Waiting for GTAV Release Day on PC? Buy Watch_Dogs

If you've been gnashing your teeth and signing petitions waiting for GTA 5 launch day on PC, Watch Dogs might just soothe your pain. Batman fans might also find a lot to love in Ubi's newest title.
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Seriously – Watch_Dogs can be your hero, baby. 

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While playing Watch_Dogs this weekend, the most common remark from watchers and players was that the game was ‘a lot like GTAV.’ Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a clone or a ripoff; it’s got a whole different vibe resulting from a main character whose motives are more ‘Batman’ than ‘bad guy’ and more tech/hacker mechanics. But it is a solid entry into the free roam crime sandbox genre that is most often defined by the Grand Theft Auto series, so there will inevitably be some comparison.

[Related] Full Game Review: Watch_Dogs

Not Every GTAV fan is going to like Watch_Dogs

… But most will. That said, if you were really into the gritty crime side of GTA, you’re going to find the storyline and side missions of Watch_Dogs  a bit tame. In Watch_Dogs, Aiden Pearce does more saving than perpetrating. On the other hand, if you like blowing things up, stealing things, running over pedestrians and wantonly firing RPGs, this game has plenty to offer you.

Ultimately, if you are looking for games like GTA, then Watch Dogs will scratch that itch. And for those players waiting for GTAV on PC, Watch_Dogs offers the ability to do all the sweet, sweet car thieving your heart desires on your computer right now. 

… And Some People Who Hated GTAV Will Love Watch_Dogs

If you like the game mechanics of GTAV but are turned off by the rougher edges of  the plot and its cast of characters, Watch_Dogs provides you a more humane lead character. Don’t expect a PG version of GTA though – there is still violence, shooting, strong language and other themes that some people may be uncomfortable with (we definitely don’t consider Watch_Dogs a kids game), but it’s not quite at the same unrelenting level as in the Grand Theft Auto games.

Gameplay Options Give Watch_Dogs Added Depth

Much as in other open world games, Watch_Dogs lets you decide how good or evil you want to be. A reputation meter lets you know where you stand each time you take an action that impacts how the citizens of Chicago view your character, and can range from Neutral (Citizen) to Positive (Protector) to Bad (honestly I don’t know this one because I don’t run over enough pedestrians).

When your reputation is strongly positive, you’ll hear radio stories about the support citizens feel for ‘the Vigilante’ and they may not report you to the police for things like, say, stealing their cars. When your reputation is bad, I hear they’ll call the cops on you just for walking around. 

So basically, you can choose to play Watch_Dogs like some sort of awesome vigilante hacker out for justice and go all Batman on Chicago, or you can run over everyone who gets in your way, let the criminals win, and turn it into more of a GTA thing.

The game rewards players who go more Batman with experience and skill points for thwarting crimes. In fact, to get the best EXP outcome from a crime interaction, you’ll need to:

  • Wait for the crime to start: Showing yourself to early will keep it from happening at all, which is fine but doesn’t result in the most points.
  • Stop the criminal before they injure the victim: you can intervene after a victim is injured or dead, but you’ll get fewer points (slightly less for injured, a lot less for dead).
  • Catch the criminal alive: You can kill them, but you’ll get fewer points. Use your B takedown when you’re near enough to beat them without killing them.

Players can take the ‘save or plunder’ mechanic a step further. In fact, the very heart of this big brother plotline means that you might learn some uncomfortable things about yourself while playing it (more on that in another article later today).

Long Story Short: Watch_Dogs is a Solid, Enjoyable Open World Game

If you enjoy GTA, Batman, and other games with action, stealth, and crime elements set in a modern world, you and Ubisoft’s latest title will get along just fine.

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Amy White
Former Editor in Chief at GameSkinny. I am the Gray Fox. Questions, comments, feedback? Bring it. Amy.White (at) GameSkinny.com