of the author.

    In that sense, I don’t understand why take so much issue with the score of a single review.

    I also found your comment about the “living breathing world” kind of nitpicky when you consider that… well, pretty much every single Open World game in existence behaves like that and will continue to behave like that even in this new generation of consoles. Technology is still not yet at the point where it’s possible to create a complex realistic simulation that truly reflects or approximates the real world, at least not in a way that’s commercially feasible. Every new hardware generation gets closer to that goal, but if you are willing to look closely, you will see the cracks in the illusion every single time.
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  • Avatar for docexe #22 docexe 3 years ago
    Anyway, considering the level of hype that Ubisoft placed on this game and the level of expectations it generated as one of the first games announced as the transition between the new generation of consoles and the past one, I’m not surprised if it didn’t fully delivers or if people get disappointed with it.

    If anything, it’s disappointing that it isn’t truly revolutionary. A lot of people are expecting these new IP’s and this new console generation to shed the level stagnation that has afflicted the industry in the past few years, but at this rate it seems unlikely to happen.

    At least, the game still seems to be really good and really fun, so I will definitely get it in the future.
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  • Avatar for Jaz_Rignall #23 Jaz_Rignall 3 years ago
    @sean697 It'll probably be post-Summer based on what scant info I have right now.
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  • Avatar for Jaz_Rignall #24 Jaz_Rignall 3 years ago
    @scuffpuppies I'm totally with you on the controls - and I called them out in the review. My particular peeve is the idiot who decided to put a ladder next to a railing on the top of a 7th storey building. Approach at slightly the wrong angle, and instead of climbing up as you want to do, you gracefully vault the railing and plummet to your death. So dumb.

    That was an irritant, but most of the time it's okay. It just seems a bit half-baked. Or why not do what I always ask, and let the freakin' user choose their own buttons. Seriously. How hard can it be?

    The money aspect is also a disappointment. Or rather, the lack of things to buy. One of my fave aspects of the earlier GTA games was the fact that you could buy homes. Big ones, with cars in garages. It just felt like you "made it." That sort of status symbol in WD would have been appreciated too. Rather than living out of a series of shipping crates.
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  • Avatar for #25 3 years ago
    I too love Splinter Cell: Blacklist and it's sad to know most missed it.
    But good news, Mr. Williams. This is purely my gut, not any actual information, but I believe we'll see plenty of that Blacklist style stealth in Assassin's Creed: Unity (but with some slight AC twist) since it's Blacklist's developer making it.
    That also explains the rumored AC co-op, seeing as how great and the generous amount of maps Blacklist dedicated to co-op.
    I have my Watch_Dogs copy, yet haven't played. Now I'm more excited than ever, seeing a review by opinions I trust that are so excited by it.
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  • Avatar for rotsujin #26 rotsujin 3 years ago
    Try taking your own screenshots next time. Using the same PR shots that have been seen all over the web makes your review look fake.
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  • Avatar for Jaz_Rignall #27 Jaz_Rignall 3 years ago
    @rotsujin That's a fair comment. I actually didn't think my own screenshots would be that interesting. I found it difficult to take decent action shots due to the lag between pressing the button and the PS4 capturing it, and ended up with a bunch that felt mundane (or simply hopeless) compared to the far more exciting ones supplied to us.

    But still, in the interests of not faking it, I've added the best shots I took as I progressed. Not as exciting as others you can find online, but they're original shots at least.Edited May 2014 by Jaz_Rignall
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #28 Ohoni 3 years ago
    @scuffpuppies I don't think it's that "nobody can see that," it's that "nobody particularly cares." Ok, sure, it's an upscaled previous-gen game, that's to be expected in the first year of a new console, but it's also a first game on the new console, even if it wasn't designed for that console generation from the ground up. It really doesn't matter either way, all that matters is whether it was good or not regardless of platform.

    As for "hall of fame," that decision will come much later, but you're likely right, and both reviews hinted as much by saying the game had rough edges.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #29 Ohoni 3 years ago
    @Jaz_Rignall It's funny in the modern era game journalists are expected to be action photographers too. ;)

    Is it possible to record video of an action sequence, and then go through it and pull screens?Edited May 2014 by Ohoni
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  • Avatar for scuffpuppies #30 scuffpuppies 3 years ago
    Parts of the game I absolutely love. They have designed the driving perfectly. Assuming you use in-car, or bonnet cam, I have a blast being chased by 5 star Police. For me, it's the best driving mechanic I've experienced in an open-world game in years.

