We admit to being incredibly sceptical about Watch_Dogs prior to reviews going live earlier today. Sure, the E3 reveal dazzled us just like it did everyone else, but since then there have been all kinds of murmurs that development wasn’t moving along as swiftly as planned.
That six month delay, which came just weeks before the original release date, appears to have paid off – reviews have for most part been positive. The Metacritic currently stands at 82% on PlayStation 4 – based on 40 reviews – while the Xbox One version sits at 77%, based on just five reviews.
Scores so far range from Giant Bomb’s 3/5 – due to a poor story and a few rough edges – to US Gamer’s 5/5, handed out by good old Jaz Rignall.
Now that the cat (dog?) is out of the bag, let’s take a look at what’s being said:
5/5 – US Gamer: “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”
4.5/5 – The Escapist: “Polished to a mirror sheen, and bursting with content, Watch Dogs is a great looking game with a thriving open world and an empowering premise. It suffers from being an amalgamation of every other major Ubisoft game, to the point where it doesn’t feel as fresh as it deserves to, but it’s still a varied, rich, thoroughly dense experience”
90% – Gaming Trend: “It delivers combat, stealth, story, and an incredible amount of side content to bring the whole world to life. I’m amazed at what the team at Ubisoft has delivered here, and I’m glad that they treated the hacker world with more respect and attention to detail than any other game or movie to date”
9/10 – God is a Geek: “After a generation that brought us seven years of countless linear and identikit shooters, Watch Dogs is the open world adrenaline shot that fatigued gamers needed. While the story could have been better and Ubisoft have made a few questionable design choices, it’s rare to see a big budget game that offers players freedom in almost every aspect of its design – and, more importantly, one that is this much fun while doing so”
8.5 – GameInformer: “Ubisoft has another deserved hit on its hands, and I look forward to seeing where the new series goes next”
8.4 – IGN: “Watch Dogs is an excellent open-world action game with some unique hacking-magic that makes it a memorable game”
8/10 – Destructoid: “Despite the fact that Watch Dogs hasn’t made any meaningful impact on the genre, I found myself having a ton of fun with it. Between the deep levels of customization and the sheer breadth of content, there’s no shortage of things to do”
4/5 – Digital Spy: “Despite its pacing issues, Watch Dogs manages to tell a worthwhile story that’s backed up by some novel new ideas in both single and multiplayer”
4/5 – GamesRadar: “The story is unlikely to keep you logged in, and the missions will often feel annoyingly familiar, but if you connect with and really explore this high-tech world, there are plenty of virtual–and emotional–rewards to harvest”
4/5 – Joystiq: “[These] online invasions are arguably the smartest realization of what Watch Dogs is about: the fear of being violated, and the principle of identity protection. Even when it skews toward bigger actions and questionable bouts of busywork, though, Watch Dogs is a more fluid and modern power fantasy than we’re used to”
7/10 – VideoGamer: “You’ll undoubtedly enjoy your time with it, but it won’t linger long in the memory”
7/10 – Metro GameCentral: “A highly enjoyable GTA clone but one that doesn’t quite have the panache of Rockstar’s best or the inspiration to make the most of its otherwise enjoyable gameplay concepts”
7/10 – EGM: “Imaginative, cleverly integrated online play helps to bolster Watch Dogs’ less exciting single-player offering, which fails to capitalize on its ambitious hacking concept in any truly memorable way”
7/10 – Eurogamer: “It certainly entertains, but mostly through borrowed concepts, and the central notion that could have made it stand out – the hacking – is the most undercooked of all. It doesn’t get anything horribly wrong, but nor does it excel at any of the genre beats it so faithfully bangs out”
3/5 – Giant Bomb: “Even though I feel its story is often weak and its action isn’t that different from other games in the genre, I still enjoyed my time with Watch Dogs. It turns out that the old stuff still works, and the strong-but-standard mission design kept me entertained, most of the time. It’s rough around the edges, though, so if you don’t settle for anything less than the best, you’ll probably be disappointed”
We’ll take another look at Watch_Dogs later in the week during our new release round-up.