I came to this game “late,” meaning I didn’t get it when it first came out (whenever that was) and Watch Dogs 2 is already out there. If you remember my last post about gaming, man, this game was making me nuts because I was learning what it was I had to do and driving the various vehicles. Well, I finally figured out how to play the game and I’m on the last thing to do in story mode: Find the guy I was partnered with in the beginning of the story and end him since he’s the reason why Aidan (our hero and sometimes villain) got into this mess in the first place.
I’m still wrecking vehicles as if I’ve never used an Xbox controller before, though…
There’s a sense of familiarity with the game now; as I roamed the city; instead of me asking myself, “Where the hell am I?” and other such question as I did so often early into the game, it feels like I’ve been playing this game for years instead of about a week or so. As I was hurtling from one part of the city to another to do another task, I really noticed the quality of the graphics in the game and they’re beautiful and quite realistic, right down to the sound tires make when going across a drawbridge. There are day cycles, night cycles and it even rains and the game’s physics engine is so good that while driving in the rain, I pressed the accelerator too hard… and spun out as if I’d hydroplaned. I just wish that the people who created the game had provided an option to adjust the controller sensitivity; there are times in the game when I’ll react to something quickly – but Aidan doesn’t; sometimes it’s just annoying, sometimes it’s gotten me killed. Still, my son-in-law (a fellow gamer) did warn me that the controls were hard to get used to when he said that I should check out this game.
This game, more than any other game I’ve played, reminds me of an older game called “Crackdown,” which took the gaming world by storm (and won all kinds of awards including the coveted Game of the Year award) with it’s amazing graphics and open world/sandbox platform which gave you a whole city to play in while being able to interact with the actual gaming environment in a way that hadn’t been done before, like being able to pick up a car or even one of the many non-playable characters (NPCs) and throw them. Those of us who loved Crackdown are waiting with bated breath for Crackdown 3, which promises to turn sandbox-type games on their heads.
Watch Dogs, at least for me, has this same kind of feel as I roam this version of Chicago and interacting with the environment, from hacking people’s cell phones to being able to jam communications, cause area-wide blackouts and, one of my favorite “hacks” in the game, blow up guards by detonating any grenades they’re carrying. This game has puzzles in the form of hacking computer system; some are easy, some are rather complicated and then made even more so by only giving you a few seconds to complete connections before the “intrusion” is detected and now you gotta start over again.
As when I play Borderlands, there are some moments when you’d better not even think about charging in the front door with your gun blazing; stealth and some kinda serious thinking are called for; it took me almost an hour to penetrate one facility simply because the direct approach kept getting me killed whenever I tried it from different approaches. One hack, called a ctOS Scan, lets you see where all of the bad guys are in a target area; some patrol in fixed areas, some roam around a bit unpredictably and, as you might expect, as usually between you and the target you need to get to and hack… and then you have to escape.
I like the weaponry in the game, from IEDs to fragmentation grenades along with a slew of pistols, assault and sniper rifles. So far, my favorite weapon is the Spec Ops silenced 1911 .45 pistol; when you’re skulking around a place and the cameras (which you can hack) aren’t providing enough views of the target, stealth is called for and since, um, I’ve come to love shooting bad guys, ah, man, there’s no better thrill than having one of those pesky guards approach where I’m hiding and I get to put a silenced round into his unsuspecting head… then cap the guy who finds his body in the same fashion. I like the sniper rifles – I learned to really like them playing Borderlands – but aiming them can be… suspect to the point where they’re not as reliable as I’d like. Then again, if the game designers made it too easy, the game wouldn’t be all that challenging, would it?
One task I had was to intercept a convoy of bad guys and take down two suspects… and the best weapon for this was the semi-automatic grenade launcher. Admittedly, it took me a few times to complete this mission and for a couple of reasons; one, it was hard for me to tell the bad guys from the innocent civilians running around my kill zone and the bad guy I didn’t see would off me. The other thing was it just took too long for me to switch from my grenade launcher to an assault rifle or maybe an SMG, although the game says there’s a quick switch toggle but, so far, I’ve not been able to get it to work. But, yeah, that grenade launcher is sweet because as much as I like shooting bad guys, I also love blowing up shit!
Even though I’ve gotten used to the game, um, I still find myself doing dumb shit like, uh, hmm, blowing myself up with my own IEDs/frag grenades. Or like the few times I was standing at the edge of a building and accidentally hit the “climb down” button, jumped off the building and died. Or, as I did last night, turn a corner the wrong way and wind up getting wedged into a space I can’t get out of while the bad guy I was chasing got away. I’m sure Linda gets a kick out of listening to me rant and rave at my own stupidity as I play the game as I either cuss something out or call myself an idiot or a dumb ass for making mistakes that, at this point in my ability to play the game, I shouldn’t be making. But, sometimes, yeah, it’s my own fault; I got caught up in the moment of taking out five or six very bad guys and had totally forgotten about the half dozen Proximity IEDs I had sowed in the area and, um, especially the one I walked right past which, yup, exploded and took me out. Even the cat looked at me funny as I kicked my own ass for such a stupid oversight.
The last mission is proving to be the bitch to end all bitches; I’ve attempted it five times now and, so far, nothing I’ve done has proven successful and the fact that the game designers gave the “Chicago PD” a swarm mentality, sheesh, well, it’s hard to get shit done when every damned cop in the city – along with a helicopter I can’t shoot down – is swarming all over me at almost every turn. I need a plan… and I haven’t come up with one yet so I’ve been running around the city doing the side jobs, like tracking down burner cell phones, ammo dumps, and even preventing street crime to improve my reputation with the civilian population so that when they see me, they won’t drop a dime on me to those pain in the ass cops. One really laughable moment came when the cops finally ID’d me and put a warrant out for my arrest; apparently video game cops aren’t fans of vigilantism as their real counterparts are. I’m listening to the news talking about the warrant when a NPC standing in front of me pulls out her cell phone, says, “It’s him! It’s The Vigilante!” waves at me, and takes my picture. This is what I love about open world/sandbox type games – you just never know what the NPCs will do, like the one who was entertaining two ladies and beat-boxing for them, or the one guy hanging with his homies and spitting rhymes and, yeah, even four guys hanging on a corner and crooning in perfect harmony.
I’ve actually stopped what I was doing to just watch the NPCs and the shit they do. I also get a kick out of how they do “normal” stuff, like get into car accidents (and without my help); some have road rage and if you bump into one, don’t be surprised if they cuss you out and threaten to whup your ass.
I really like this game and so much that I’ve started it over on my second Xbox One profile, the thought here is that, hopefully, I’ve learned from my mistakes made the first time so the second time should be better… and that’s not proving to be the case. Oh, sure, I know what I have to do now but that doesn’t make it easier to do but, at least for this “do over” I already have the silenced .45 and, ya mon, it’s a game changer…