    My main contention is I'm forever engaing the world, whether missions or free-roam, and thinking "if only they had...", or "I wish you could...". Sometimes it's as simple as wishing you could jump. Odd omission.

    It is as good game, with the occasional glimmer of greatness. I just wish to the Gaming God I saw Watch Dogs in the same way as you do.

    I now have $2.7million in-game cash lol.
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  • Avatar for scuffpuppies #31 scuffpuppies 3 years ago
    Okay. In a game that Ubisoft (and some web sites) are proclaiming to be a "next gen" game, I expect "next gen" A.I. Is it too much to ask for a fire truck, sirens screaming, to actually have a destination? Is it too much to ask for an ambulance to arrive at an accident? Something GTA3 managed 15 years ago.
    Is it too much to expect the NPC to actually have a task, rather than just walk around in a loop?
    I'm not bothered about graphics (though I do love pretty things), and was shocked to see Aden stand in front of car headlights and not cash a shadow, whether on PS4 or PC. But main main disappointment is with the ambient A.I. It's so lazy, it's saddening.
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  • Avatar for scuffpuppies #32 scuffpuppies 3 years ago
    One last thing, sorry if I came across as a bit of a c**t. My wife tells me it happens now and again.
    You wrote a great review, I respect both yours and Mike opinion, and shouldn't have questioned your score. It was a c**tish thing to do.
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  • Avatar for nipsen #33 nipsen 3 years ago
    ..well, I thought it was a flat review that bubbles over from the unfortunately very common tendency in the games-media (and elsewhere) nowadays to not only avoid being critical, but also to focus exclusively on the positive things.

    To the point where we're not really sure if the reviewer is lying (as in telling us things they know are untrue), or if they're fooling themselves. Or, as is the most common: they feel obligated to include Ubisoft's PR manager lines in a "defense" of accusations they have presented ahead of time. And which they, I suppose, plead with reviewers about how are not significant for the experience their people would like to present? "Oh, you know how knee-jerk reactions are always false". So they should clearly be treated as false, or your magazine is defending internet tripe.

    But the problem, as always, is that the review doesn't explain enough of anything, while waffling on about things even the review doesn't really care about.

    Excuses are rife, however. You never really go into how linear the game is, and how gated the missions are once you get into them. Instead you even insist in one of the examples that knowing where the targets were because you failed the mission earlier - that "allowed" you to solve the mission in an alternative way. By using knowledge of the mission that you would not have unless you were in the mission earlier and failed, to cheat the mission on the next "life". That goes for "interactivity" or "multiple paths" in the review. And you seem completely unaware of how this cuts the legs off the argument you're making.

    You also don't go into how extremely picky some of the missions are, with targets and fail conditions. Or how unreasonably mechanical some of the algorithms and mechanics are - outside the scripted events, when they make more narrative sense.

    The same goes for the second opinion, which gives off the impression of being at least as unwilling to actually talk about the game itself, but is more experienced in not being too obvious when riding the "this is next gen" narrative from Ubisoft.

    Neither of you go into the technical details, though. You don't point out the fact that the cloth effects and animation system is identical to the one we know from Assassin's Creed. There's no "leap to next gen." in the range of what we were promised with Ubisoft's initial E3 presentation. In fact, all of the interesting effects are gone. On Ultra on PC, which were supposedly going to approach the E3 render -- it's nowhere near it. The gunplay and animation when actually in the game-world looks as finicky and flimsy as ever.

    And you don't mention it with a word. Instead, your main review states, with utter sincerity, that this "is a next gen game". It looks ****ing good, apparently, we can read several times. And if you disagree, I guess the discussion is over, because the game is *****ing good!

    Just let me point out one thing for you. Eurogamer (a kind of parental sister site to usgamer?), among other outlets, had no problems of any kind to go on a killing spree when Guerrilla Games presented their engine render of the Killzone 2 trailer. And in this differed from the e3 trailer, as well as how it didn't include all the tech used in the game engine in the end.

    This was, like the developers explained at the time, for the fact that certain transparency effects and real-time reflection maps were not implemented in the engine. And that they added two high-resolution static resources in a puddle of water at one of the angles. But otherwise the engine based trailer they showed included all the effects from the concept. Which again were found in the actual game when that came out. It wasn't an "abstract" presentation, it was in the actual game as you played it.

