YMMV / Watch_Dogs


  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Some believe Aiden Pearce to be a Flat Character while others argue he's a perfectly fine one but lacks depths. A third faction, however, believes that Aiden may actually be a Deconstruction of traditional The Atoner Anti-Hero protagonists by pointing out he's a raging Hypocrite for being a vigilante while associating with career criminals as well as doing similar crimes himself. Likewise, he claims to be doing his vigilante work for his family but, in fact, is endangering them worse than ever. In this, he's sort of a Expy of Edward Kenway. Only, instead, he's a hacker instead of a pirate. Indeed, this later motivation has even generated some blog posts dedicated to the subject. Later, this fan theory was confirmed via Word of God.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Aiden's either a sympathetic main character with good motivations for revenge, a Flat Character compared to his supporting cast, or a Designated Hero who ultimately causes more harm to the city than the villains would have if left alone (a small fourth group hate him so much that they consider him one of the worst video game protagonists of all time).
  • Best Level Ever: One of the coolest applications of the hacking gameplay is being able to take over a ctOS control center without ever setting foot inside, simply by manipulating cameras and moving personnel into just the right spot.
  • Breather Level: "Grandma's Bulldog". The mission is purely camera hacking; no combat, no sneaking, so the only possible way to fail is to take too long hacking some of the firewalls. The level is mostly there for you to spy on the Viceroys and learn more about the chapter's primary baddies, while also developing Aiden and Clara's relationship.
  • Broken Base:
    • The news that Ubisoft delayed the game until Spring 2014, particular for those that pre-ordered it with the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One bundles.
    • Though thankfully not cancelled, the Wii U version was said to be susceptible to it after its delay was announced. After what happened in 2013 with Rayman Legends getting a delay so Ubisoft could make it multiplatform, Wii U owners are not pleased to see Ubi's giving them the shaft in favor of people who own other platforms. With the announcement that the Wii U version won't have DLC, this may have crippled Wii U fans' trust even more.
    • When the first trailer since September of 2013 appeared in early 2014, people noticed that the graphics were a noticeable downgrade compared to the 2012 and 2013 E3 footage. This has caused people to doubt whether or not to buy the game. The revelation that the graphics shown in the E3 footage are still in the game files, even blatantly titled as E3 settings, has stirred up the hornet's nest again, causing three camps to rise: (1) You're pissed about the graphics and want Ubisoft to add the options in next patch. (2) You're on console, so it doesn't concern you, but you still express distaste at Ubisoft for doing it, or: (3) You don't give a crap about graphics and just want to play the damn game.
    • The news that Ubisoft will use its disparaged UPlay DRM for the PC version turned some fans off. Which turned out to be justified when UPlay did go crashing down on the game's launch day. And it turns out that the console versions of the game also required connection to a server, probably to facilitate for the "friends able to drop into your game anytime" aspect. Said server went down a couple of days after the PC version did, and locked a sizable chunk of console gamers out of the game during that time.
  • Catharsis Factor: As mentioned above, the reason A Risky Bid is such a great mission is how satisfying it feels to kill everyone involved in the depraved business of human trafficking.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • So you're planning to stop a Criminal Convoy, ey? So, from all the awesome hacks you could use to stop it, what'll you use? Most likely none. Most hacks divert the course of the convoy and can mess up the tracking of them. You'll barely use any hacks to stop a convoy, besides the Steam-Pipe hack to drive them off course. Most of the time, you'll probably park your car in front of them, pull out a grenade launcher and shoot whoever isn't the target with it.
    • As much as doing fixer contracts to get money can be rewarding, you'll most likely gain 70-90% of your main income from hacking civilians, since they are easy to find and hack. With a certain skill, the game will pick out whatever target is worth it, even without your phone out. Plus, you can hack civilians anywhere and anytime, compared to a single job that limits you to the main objective.
    • If you're aiming for the achievement for finishing 40 Fixer Contracts, you can simply choose what type of contract you want to take and stick to that one mission type.
    • Unless you're fighting an enforcer, you're better off sticking to your pistol. Sure, the guns present some nice flavour and can (depending on the situation) save you. But when a single headshot can take out most enemies, using anything that doesn't have that precision, you're better off with the 1911.
    • You're better off just going straight for the highest priced weapons. Getting the cheaper ones and going up from there will clog up your inventory and make weapon switching much more annoying. Getting any grenade launcher, an automatic rifle and staying with the silenced 1911 will get you far enough in the game, to not worry about even getting anything else, besides a shotgun. The Destroyer makes all car-chase missions laughably easy. While they're on a straight road, just leave your vehicle, snipe your target, run your fleeing victim over. (The last part applies only if you didn't get the headshot on the driver at the first shot.)
    • Certain hacks. Sure, having the ability to permanently incapacitate your enemy's car with a spike trap is cool and effective, but so is a steam-pipe or blockers, or a simple traffic-light hack. As much as unlocking all the hack available, they become either just convenient to use or just there for a few rare gimmicks. When hacking a veteran's comms to stun him is pretty convenient, there's nothing that stops you from just slotting the guy in the head with a pistol.
    • Getting cars in the Cars On Demand app. Sure, you could use hard-earned cash on a cool car, but why do that, when you can get just as good cars for free, that you unlock? (If only to blow money away, since the above-mentioned ATM hacking means that you'll be swimming in cash).
