10 harsh realities of playing Watchdogs all over again

10 harsh realities of playing Watchdogs all over again

While Ubisoft has been posting tons of news about the upcoming titles for Assassin’s Creed franchise in recent months there has been radio silence about the future of Watchdogs for a while now, which is disappointing for fans of the series. While it’s far too early to assume anything, it’s likely that future titles won’t be around for a while yet.

For those nostalgic for the series, there’s no better time to start playing the games, included Watchdogs the title that started it all. Nostalgia can only do so much, though, which means a replay inevitably shines a light on some of the game’s flaws and elements that didn’t age well. These are some of the disadvantages of replaying the game now.


Watch Dogs peaks too soon

The Watch Dogs opening title with sparkling graphics

The greatest video game slots balance giving the player a taste of the gameplay that will define the upcoming experience with giving them a spectacle they won’t forget in a hurry. Watchdogs does just that, throwing the player into the shoes of Aiden Pearce as he’s tasked with trying to escape a stadium swarming with police.

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The following sequence shows how hacking can be used to complete missions in the game and culminates in a massive blackout that shows how powerful technology is in the game’s hyper-connected world. Of course, it’s not long after that the player is forced to confront the fact that the game simply doesn’t maintain that quality throughout.

Aiden isn’t the most fun protagonist to play as

Watch Dogs - Aiden Pearce drives

While anyone acting like Aiden Pearce was the worst video game protagonist of all time Watchdogs was first released in 2014 and was probably guilty of blindly jumping on the bandwagon, and replaying the game now clearly establishes just how dry he is. After the two sequels gave players some variety, there is now a more noticeable drawback.

While there’s technically nothing wrong with very serious characters who rarely lose their cool, eventually having to play as Aiden for the entire experience can start to wear off. Aiden’s story is undoubtedly compelling, but the character himself may not be the mysterious badass he’s often remembered as.

Watch Dogs suffers from a generic Ubisoft Open World

An image of fictionalized Chicago in Watch Dogs 1

Above Watchdogs, Assassin’s Creedand Far Cry franchise, Ubisoft has produced a ton of massive and detailed open worlds, and that’s incredible in its own right, but it’s also led to accusations of a stale, formulaic approach. The first Watchdogs Unfortunately, the game is no exception, with the problems with the fictionalized city of Chicago quickly becoming apparent during play.

While there’s plenty to explore and the map never lacks objective markers, it doesn’t take long for it to start to feel repetitive, people become predictable, hacking feels limited, and things generally feel lifeless. It may not have seemed so bad in 2014, but it is now considered one of the worst of Ubisoft’s large open worlds.

Watch Dogs’ graphics have aged considerably

Watch-Dogs-2-Research-Points (1)

A massive source of controversy when Watchdogs was first released were the game’s graphics. After some absolutely amazing E3 footage, expectations went through the roof, Watchdogs Being a pretty good game came as a huge disappointment to some avid gamers.

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Of course, a pretty game is still a pretty game, and many came to appreciate it Watchdogs‘ visual qualities after some time had passed. Unfortunately after Watchdogs 2 and Watch Dogs: Legionthe first game’s graphics have gone all the way around to being disappointing again in less than a decade, one of the downsides of playing it again years later.

Driving in guard dogs still sucks

A driving section in Watch Dogs 1

Smaller problems often end up being exaggerated afterwards, but unfortunately that is not the case with the driving mechanics Watchdogs. Even games like Cyberpunk 2077which was also criticized as an open-ended game that ran erratically, arguably made it less fun than Watchdogs.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the developers got wrong with driving, but the handling and speed of moving vehicles just doesn’t feel intuitive or satisfying at all. Although some argued Watchdogs simply suffered from unfavorable comparisons with GTA 5 in this area, time shows that there really is an underlying problem.

Watch Dogs’ characters are pretty boring

Aiden Pearce holds a gun and a phone in a poster for Watch Dogs 1

While the large amount of generic and uninteresting characters that can be recruited or even played as in Watch Dogs: Legion might have done something nostalgic for Watchdogssomething that quickly becomes clear when you play again is that there is not a particular strength of the first title in the series either.

Like Aiden himself, the characters are mostly dry and serious about what they do. There are some exceptions that keep things fresh, for example Watch Dogs: Bad Blood protagonist Raymond Kenney, but even he is underutilized. Dark and morally ambiguous video game characters can be wonderful, but there’s such a thing as too much.

Watch Dogs’ release controversy was exaggerated

Aiden gets some air on a motorcycle in Watch Dogs 1

It is a harsh reality that is revealed by replaying Watchdogs long after it was released it only applies to one very specific group, but it’s quite a large group. The reality is that Watchdogs didn’t really deserve all the heat it got in 2014 for what weren’t the biggest problems in the world.

A big part of Watchdogs‘ original players dismissed the game after encountering technical issues and bugs, as well as seeing that the graphics did not live up to the marketing. But playing it again now makes it clear that it really is a very solid game overall. After some of the messy releases the games received in 2022 alone, Watchdogs may not deserve all the hate, but it can be hard to admit.

The writing in Watch Dogs is not good

Aiden questions a thug in Watch Dogs 1

While the story is in Watchdogs was simple and effective, the writing and especially the dialogue in the game left a lot to be desired. While that was the case in 2014, it has become much more apparent in 2022 when titles like God of War: Ragnarök help make the case for video games as a serious art form.

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That is why, in spite of that Watchdogs‘ Dialogue has never seemed particularly violent before, it can be difficult to sit through some of the stale and even awkward cutscenes now. It’s especially unfortunate because some of the voice actors seem to give it their all, but are let down by the characters and the writing.

Watch the dogs’ missions become repetitive

Aiden hacks during a mission in Watch Dogs

One issue that may have gone somewhat unnoticed in 2014 when formula missions seemed only par for the course for an expansive open world title is that the missions in Watchdogs gets a bit repetitive. In another game it might not have been such a problem, but Watchdogs is most remembered for the freedom offered by the hacking mechanics.

Finding that there isn’t actually that much freedom in how to complete the missions, including the main storylines, is a little disappointing. Compounding this problem is that hacking doesn’t really seem to present as many alternative options as originally suggested, usually reduced to an explosive option or a door opener.

Watch Dogs has the best story in the series

A battle screenshot from Watch Dogs 2 with Aiden using the retractable baton

Perhaps the hardest thing to accept about replay Watchdogs is the realization that the series didn’t really improve that much from the first title. There has been a lot of progress game-wise Watch Dogs: Legion and especially Watchdogs 2 worth playing, but there is one area there Watchdogs without a doubt both have the beat.

While the follow-up titles rely on heavy overcomplicated stories, Watchdogs has a simple revenge narrative that is incredibly easy to follow and relate to. It may be a small thing, but along with a stronger sense of atmosphere, it’s a thing that will make replays Watchdogs 2 and Watch Dogs: Legion much more difficult in the future.

NEXT: 10 harsh realities of playing the Witcher 3 again

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