    And that game, and Guerrilla Games, were slaughtered. But as you can see now, and as you could see at the time -- that was not because the engine was bad. But it was because Sony's PR people are weasels, or just extremely naive to the point of idiocy -- and Eurogamer and others have less of a compulsion to stay on their good side.

    The technical details. Or a reviewer genuinely explaining their opinion honestly. Neither were involved.

    So what happens? You collectively seek into the internet hype and mirror that completely in your review. To the point where it really seems as if the actual game couldn't matter any less for what we read in the review in the end.

    Whether that is the intention, or simply the result - it makes no difference to us who read the review in the end.

    Also note: I think it's completely fine if you write that you enjoyed particular mechanics, that you describe, and that you played and had fun with a part of the game that tickled your imagination and let you use some thinking as your weapon rather than just the guns. I have no problem if that then spawns a grand commentary on how more games should focus on that approach, because you personally like it. That's completely fine, even if you are selling your opinion and ignoring aspects that I find very compelling.

    Because you should not feel compelled to focus on aspects of the review that you feel does not reflect your own opinion.

    But you simply can't use your positive impressions for the game, for whatever reason I don't really understand after reading the review - and then drape that over Ubisoft's PR language.

    On purpose or otherwise -- you cannot be this unaware while writing a review of a high profile game like this. Or you are doing your readers a disservice, and you're doing a huge number on your own reputation. It's as simple as that; don't think for a moment that the one judging whether you wrote a quality review is only your employer.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #34 Ohoni 3 years ago
    @scuffpuppies It's not too much to ask, but it is too much to assume, and too much to insist on. Letting you follow firetrucks to the scene is not the point of the game as they see it. If it's important to you, then you're free to mark the game down for it, but there's no reason it should have been a priority to them, they were apparently focused on making other elements work right. As the reviews pointed out, this is the first game in this franchise. A lot of the dynamics involved are not to Ubi's teams. GTA may have had them years ago, but this is not being made by Rockstar.

    I don't know, I haven't gotten to play this one yet, but from the descriptions it sounds like while the "living city" may not be perfect, it's still far better than a lot of them out there in other games I've played, so I doubt I would even notice the seams as often as you seem to. I'm not saying you can't hold your own opinion for what you wanted or expected, I'm just pointing out that there is no reason for you to insist that other people agree with your expectations.
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  • Avatar for Damman #35 Damman 3 years ago
    @nipsen Is it really necessary to lash out so viciously at people that reviewed the game and enjoyed it? To accuse them of being swayed by the PR lines because they didn't mention your personal sticking points with the game? To what benefit might Jaz or Mike be lying about their opinions on it? Disagree with anything and everything about what they're saying, but show some civility.
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  • Avatar for Jaz_Rignall #36 Jaz_Rignall 3 years ago
    @scuffpuppies I didn't get that impression at any point at all. This is a good discussion - I'm always interested to hear what other people think, and trying to understand why. Some people are tolerant of a game's foibles that are deal-breakers for others. One person's great story is another person's piece of crap. Differences are what make life interesting. Civil discussion about them even more so!
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  • Avatar for Jaz_Rignall #37 Jaz_Rignall 3 years ago
    @nipsen I've been reviewing games professionally for almost 30 years, and have written some of the most savage video game reviews in history. If you want to read them, I can send you links. I've also written some exceptionally enthusiastic reviews. Like this one

    Ultimately, whichever way my opinion goes, what I'm looking at is entertainment and value. Does this game entertain me, am I enjoying myself and is it worth the money.

    I didn't mention the technical elements of the clothing, because I don't care. The fact that you do tells me that you simply have a different value system to me. If the clothing looked stupid, or got in the way - I'd mention it. But to me, it didn’t bear commenting on. What did was the lack of clothing options. That, I do care about, and I called it out.

    I wouldn't be surprised if you also value frame rate and resolution. I'm more than happy to play a lower-rez game with a poor framerate if what I'm playing is really compelling and fun. If those things got in the way of what a game is supposed to do - entertain - then yes, I'll mention them and the game will be marked down. But if they don't, I don't care. I might mention the game looks rough, but marks won't be deducted if the game is just as entertaining. Others do, sure. But I'm not here to marvel over my 1080p-ness running at 60fps. It's a bonus to me if a game looks that great, but ultimately, it's the entertainment output that I care about, not the pixels on the screen.

