Watch Dogs, experimentation and potential for a new generation

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We are talking about one of the new IPs created by Ubisoft in this generation, and which, as in its beginnings, will serve to inaugurate a new generation.

During the Ubisoft Forward last Sunday, it was clear that the French publisher is betting very strongly not on Watch Dogs Legion, which obviously is the case, sharing “scenario” with company heavyweights such as Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry, but on the IP as such. However, it is noteworthy that, within the usual conservatism not of Ubisoft, but of the industry in general, it is a license with which you experience so much from one delivery to another, or at least, they are so different from each other . From a first iteration where we could find a more conventional sandbox and linked to what we were used to in the genre, to the next one where there is no single hero, through Watch Dogs 2, we have witnessed a license that has not only undergone changes playable, but what is also curious, in tone, these being very radical.

Troubled start, but successful

The new generation –by the current one- was actually going to start in 2014. After the arrival in 2013 of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which had Killzone Shadow Fall and Ryse: Son of Rome as their maximum technical exponents respectively, it was expected That was the time when the new hardware showed what it was really capable of. Titles like Destiny, Sunset Overdrive or inFamous: Second Son should be the ones that could truly exploit the potential of the consoles we were dealing with, but there was a game above all that had to fulfill that role: Watch Dogs, presented in an overwhelming way at E3 2012.

When it was time for them to arrive, it was evident that Watch Dogs was not what they were aiming for, as can be deduced, especially visually, in this comparative video of Digital Foundry, in which that demo and the final version are brought face to face. PC. “Much has changed, and much has to do with artistic decisions of Ubisoft Montreal,” you can read in the video. “What is clear, however, is that GPU-related features such as reflections or lighting – note how car headlights are no longer reflected in the rain – appear less advanced in the final version,” they continue, also talking about the effect of the wind on certain objects or the number of NPC, something as we know key in this saga. Still, it is stressed that it is virtually impossible to match weather and time of day conditions in the demo, making comparison extremely difficult.

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All in all, the critics knew how to see the positive aspects of Watch Dogs, which, beyond the controversy over downgrade, had them and in good numbers. “This is the game that hard-earned money is worth spending on a next-gen console,” the COGConnected analysis put it bluntly, for example, although deficiencies in mission design were blamed then – at the time, something almost inherent in the genre – and a plot and a protagonist, Aiden Pearce, who did not finish catching. Of course, its virtues were evident, and it is that visually it was a considerable leap compared to what was seen in the sandboxes of PS3 and Xbox 360, which was not poorly provided with content and that that differentiating element that is hacking really managed to differentiate it from other open world games. As a first contact it was good (80 in Metacritic), but as the analysis of Giant Bomb said, “Watch Dogs 2? It’s probably very good, ”and finally, it was.

Watch Dogs 2, squeezed potential

While the original did not create an absolute consensus between critics and players, its sequel was capable. It is not possible to speak strictly of sequel, at least direct, since we changed the setting – from Chicago to San Francisco -, protagonist – this time it was Marcus Holloway – and even tone, with a sense of humor far removed from the tormented Aiden Pearce, although It was located in the same universe, three years after what happened in the first installment. This humor was not only a matter of Marcus, but of his fellow adventurers in DedSec, among which the irreverent Wrench’s snappers stood out. But it would be unfair to stay with that, since behind this light-hearted layer we found a video game not very remarkable, but rather exploiting the peculiarities of the saga –hacking- much better than its predecessor, and what is more or more important, hilarious.

The offices of Nudle in Silicon Valley – parody of the internet giant – Easter eggs referring to Assassin’s Creed … There was a great taste for detail in Watch Dogs 2, to which should be added a variety of situations in the missions and above all, freedom to carry them out in different ways, very to take into account. Ubisoft Montreal risked the change, so much, that they even dared to implement peculiar multiplayer modes fully integrated into the campaign


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