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Watchdogs Review: The game hits the sweet spot

Watchdogs Review

Watchdog is one of year’s most-hyped games we go through this epic technology fable for our times. We hack our way through Watch Dogs. Hackers sure seem like a mystical bunch of people, in the deepest, darkest corners of the internet. It’s a world that’s a mystery to most, until now. The brilliance of Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs with next-gen hope and hype piled high upon it – is that it simplifies the hacking experience for everyone to enjoy. Watch Dogs dispenses with the multiple Matrix-style screens of computer code, providing an open world teeming with easily accessible hacking options available to anyone armed with a smartphone.

It’s set in the beautifully rendered city of Chicago, where hacking is as simple as pushing a button. That’s thanks to a city-wide electronic grid called CtOS, which Watch Dogs’ protagonist Aiden Pearce has easy access to. The main protagonist Aiden Pearce, a gruff, trench coat-wearing vigilante on a hellish techno-sprawl of a revenge mission, sneaks into CtOS systems to manipulate the world around him.

A word on the Multiplayer

Well it is worth noting that the fate of Watch Dogs will depend on its online components, which have been mashed very cleverly into its story modes. Gamers have the option of hacking into others’ campaigns at will and wreaking mayhem – since we have reviewed it before release until Watch Dogs’ world is more heavily populated with users, it’s hard to tell whether that will be an addictive addition to the whole bundle.


Watch Dogs proves hacking really is loads of fun. Security camera footage can be watched at will, and home computer cameras hacked at random to make the traffic fuzzy and create a mess in the bustling city of Chicago.  Despite several twists and turns, its campaign feels too a bit dull to really connect. The games optional side missions and mini games are fun to start with but tend to get repetitive and boring as you move on with it. It’s an unfortunate a lot of discussion surrounding Watch Dogs is currently around on its graphics considering the fact it was the first next gen game ever to be announced.

“Despite some issues Watchdogs is a great start to the new Franchise and one of the best competitors for the Grand Theft Auto.”

The hacking mechanic is used in three primary ways. Open combat, car chases, and puzzles. The last item will remind many of Assassin’s Creed’s climbing challenges that were as simple as working your way up an eagle eye JIn order to use a piece of machinery Aiden needs to be within line-of-sight and at a certain range. But he can also take control of any CCTV camera and set things off remotely from there. In fact the game has lots of puzzle-orientated missions and sub quests where you’re trying to work out the right chain of CCTVs to get you a look at a control system.

I for one really like the coin game where you can create new games as well as join the already created ones. Some of these puzzles give the game a nice variety in pacing even when you’re just trying to burn through all the campaign missions. The designers also mix things up with instances where you’re guiding allies past oblivious guards simply by looking through the cameras.

It’s a neat trick and complemented by the ability to set off traps when driving around.

Performance on PC with NVIDIA GPU’s

While we played a major portion of watchdogs on PS4, we think the graphics are passable but nothing great it is the gameplay where it scores. We also reviewed the Watchdogs on our Gaming Rig and we were quite impressed with the graphics on the platform.

Watch_Dogs is powered by NVIDIA technologies including NVIDIA ShadowWorks™ (HBAO+), NVIDIA TXAA™ that allow it to deliver striking graphics and an exhilarating gaming experience. Watch_Dogs takes advantage of some of the best graphics technologies and architectural features available in GeForce GTX 700-series graphics cards.


NVIDIA HBAO+ is a higher quality and much faster implementation than previous technologies giving the gamer the best image quality possible. Below we compare screenshots of HBAO+ versus traditional HBAO in a technology demo. HBAO+ is rendered in approximately 30% of the time it takes to render traditional HBAO!

NVIDIA HBAO+ Comparisons

With HBAO+ you can see the increased quality and realism of the shadowing effect on the stairway.

With HBAO+ you can see the increased quality and realism of the shadowing effect on the stairway.

Comparing all of the available Ambient Occlusion modes, you can see that HBAO+ provides the highest quality AO.

Comparing all of the available Ambient Occlusion modes, you can see that HBAO+ provides the highest quality AO.



TXAA is a new film-style anti-aliasing technique designed specifically to reduce temporal aliasing (crawling and flickering in motion). TXAA has improved spatial filtering for example on fences or foliage. TXAA is also capable of intelligently managing per-pixel effects (e.g. lighting, atmospheric rendering) without introducing lighting artifacts on object edges. In motion scenes, TXAA starts to approach and sometimes exceeds the quality of other high end, professional AA algorithms. The higher quality filtering used by TXAA results in a softer image compared to the lower quality filtering of traditional MSAA.

NVIDIA TXAA provides a smooth film-style AA effect that reduces flickering and shimmering in movement.

NVIDIA TXAA provides a smooth film-style AA effect that reduces flickering and shimmering in movement.

Our Verdict

Watch Dogs finds an identity as hybrid open-world stealth-action game. As an open world game, Watch Dogs provides an ample amount of side-quests, and space— to qualify, but there is ample scope for improvement. Other games have nailed a better balance in optional activities and large-scale ambiance, including other games from Ubisoft itself.

Pros: Key gameplay mechanics are solid, including the shooting, driving and stealth. Smartphone abilities work well and enable some fairly open-ended missions. A huge array of side quests c

Cons: The story and characters could have been much better. Graphics will also depend on the platform on which you play, many gamers can be disappointed with the graphics on consoles yes even PS4 for that matter but they can be really pumped up on the PC with some added muscle with a GPU.
Watch_Dogs is now available across India on PC,PS3, PS4 and XBOX360 through e-xpress Interactive Software Pvt. Ltd. You can also buy the game on major ecommerce portals like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal etc.

Note of Thanks
We thank the folks at E-Xpress for sharing with us a copy of Watchdogs for PS4, we also thank our friends at NVIDIA for sharing the PC port of Watchdogs.

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Geek....Gamer....Curious :) Started his affair with gaming with Super Mario on an 8 Bit console and has been hooked on to gaming ever since. With a commitment to promote gaming as a positive sport and lifestyle in India he started of Gaming Central in 2013 which has since grown as India's most popular social gaming community. Shrey is also a digital marketeer and runs his own agency GC Interactive based in New Delhi which helps brands from strategy to execution, fueling the growth of some of the hottest consumer brands on digital.

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