Monday, June 16, 2014

Watch Dogs (PS4)

I recently finished the main story.  Here are some impressions:

Near the beginning of act 2 on ps4:
- Ludonarrative Dissonance is about the worst in this game. I can't tell if I'm suppose to be sympathetic to this ass hole I'm playing.
Spoiler: act 1 spoilers

- So far the story and a lot of the campaign missions designed around the plot seem completely phoned in. Nothing so far has come close to GTA V. The main character is getting into 24 levels of what stupid characters will do. I expect a cougar attack before the end of the game.
- The single slot auto save system totally sucks. Why can't I save when I want? Why can't I have multiple save slots which would have made the current save game bug not as bad as it is now. One of the things I like to do in open world games is occasionally take a break from playing the game "the right way" and just go all nuts and test some of the limits of the open world. I like to just create as much mayhem as possible and see the different ways on how that plays out. Then, I would restore a previous save game and pick back up where I left off. Here, I have no idea when it's going to save and I guess the only way I could do this is backup the save to usb or cloud and then restore after a mess around and experiment. That sounds like way too much trouble.
- The reputation system is retarded. So I usually try and play the good guy in these types of games. So I'm slowly building up my meter to the right. Then, during a escape in a campaign mission I accidentally run over 2 civilians. There goes all of my rep that I had so far. It's like being the terminator and being told not to kill anybody. It feels so limiting and restrictive. I'm about to go all bad and say screw it and kill anybody that gets in my way. I'm just not sure of the consequences, and if it will make finishing the game that much harder.
- The combat, car stuff (after you upgrade some hacks, steam ftw) feel ok. The game started pretty slow IMO with too much stealth stuff.
- I kind of like the hacking mini game.
- The hacking/climbing puzzles for the towers are kind of interesting with an urban far cry 3 feel.
- I've pretty much stuck to campaign missions and have only done a couple of side missions.
- I hate the title screen. Wooo next gen game with macro blocking done on purpose!!!! Ugggg. Just a personal aesthetics thing.

I don't know. Maybe I just need to give it more time but so far GTA V and second son seem both to be MUCH better games. GTA V would be incredible with a next gen engine. Second son while a little less ambitious and a more narrow but well focused scope was just so much fun and overall a really well designed and put together game. So far watch dogs feels way over hyped and the developers being maybe too close to the project and not being able to step back and see all the issues and design decisions objectively.

My favorite way to approach a restricted area is to use the cameras and disable all the guards with reinforcement abilities while blowing up a few for good measure. After that I just go in guns blazing to mop up.

I also just unlocked the auto blue targeting for hacking money. The range is pretty darn good on the thing. Your income will shoot way up. I seem to be spending most of my skill points in hacking. It does make the game more interesting and unique.

Buy the cheap grenade launcher ASAP. It's so handy. Also, make sure you max out your ammo before missions. Ammo is dirt cheap. Does carry more explosives skill increase max grenade launcher ammo or does it only affect frag grenades? Are there any silenced sniper rifles in the game?

I'm about 1/3 through act 2 and unlocked a bunch of towers. This game is growing on me. There were some neat physics based puzzles. The missions are also getting better at least from a gameplay perspective. The story and characters are still very meh. This game has some very satisfying explosions.

What is with all these forced stealth instant fail missions? I guess I'm getting toward the end of act 2 but man these missions are annoying and just make me want to murder everyone. Yup, still about as much fun as it was 14 years ago in NOLF 2. At least the guard chit chat was about 1000X better in that game.

Well, I finished the story and boy was that some of the worst writing and plot I've seen in a game in a long time. It's just so disappointing that so much effort went into the technology, the world building, and all these side activities yet the main narrative and some of the missions designed around it are just so weak, sloppy, lazy, and phoned in.

- I hate all the instant failure forced stealth missions in all it's varieties: sneak to somewhere unnoticed, lead somebody to a waypoint, and tail somebody.
- Gang hideouts. Seriously, why can't I just murder everybody?
- Missions with unavoidable cop escapes which aren't too bad except if you kill a cop it drops your rep meter.
- AI is pretty dumb so it makes the combat pretty easy but still satisfying.
- I eventually got sick of the hacking mini game but overall it wasn't too bad.

Spoiler: other unfun things. warning plot spoilers

It's a beautiful open world filled with restrictions and contradictions in design that punish experimentation and creative solutions. For every combat heavy mission that makes me smile there is a stealth or some other frustrating mission that pisses me off. I've still got a lot of side and online stuff to do. I might have to step back for a bit though.

Update: 7/12/2014
- Finished a bunch of side stuff.  Pretty much tried at least one of everything including all the online stuff, a few of each of the fixer contracts, completed all gang hideouts, all but the last convoy b/c it won't show up for some annoying reason.
- Online hacking is pretty fun and challenging.
- Racing is OK but at least the hacks makes things more interesting.
- I liked the spider tank digital trip
- Mobile challenge is ok.
- Online decryption is pretty fun but seems kind of lame that even if I did the majority of the decryption only the final person that finishes it wins.
- Did the series of ps4 exclusive missions.  They were pretty good.

I think I'm pretty much done with this game until the season pass DLC hits.

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