    The review is my opinion, and my opinion is different from yours. If I'd thought the missions were overly linear, or that certain mechanics were clunky, then I'd mention them. Oh, wait. I did. The AI being mostly solid, but sometimes guards can be dumb. I also criticized the weak multiplayer, controls, and that you can break pedestrians and traffic. This is the stuff that bothered me (though not that much) - if other things had, I'd have mentioned them.

    There is of course other stuff I could have mentioned, but then this piece would have become unwieldy. It’s already far longer than most publications’ reviews, and I believe I’ve articulated enough about what I thought was important – the best bits of the game. Did I “overlook” negative aspects of the game? Since you have negative views on specific aspects of the game that I didn’t mention, then yes, it looks like it. But the reality is, I didn’t feel the same way as you, and I didn’t mention them because I didn’t have a particularly strong opinion on them.

    Ultimately, I find myself in the unenviable position of being the reviewer who likes Watch_Dogs the most. That carries baggage, because inevitably those who like it less than I think that somehow I'm working for the man, taking money and free holidays to give the game a 5-star review.

    I don’t. I’m a reviewer who just happened to really, really like this game. I liked it far more than GTA V, which I ended up not bothering to finish because I just didn’t like it that much – the first GTA game I’ve not finished, ever. This game I've enjoy so much more. I really like the story, I thought the ending was really good and thoughtful - even though friends of mind think it's hogwash. I couldn't sit through 20 minutes of a Transformers movie because it's dumb - one of those same friends thinks its great. Vive la difference.

    Sorry that you don’t enjoy Watch_Dogs as much as I do, and sorry you think my review is some kind of whitewash. But however you see it, it’s just my opinion. I'm happy to discuss the differences between mine and yours – because I love nothing more than conversations like that. Perhaps you’ll understand why I didn’t think the missions were linear, and perhaps I’ll understand why you’d call out cross-game clothing animation as something bad.

    But don’t go the collusion route. Regardless of how you feel, that’s a cheap shot.Edited 4 times. Last edited May 2014 by Jaz_Rignall
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  • Avatar for nipsen #38 nipsen 3 years ago
    @Jaz_Rignall Specially when it's true, I guess. I specifically explained I wouldn't have a problem if you simply explained your opinion and focused on the parts of the game you enjoyed. I also agree that if you only comment on less impressive parts as far as they affect your enjoyment of the more impressive bits, that would also not really be a problem as long as you explain the context well.

    It would certainly be a more interesting review then if you could explain how you enjoyed the game in that way, without ignoring the rest. That after all is still there. Just speaking generally, as readers we shouldn't trust the reviewer to be able to predict how we are going to play an "open-world" game. Or if they can, what does that say about the game? We don't know because there's no context.

    And the problem turns up when you declare the game to be a next generation marvel, just like Ubisoft has talked up the game lately, without mentioning for example how it differs from "previous gen" games. You obviously know what Ubisoft's PR line is - but even if you didn't, you can't brush off that problem by stating the review is just your unexplained opinion.

    Either it's wallpaper words, or (like in this case) it's just plugging Ubisoft PR. So regardless, you have to explain what it is about the title that makes it impressive. Be that graphics, animation, mission and level-design, distances and object reactivity, etc. Or, perhaps, how it subjectively feels natural, or how movement became more dynamic, how the city seems more alive even outside the area you are walking in. Sky seems real. Or perhaps the sky seems unreal but fits in the game's setting, plays into the overlays and cyberpunk references abound. Any would be a good option. None of them - not a good option.

    Other readers also explained how using Ubisofts pics that appear to be in-engine shots massively overestimate what the game looks like. The header pic that hasn't been replaced is from where, for example? The cinematic before the game launches? And it's not unfair to add that running the game on Ultra on PC - never mind on consoles - comes nowhere near what they showed us before launch. Whether it is in terms of reactivity with other characters outside scripted events, traffic in the game as it actually happens during unscripted "open world" events (in the "open world" game.. graphics in general, cloth physics, wind gusts or parkour at more than one angle, etc. So why isn't that worth mentioning - specially when you choose to talk up the "next gen" line?

