Watch_Dogs Review: Deus Ex Smartphonia

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅27-05-14
Side-Show Attractions

As with other open-world videogames repeated content is very much a part of Watch_Dogs. Quite apart form the myriad side missions each of which follow a set theme the game also offers a range of minor stories, collectables and mini-games in which to sink time and in-game dollars.


Play Poker, Chess and more in events dotted around Chicago, wagering money as you go. Naturally superficial, they a familiar sight in most open-word games and don't bear much discussion.

AR Phone Games

Located around the in-game world are location triggers for smartphone apps which use augmented reality to create time-attack and score-attack games.

Cash Run takes you through short courses, collecting coins and avoiding skulls as you go. With a varied course depending on location and online leaderboards which grant Notariety based on your time, it can be one route for long-term competitive replaybility.

Invasion, stylised NVZN, is an AR app re-imaging the alien invasion games of yesteryear through the representation of a wormhole through which insect-like neon aliens emerge. Score attack is the name of the game with this app as you progress through invasion stages, and enjoyment will be directly proportional to how much you enjoy the gunplay.

Digital Trips

Tired of the mundane? Then Digital Trips may be just for you! By pushing Aiden into an unconscious state the Trips alter reality on a grander scale than the games, changing your perception to simulate a wide range of scenarios from a hellish Chicago to rampaging through the city as an enormous robotic Spider Tank. They're a smart way to include wilder themes and are already a part of the launch DLC, implying that they will be a significant part of optional (paid-for) DLC in the future. The quality is mixed, but well worth trying out a few times for the wow factor alone.

Investigations & QR Code Scans

Dotted around Chicago are collectable story elements fleshing out the world and provide more context to the motivations of both DedSec and the Blume Corporation, usually in the form of hidden audio logs. Collecting them all unlocks a unique mission which rounds of this storyline, and each also grants a little XP and chance at reputation.

Privacy Invasions

A standalone means of practising your hacking skills, Privacy Invasions (shown as an eye on the maps) require that you use a deeper hack to unlock access to cameras in the homes of residents. Undoubtedly one for voyeurs, it's a neat sideline in developing out the human side of this Chicago. Sadly they have no in-game impact and your experience with the characters you glimpse progresses no further, leaving you tragically unable to act on some of the sadder circumstances you see. Nor does this hacking impact your reputation, even when discovered.

There's more which can be discussed, but that is a good gist. Essentially beyond the main mission there are a huge number of activities which balloon out the completion time to a huge degree, even if completed in an optimal fashion and without failure. Typically this would be the sole province for completionists, but leaderboards may add a layer of replayability which would otherwise be lacking. That said the content is repetitious and doesn't deviate gameplay all that much, so there's not much to recommend if you're not already hooked by the core game.

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