Talking Point: Did Watch Dogs Meet Your Expectations?
Posted by Dave Letcavage
Our staff weighs in on the matter
Let's be honest, any of us that were exposed to the debut footage of Watch_Dogs from E3 2012 were expecting really big things. Not big things like Call of Duty's ability to crank up the spectacle another notch with each new release; instead we were anticipating something more of a game-changer, something similar to a Shenmue-like open-world shakeup. That's why, when Watch_Dogs hit store shelves last week, many critics and consumers holding lofty expectations were a bit letdown with the final product. While the game does many, many things very well, the consensus seems to be that it's not quite the revolutionary experience it was so aggressively touted as being.
Even so, the Xbox One version of Watch_Dogs currently holds a score of 79 over at Metacritic, which suggests that even if reviewers didn't have their socks knocked off by Ubisoft's latest release, they found it enjoyable enough to award commendable scores. But that's not to say that there aren't plenty of people who feel the hype was met in full. In fact, in the time since the game released a little over a week ago, we've noticed a vast number of tweets, status updates, and comments plastered throughout the internet, expressing nothing but praise for the new franchise.
What we really want to know is what YOU thought of Watch_Dogs. Have your expectations been met, or do you feel you were promised something grander and more innovative than what the final product delivered? Be sure to take part in our poll located below and share your personal experiences in the comments that follow.
But before you do that, here's what our staff has to say...
Dave Letcavage (@DRL)
I wouldn't say that Watch_Dogs lived up to my expectations, but I'm nothing other than happy with my purchase. It's a well-made open-world sandbox with more than enough activities and merits to keep the slightly under-achieving hacking element from degrading my experience. And maybe that's harsh to say, because the hacking is satisfying and adds an extra layer of strategy and freedom to the formula. Most importantly, it does feel almost perfectly implemented. Expecting something truly different is the game's greatest enemy, because, in the end, what it feels like is an amalgamation of familiar third-person triple-A franchises, with hacking worked into the mix. I suspect Ubisoft started with grand ambitions and iterated backwards until everything functioned as smoothly as possible. Expectations met or not, I'm having a gripping time with Watch_Dogs and I'm eager to see where the series goes from here.
Anthony Bacchus (@Anthinator)
Can a game ever truly live up to the hype? Realistically, everyone has their own "hype-meter" when it comes to video games. Watch_Dogs absolutely stunned me when I first saw it at E3 in 2012 and my excitement for it exceeded nearly everything else. Now, like a dog (see what I did there?) waiting for its master to come home, the game is finally here. So does it meet the expectations I had for it two years ago? In a word, no. But it's still an amazing game in its own right and an incredible debut for what is surely to become another breakthrough franchise for Ubisoft. It doesn't stray too far from the sandbox style formula, but there's enough "new" here to keep me hooked. I'm actually enjoying the story and characters more than I thought and the pacing feels right on the money. There's so much fun stuff to see and do, almost to the point of complete distraction. The mark of a good open-world game is when it remains equally engaging in its side activities as it does in the core missions. I'll have a lot more to say about Watch_Dogs in my upcoming review, so make sure you check it out.
Wayne Davies (@WayneDavies89)
It's fair to say that Watch_Dogs dropped a few jaws at E3 2012, but since then it has endured a good deal of concerns, controversy and comments. While my expectations were through the roof when I first saw it, were they met when the game finally launched? Not completely, but it is still a great experience, nonetheless. Watch_Dogs may not be the "shinny next-gen experience" we all originally saw and hoped to get, but its heart and compelling core gameplay remained intact. Yeah, it's a bit of a let down, but as long as the game runs, the gameplay is there, and it's still fun to play, who cares about the graphics? I can still do everything I was told I could do in the open city of Chicago and that's more important to me than how realistically a trench coat can blow in the wind. Watch_Dogs is an amazing title that I can see myself playing for a long while and I hope it will live on to be a popular franchise.
Eric Santana (@EricDS)
The Watch_Dogs hype train has been in effect for the better part of 2 years. I, like everyone else I know, was pretty excited after seeing the trailer from E3 2012. The final product may not be the revolutionary game that Ubisoft was promising at that presentation, but it has met my personal expectations. Watch_Dogs is a great open-world adventure. The hacking, mission design, and customization is all really fun. I've really been enjoying the character development, and my only serious complaint is that the driving is sometimes not as responsive as I've grown accustomed to in other games. I also think releasing on almost all platforms hurt the quality a bit. I'm not sure any game can ever live up to all its hype in this day and age, but Watch_Dogs' attempt is a very good one.
Anthony Cadogan (@Ubiquitous_Doom)
Now that I've had a decent amount of time with Watch_Dogs on my Xbox One, I can say that it has almost definitely lived up to my expectations — minus a few things shown or hinted at in the 2012 reveal. It has the great ability to make you go from side mission to side mission and lose track of time. I really love the 1-vs-1 online hacking moments, as well. They get so intense and have led to some truly heart-racing moments. Sadly, through a combination of only one standard multiplayer mode (Decryption) and Ubisoft's notorious server issues, I don't think Watch_Dogs multiplayer will have much longevity. That will be a shame. To summarize, I love it overall and can't wait for more!
Emma H. Pira (@PeTitosaurus)
I dove into Watch_Dogs head first with little to no expectations of what to find. For some reason I got off the hype bandwagon pretty early and it just faded into the background. However I promised myself I would play it, which I did, and after having spent hours plowing through the game, I realized I've accomplished nothing! And that's a problem for me — I immediately became overwhelmed with all the different aspects of the game, being introduced so early on, that I had a hard time focusing on and getting into the main story. It gets chopped up, tossed around and I don't feel too invested in it. I wish felt disappointed, but I don't really feel anything. There's nothing pulling me back right now, so the game will be added to my "rainy day list" and it won't be something I'll rush to finish.
Did Watch Dogs live up to your expectations? (8 votes)
Yes, I've been impressed at almost every turn.
It didn't quite meet my expectations, but it's still a great game.
No, I'm disappointed with the final product.
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