    So when I'm asking why you're describing it as a "true next gen title" and "worth the six month wait", that's not a trivial challenge of opinions blown out of proportion, where everyone may naturally differ. I'm pointing out that you should explain what exactly you find so impressive with the game.

    And that you don't is not an unfair criticism, whether it was a positive review or a negative review. Like I mentioned with the KZ2 example, this vapid reviewing destroys games as well as props up utter tripe as the next holy grail. Either is bad.

    Aside from that, the review doesn't mention the way the various systems and missions in the game in terms of how they are built up, or how they fit together. When you play it, it strikes you very quickly that there is extremely little room for walking off the red line they've drawn for you during the missions. And even your example of alternative paths reads like it's meant ironically - you had to know how the mission played out on beforehand to get to a more satisfying mission end.

    So what you've presented us with is at best one fantastic example of how reviewers - serious reviewers - automatically adopt "current" PR language when writing reviews. And simply let their impressions - positive or negative - be hooked onto those labels as if they needed no more elaboration. A lazy, but maybe reasonable mistake.

    At worst you're simply misrepresenting the entire game and giving us a very bad buyer's recommendation, presumably since your "entertainment and value" proposition has been swayed by the hype surrounding the game. Or any other unexplained element in our outside the game.

    Another thing - don't assume that anyone leveling criticism against a (specially) bad review is accusing you of taking bribes. That's childish, and the victim angle is completely annoying - as well as besides the point. In the same way, that you have written scathing reviews in the past also doesn't make a bad "enthusiastic" review for a different game any better.

    Again. If you like the game, good on you. I dislike games that others like, and I can usually respect people's opinions for why they like them. That doesn't stop when people say they like something because they simply think it's fun. "It's great". Awesome, great. I have no problem with that.

    The problem is when they adopt ways to explain this that are dredged out of the advertisement boxes. When they listen to an advertisement and instantly adopt the byline to explain how they enjoy something.

    Of course, I couldn't care less when people do that out of my face as well. But you're not a six-year old who tries to impress someone with fancy words here. We can't read out of this that we are really talking about an expression of your charmingly subjective enthusiasm with enjoying a new toy.

    Instead you're writing a buyer's recommendation. And it's not a good one.
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  • Avatar for Jaz_Rignall #39 Jaz_Rignall 3 years ago
    @nipsen I appreciate the effort you've put into your feedback, and it has been noted, doubt that though you may. I’ve not conversed with someone this nit-picky and vehement about my work in a while - and I'm not being an ass here, I'm simply recognizing the intensity and thoroughness of your feedback.

    Look, you make good points and I take them, apart from the PR language stuff which, as I've already said, feels like a cheap shot. Ultimately, a review can always be more detailed, and there are many aspects of the game I did glide over. But ultimately it’s pretty clear what it is I like about the game, and not. If there’s something else you want to know about that I haven't covered, that’s what the Internet is for. I always assume any review I write is one of many that someone will read if they’re interested in a game.Edited 3 times. Last edited May 2014 by Jaz_Rignall
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  • Avatar for nipsen #40 nipsen 3 years ago
    @Jaz_Rignall Fine. Congratulations from me for taking aboard any criticism as something else than merely an intellectually sounding cover for a irrationally different opinion about the game. I respect that if this is actually what you are saying.

    That being said, you wouldn't be the first professional writer in the industry I've run into who gets very upset when they are reminded that there are people who read their work and recognize writing as sounding exactly like the PR lines.

    Not because it's a matter of integrity. But because of professional pride. The professional pride being in their industry wide recognized skill at rehashing the blueprints, whitepapers and briefings given to them by their press-contacts, and composing something from it that sounds genuinely personal. Which it of course is, since everything is subjective, apparently. And therefore all personal opinions are truth.

    And in that universe, criticism from readers who read the words and directly associate the PR line with it - by merely existing, they are a threat to their livelihood.

    Because if enough people had no confidence in reviews composed this way, or question how genuine these opinions truly are - then their readerships would dwindle, and the press contacts would see no value in their "games-journalism". The people they cater to, the ones who are "interested in a game", suddenly go elsewhere, to an outlet that compose actual content.

    So hostility towards that prospect is completely natural and reasonable.

    But you can't demand that everyone should respect the mode this review represents, or even trust you for no reason. Where does that even come from? Is this the first time in 30 years that you've slipped?

