After a 6 month delay, Ubisoft’s open-world adventure Watch Dogs has finally hit the Wii U. Is Watch Dogs the Grand Theft Auto-esque experience that Wii U owners have been looking for? Or, does the game fall flat on its face and fail to deliver on its promises. Well, it kind of depends. Lets break it down in our Watch Dogs Wii U review.
Set in a fictional version of Chicago, Watch Dogs tells the story of Aiden Pearce, a hacker who uses his phone to control things. After a botched bank heist, his niece is killed in retaliation and now, Aiden swears vengeance on the people behind the killing. The story is somewhat interesting, and has traditional twists and turns, but nothing too ground breaking.
Graphically speaking, Watch Dogs is a very solid port. The game resembles the PS4 version more-so than the PS3 and 360 version, which shows that some time and care went into the game. For some reason, the game tends to look better during the night scenes than the day scenes though. The lighting is good, and the weather effects are fantastic. The city of Chicago is a bit barren at times, and some low resolution textures are apparent, but for the most part the game looks pretty good. The city has the usual sounds of hustle and bustle, but I didn’t like the fact that there was a limited amount of music tracks and no radio stations to choose from.
The core of Watch Dogs gameplay is a strong emphasis on hacking with your cell phone. You can control stop lights, bridges, hack other peoples cell phones for intel or take money from their bank account, along with a slew of other things. My favorite thing was how the game has a profile for every NPC (Non-playable character) in the world that features a name, a weird fact about them, and an occupation. For the most part, it works well, albeit a bit shallow. A simple hold of the “Y” button will do most of the hacking for you, and I felt it was a bit of a missed opportunity to make something more complex.
Aiden controls well and the gun-play is sufficient as well. You can equip upgrades through a skill tree to give him more equipment, more hacks, and more abilities which helps keeps things fresh throughout the game. One major problem in the game is the driving though. It feels a bit floaty, and you never really feel you have precision with the vehicles. It deters from the experience.
Aside from the lengthy main game, there are tons of side missions, some more fun than others, and some online modes with full voice chat. My favorite online mode has you following another player while trying to remain undetected, which adds a great stealth feel to the game. Everything is done decently enough besides the driving, but the game never manages to feel like it has much substance to it. You find yourself going through the motions and doing the same sort of hacks, and a lot of times simple things such as side missions are just a chore and take way too long to do. Overall the gameplay is there, it’s decent, but uninspired.
The GamePad has an interactive map on it, but it’s nothing really special. The other Wii U specific feature is Off-TV play, which is nice, but not worth a 6 month delay. If you are a Wii U only owner, Watch Dogs is a decent buy if you want a GTA-like experience, but I’d wait for a used copy or a price drop. Although the driving hinders the game, good graphics and a decent amount of content make this a good, but uninspired game.