Monday, May 12, 2014

I Still Don't Know What The Hell - Watch_Dogs

I was really, really excited about Watch_Dogs (underscore for life) when it was announced and shown off at E3.  It seemed like this really great, really new and fresh-feeling thing that was going to ratchet up new IPs again and kick some ass.  It also seemed like it was going to look damn pretty while it did it, too.

It's,'s not looking like it's any of these things anymore.  In truth, I just don't know what the hell Watch_Dogs is going to be like anymore.  I'm not exactly convinced the developers do either.

Watch_Dogs doesn't know if it wants to be a badass hacker simulator, a Grand Theft Auto-wannabe with electronic shenannigans, a rudimentary third-person shooter with driving elements, or even if it wants to be a super serious spy romp, or a wacky "Jerks with powerful tools" simulator.  The game gives off the impression that it wants to be all of these things specifically to try and cater and sell to everyone, and that little experiment has been tried and tried again, always with less-than-impressive results.  And yet everyone still tries it anyway.

The above video is where the cracks in my belief -really- started to show.  To that point, Watch_Dogs had seemed to want to go down the humorless (aside from the badass Asian dude rockin' the Kazuma Kiryu look) "I WILL HAVE REVENGE" route, which can be fine if done right.  The tension, the bitterness, the internal anguish and hatred festering in the main character, they're all very gripping and driving with the right writing applied to them.  However, that's a folly to start, since an open-world game is prone to mischief the likes of which that makes grown men giggle - something that inherently destroys that mood, and one of the big problems people had with GTA IV.  (Rather, thematic disconnect all around, not just the revenge plot)

However, adding a side mission where you almost comically pass out only to awaken piloting a giant fuck-off spider-tank (with only six legs) bent on destroying everything in sight?

Nah.  Not feeling it.

At least, not from the mood that Watch_Dogs had fostered before that point.  The Not-So-Spider-Tank is silly and dumb as hell and I love it because of that, but it just doesn't make sense and I'm almost disappointed in it.  I don't want to be disappointed in a giant fuck-off tanks in a somewhat destructible environment with plenty of people and cars to stomp.  That is the direct opposite of what I want!  Yet, this is what Ubisoft has reduced me to and I'm not too happy about it.

The other main bone of contention (Literally the only other thing, really, since the "lack of coherent direction" is fairly all-encompassing) revolves around the fact that the graphics and presentation has slid around quite a lot in the time from the initial reveal (Which everyone knew was bullshit anyway) to now which has seen some -dastardly- looking screenshots and gifs (that is a comparison, btw) in the meanwhile, all of which indicating that the game is going to look...well, not -bad- (except that screenshot), but not Next Gen, which at least Assassin's Creed 4 managed to do, and quite capably.  Part of that has to do with splitting to last-gen as well, which is ultimately the wrong way about it, but part of the blame has to fall on the clear mismanagement that the game has seen in the time it's been developed.

So what do I even want from Watch_Dogs anymore?  I don't....don't really know.  I'll have to do what I do best in these situations: assemble a list.
  • Game has to look at least -pretty- good.  (It's looking like it will, even though it was thought to be 1080p/60 FPS on PS4 and apparently is not)
  • If this is another Third-Person Cover Shooter, I'm going to be pissed.  Thus, I don't want gunplay to be a -major- portion of the game.  It's going to be moreso than, say, Sleeping Dogs' gunplay, but I don't want GTA-levels.
  • The Spider-Tank?  I don't even know....I guess I hope the other "Cyber Trips" aren't as silly and inconsistent?  Or maybe I want them to be moreso.
  • I want Jordi Chin to be a major part of the story.  I do not want to go five missions without seeing that dude because he is awesome.
  • A little depth to Aiden would be nice.  "REVENGE" is good and all, but....yeah.
  • Cars don't control like ass.
  • -Locked- Framerate.  It'll probably be 30 FPS, and if it dips below 30, that is downright embarrassing.
  • I want the Electronics/Hacking stuff to be -useful- and -integral-, not a neat thing you can use -or- completely ignore in favor of BOOLETTS
Are we going to get any of those?  I don't know.  I have absolutely no clue.  I just know that I want them and if they're not present, I'm just....really going to be disappointed with the game.  Don't do this to me, Ubisoft.

I feel like asking this game to not just be a cover-based shooter at this point is moot, but goddamnit, I can hope

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