    Meanwhile: "I reached out for my thesaurus", as you say, "because I didn't want to get all hyperbolic". This entire thing you've written here is quite frankly priceless. I've rarely read something as perfectly illustrating what is wrong with games-journalism as this. But I can at least tell you honestly that the review entertained me a lot. That's why I've cared enough to write a few lines as well.
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  • Avatar for docexe #41 docexe 3 years ago
    @nipsen I have never seen someone getting so… well, vehement about a reviewer giving a game a perfect score. Usually it’s the opposite that happens: people sending death threats to a writer who didn’t give a very expected game a grade high enough. But I suppose that just goes to show how cynical we have become when it comes to the state of the AAA hype machine.

    Now, I think you make some good points about the current state of gaming journalism and about the review not being detailed enough to justify the grade it is giving to the game. But when you state that the reviewer is taking issue with your comment out of professional pride, or because people like you who criticize gaming journalism on the basis of their unhealthy relationship with the PR machine of big publisher tend to undermine their work, or that he is playing the victim card ...Well, the thing is that some of your comments about inserting the PR line (especially in your first post) can be read as ad hominem: As a very backhanded way of calling someone a sellout (especially because it is clear that you were far from impressed with the game as well as with the marketing tactics of Ubisoft). Getting defensive as a first reaction to such kind of criticism is understandable. You can’t fault the reviewer for reacting that way, neither get into this high horse of “intellectual superiority” that you exhibit in your last comment.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #42 Ohoni 3 years ago
    @nipsen Dude, you should NEVER trust a reviewer, because reviewers are never Right. I don't mean that as a complaint against reviewers. don't get me wrong, but my point is just that a review will ALWAYS be subjective, and since you are a different person than the reviewer, there will always be some distance between their opinion and your own. Anyone who just reads a review by a writer they don't know, and says "they gave it a 3.5/5, that means I will sort of like it but not love it" is a bit of an idiot.

    Instead what you need to do with reviews is to build a rapport with the reviewers. Find games that you really like, and the reviewers that really liked them too, and expressed the same reasons you did. Find the reviewers that didn't like the same games you didn't like, and for the same flaws you noticed. Once you have several of these, you can compare their reviews and decide for yourself whether the flaws and features they highlight are ones that are important to you too.

    You're guaranteed to have plenty of reviewers that you'll never agree with, but that doesn't mean that they are in the wrong, because there are plenty of other people out there that will agree with them, it's your job as a consumer to find the reviewers that suit you, not for them to suit their reviews to any single consumer.

    So if a reviewer reviews something and you disagree, it isn't because they did their job Wrong, it's just because he didn't stumble across the same flaws you did, or if he did, then in his opinion they weren't as big a deal as they were for you. His job is not to present an objectively accurate view of the product that is equally relevant to all readers, since that is impossible with any work of art. The best he can do is point out as many objective flaws as he might encounter, and then give a personal impression of the game which you're free to agree with or not.

    Learn to be better at parsing reviews for information that is relevant to you, become a better consumer.
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  • Avatar for Scimarad #43 Scimarad 3 years ago
    I can definitely see both points of view with this review. While it's nice to see someone being enthusiastic about a game I do feel that it's down to a reviewer to lets us know a game's shortcomings if we are going to spend money on it.

    On the subject of EG, nothing has made me as suspicious of reviews as their review of Dragon Age 2; No mention at all of how you were basically exploring the same 3 dungeons slightly re-arranged for the whole game. On the other hand, I felt their review of Second Son was incredibly picky at the time but having finished it, I've come to agree with them.
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  • Avatar for nipsen #44 nipsen 3 years ago
    @Ohoni "Learn to be better at parsing reviews for information that is relevant to you, become a better consumer."

    Right. So.. how would you parse relevant information from a review saying: "Trust me, it's good" in fifteen different ways?
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #45 Ohoni 3 years ago
    @nipsen Do you trust him? If so, it's good. If not, then it's inconclusive. If the review consisted ONLY of "trust me, it's good," and especially if that were all you'd ever read from him, then that would be unhelpful, but as part of a larger review, you should be able to gauge how much you're likely to agree with the reviewer's opinions.

