Monday, January 18, 2021

An Introduction To The Watch Dogs Franchise.

November 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Ent., Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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( When it comes to open world games, Ubisoft does tremendous work. Starting with the Assassins Creed franchise, the company managed to pack in a number of intertwined stories in this vast open world.

All of the NPC have schedules, there’s a day and night system, the main stealth mechanic is improved gradually over time. Ubisoft really works on the AC series and uses a similar approach with Watch Dogs.

The Watch Dogs Franchise

So far, we’re coming up on three games in the franchise with Watch Dogs Legion. For those unfamiliar with the series, Watch Dogs deals with hackers using street warfare and technology to balance the scales. I’d say it’s the fun parts of Assassins Creed in a modern day setting.

Unlike AC, there’s no jumping between the past and whatever the main modern day character is doing. Whatever character the story is based around, that’s who you played as.

It’s a minor gripe with Ubisoft. The company knows the historic parts are the best parts of Assassins Creed.

Anyway, the first WD introduced most of the gameplay mechanics, the vibe and pace of the game, and so on. Based in 2013 Chicago, it focused on Aidan Pearce, a former hacker and bank robber who lost his niece at the hands of a crime boss.

While his methods involve stealing from bank accounts and getting into shoot outs with gangs, his path is one of vengeance.

The second game stars Marcus Holloway, a young hacker who is unjustly arrested for an attack on the ctOS’s rollout in San Francisco. ctOS is a new social technology which links every device that can use wifi to a wide network in a city. Basically, it’s wide-scale networkinget

Watch Dog’s ctOS technology was introduced in the original Watch Dogs. It’s main use was as city surveillance—or pre-crime. Since Aiden could hack into the OS, he had the same liberties as the police: listening in on phone conversations, access to personal information, etc.

Three years after the first game, Marcus uses similar methods and joins DedSec, a hacker group which is starting to make moves. Their target is Blume, a massive internet and security firm that developed ctOS.

watch dogs franchise

A Series That Will Only Get Better

When the first game dropped it was pretty awesome for the time. It was that AC appeal with all you could do in the game. It was hobbled by a bland, uninteresting main character and a very stock storyline. Ultimately, it was a game where doing everything else but the main story is more fun.

The grim, washed vibe of the game didn’t do it any favors either. Aesthetically, the look of the game for since it was based in Chicago. However, there were too many similar-looking games during that time. That grim, dark, anti-vibrant approach was a wave in gaming back then.

It’s a shame because there was so much great stuff in this title feature and fun-wise. This game had some of the best shoot outs I’ve played since The Getaway.

Watch Dogs 2 was the same but the main character had personality…swag. The setting wasn’t so bleak to the point of doing any fun activities seemed dangerous in-game. It wasn’t Arkham grim but the first game’s Chicago just looked lifeless compared to San Francisco in the sequel.

Watch Dogs: Legion

With the third game in the series, Ubisoft moves the narrative from 2010 to the late 2020s or so. Technology has experienced an explosion thanks to Blume. AI is common place while law enforcement and the London underworld have both grown with the explosion.

DedSec London is battling these forces and for their reputation against a rival hacker group. The game just dropped a few weeks back. I don’t want to spoil too much.

Just know that Ubisoft kept the train rolling when it comes to improving from the original. It’s just what Ubisoft does. The company’s research is also some of the best outside of developers who focus on strategy games.

Ubisoft will look into a city’s geography, politics, and demographics in a particular time and build a game world off of that. Watch Dogs: Legion is an interesting entry since it jumps ahead into the future story-wise but the research is there.

I can’t say that liberties were taken in recreating London for this game. It’s not like Rockstar and its fictionalized versions of Miami, New York City, and Los Angeles—all of which work for the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

Recommended For…

I recommend the Watch Dogs franchise for those who love action games and anything open world. Action games never went out of style, certain characters and aesthetic choices have. Open world has been the wave for well over a decade now.

When you smush that genre and setting together, you get something intriguing on paper. Ubisoft knows this since it has been knee-deep in this direction since the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era. The formula works flawlessly in Watch Dogs and I’m sure players will really enjoy the series if they’re new to it.

For seasoned gamers who have never touched the franchise—if you dig Grand Theft Auto, Mafia, Assassins Creed, Spider-Man, or even the Arkham series, you just might take to WD easily.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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