    Does he tend to speak favorably about things that sound fun to you, does he tend to speak unfavorably about things that sound annoying to you too? You should be able to get a pretty good idea of whether the writer's opinion on playing the game would be similar to your own, and thus if he says it's good, and he seems to like the same things you do, then there's a solid chance you'd like it too.Edited June 2014 by Ohoni
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  • Avatar for nipsen #46 nipsen 3 years ago
    @Ohoni: I just don't think that's enough. There's no such thing as an objective review, obviously. And the phenomenon where a geek abuses technical language to convey their joy about a game - in a completely impenetrable way to anyone except themselves - is probably as old as the first computer game.

    And therefore I also like moving away from technical language in order to skip past things that ultimately are not important to the experience itself. Avoiding the framerate debate and nitty-gritty analysis of textures and tech when that simply doesn't interfere with the game - could often be extremely valuable. Here's just a description of the game. Fantastic.

    But like I point out a few times, what we appear to have ended up evolving into from the technical language, is a different nomenclature. That is often as impenetrable and as horribly abused as any other technical language, when it is used carelessly. "Puzzles", "open world", "gameplay", "sandbox". When those words start to become explanations in themselves, you really can't cipher what the writer is saying.

    You could, like you say, compare it to something written before. And perhaps that works in the sense that you can pick out an overall feel (given that their mood never really changes, I guess).

    But how do you really compare impressions from two different games that use the same expressions to describe different things? "Better than game X". Slightly different things, or vastly different things: It's completely impossible to pick out. It's a total leap of faith.

    At best you can use a byline to drag your reader into a particular mood. And you can use the same format over and over again to make it easier know what to expect. And it's possible to use that as reference when you read a review.

    But you really can't judge a game based on the mood of the reviewer. That's completely bonk. ;)
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #47 Ohoni 3 years ago
    @nipsen Well, I just don't think there is any way to review multiple games over several years and apply some sort of universal and purely objective scale to them, of course the reviewer will be in a different place when writing one than he would be when writing another years previously, and you have to factor that into your interpretation of the review.

    It just seems like you have this unreasonable expectation of what a review should be, some sort of Platonic ideal of a review, even though it never has been and never could be. You just have to accept that a review is a subjective argument in favor of the reviewer's reaction to the product, and you are free to accept that view or not to whatever degree you feel comfortable with. No reviewer can ever give you some kind of guarantee that your reaction to the game will in any way correspond to their own.

    What makes for a good reviewer, in an objective sense, is not that they are always "Right," because that's just not something that actually happens. What makes for a good reviewer is that they are someone who can write in an entertaining manner, so that you enjoy the review even if you have no interest in the product. It is that they have a knack for "breaking" a given product, finding the elements that could make the game less fun for people, and pointing them out if necessary. It involves finding the joy in the game, the elements other people might enjoy, and pointing those out where necessary. Most importantly, it involves most readers agreeing that those three things are all done well. A writer can work as hard as he can and try as hard as he can, but if most people disagree with him most of the time, they won't read his stuff and there's no point keeping him around.

    Now you can disagree with this review, and say it doesn't work for you, and that's fine, but that's just your opinion, and while you're as entitled to your opinion about this review as Jaz is to his about Watch_Dogs,he's as entitled to disagree your opinion about the review as you are to disagree with his opinion of Watch_Dogs. ;) He's not in the wrong just because you have a difference of opinion.
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  • Avatar for fordzezo #48 fordzezo A year ago
    I was unsure about this one, but if Jaz say yes, I say buy.
    http://www.2l3abgame.comEdited July 2016 by fordzezo
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  • Avatar for momo1000 #49 momo1000 A year ago
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  • Avatar for Smartmiltoys #50 Smartmiltoys A year ago
    @fullyillustrated Then there’s the multiplayer, which is incredibly well implemented. Most features are integrated into the single player, and you get a pop-up message allowing you to accept or deny invites. Nice touch--sometimes you just want to be left alone. If accepted, other players enter your game to play one-on-one hacking games, races, or police chases (via the companion app). While multiplayer activities are slightly different to solo missions, they feel well connected to the overall experience. I mean this in the best way possible: it’s as if you’re not really playing online. There’s no disconnect, no server hassle… just the tension of playing cat-and-mouse with a real human opponent.
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  • Avatar for AkarshSagi #51 AkarshSagi 8 months ago
    Nice Game ! I enjoyed it a lot. I am Passionate on shooting games. It fulfilled my passion
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