  • Complete Monster: Dermot "Lucky" Quinn is the leader of the Chicago South Club, a syndicate involved in human trafficking, drug dealing, and cybercrime. Before the game begins, Lucky manipulates Rose Washington and Mayor Donovan Rushmore into an affair, then manipulates the Mayor in killing Rose so he can blackmail him later for more power. In the process of obtaining this blackmail material, he sets up a hit that ends up killing Lena Pearce. Lucky also has no tolerance for failure. He kidnaps Maurice's wife and sells her as a sex slave at a human trafficking auction after Maurice fails to kill Aiden, and kills a fugitive Aiden delivers after an operation goes south. Lucky later orders his men to kill Clara Lille when he's made aware of her working against him. As he lays dying, he declares that Chicago will build a statue of him while never knowing his true criminal nature, thanks Mayor Donovan for being "stupid enough to fall in love", and states that vigilantes like Aiden will be forgotten because they don't matter.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Critics of the game generally point their evidence to this trope. The vile behavior of the city's populace, as shown in Privacy Invasions, coupled with Aiden's lack of a moral compass, generates a depressing mood throughout the game. Ubisoft took the criticism to heart and started trying to avert this in the sequel.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Higher level police choppers. Their snipers always have a lock on you, no matter how much you speed and swerve and can destroy your car very quickly. Also if you want to use disable skill, you have to leave your car, since in-car camera doesn't go to a right angle. Good luck doing that while being fired on by police.
    • Enforcers. They can take a lot of punishment before going down (to illustrate just how much, most of them can take several direct hits from grenades and still get back up), typically carry high-tier weaponry like full-auto shotguns, and unless you invest in the skill to do so, they can't be taken down by melee attacks. If you're spotted when there's more than one in the area, you're almost certainly dead.
  • Designated Hero: Aiden can be this if you play him as a complete lunatic or Villain Protagonist who pays no attention to the collateral damage he causes while indiscriminately killing cops and bystanders. If you do a Pacifist Run he becomes an in-universe Designated Villain due to his other illegal activities. IGN sums it all up.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Jordi, thanks to his crazy antics during the game.
    • T-Bone, the genius redneck hacker, is also loved by a lot of players. He is even the main character of his own DLC chapter, where he's deeper and more likeable than Aiden ever was.
    • If there's anyone other than these two you'll find being discussed, it's Ded Sec, thanks to being better revolutionaries than Aiden, and working actively against the Bigger Bad. Plus, Evil Is Cool. The sequel is focused on them.
    • Telling from the number of requests of returns for the sequel, Defalt is this.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Delford Wade, AKA Iraq. He's a Genius Bruiser who has plans to betray Lucky Quinn, and has trained an entire gang in army tactics. He runs most of the gang activity in Chicago, to the point where when Aiden finally kills him, it's That One Boss and a bit of a disappointment.
    • Ded Sec. A group of hackers dedicated to bringing down the system. They plan to take down Blume, and prove that nobody's safe in Chicago. Hell, they get the Title Drop near the end.
    Ded Sec: We will be the watchdogs.
  • Game Breaker: The Fast Charge upgrade in Bad Blood, which makes your battery charge so quickly that you'll almost never have to worry about running out ever again. Once you've got this bad boy, the battery slot upgrades just grant you more overkill, and if you've got one of the Sony releases and also have the Season Pass or the right pre-order package, the extra battery slots those give you on top of it means that you can rapid-fire hack to your heart's content and your battery will start to recharge before you've even spent it all. What truly pushes it into full-on Game Breaker status is that you get it after completing just one Fixer Street Sweep mission, and the rewards you get for completing more of them are just laughable in comparison.
  • Good Bad Bugs: It is possible to get inside the walls of the Merlaut Hotel and into the Stadium. This results in an excellent hiding spot when doing one-vs-one hacking, and it enables you to escape from police if you're being chased because they cannot follow you there.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • The Shell Game and Chess minigames can be this- luckily, the Shell Game can be made easier- crank up the brightness, and when you're asked which cup to pick, pause the game and you'll be just able to see the ball- easiest XP Boost ever.
    • The "Disk Space Full" achievement for unlocking all 23 songs in SongSneak. One one hand, 3 of the 23 songs that contribute to this achievement can only be obtained by profiling and hacking pedestrians, and said songs are very difficult to find; many a player has completed the entire campaign without ever finding these songs. On the other hand, people who tend to go for side-quests first may find themselves perplexed that, despite hours upon hours of searching, they're still missing three songs, not realizing that these particular three are unlocked automatically throughout story missions.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • One of the game's major themes is the lack of privacy on networks and the Internet. However, nothing about the game leaked out prior to its unveiling at E3, making it a big surprise.
    • The E3 2013 demo ends with Aiden escaping the police in a boat. In the final game, boats are a completely fool-proof way to escape anyone chasing you, including cops.
    • Also keeping with the privacy theme, it was also revealed during a time where several phone and Internet companies became the center of a controversy involving said companies sharing user data with the US government.
    • Ubisoft itself was hacked several months before the game was released.
    • Pirating games carries the risk of getting a copy with malware. This is normally a virus or a trojan. The first pirated copy of Watch_Dogs to hit torrent sites had an embedded bitcoin miner, effectively turning the users' computers into money-making machines for someone else.
    • Originally the game was supposed to release in November near a certain other video game and released this ad. Except it was delayed
  • Hype Backlash:
    • When it was announced at E3 2012? Gamers rejoiced... yet after delays, the release of Grand Theft Auto V, a trailer with downgraded graphics, news that the PC version will use the much-hated Ubisoft DRM, it seems that the game fell to this.
    • Release saw a huge backlash on three different platforms, with the PC version taking an especially large backlash. The PC version is badly ported, suffers from mouse acceleration in the menus, bad audio & voiceovers, inept AI, with mediocre graphics in terms of PC games, along with performance issues on machines with AMD cards. The current user score on Metacritic is 6.3 for PS4, 5.5 for Xbox One and 4.6 on PC.
    • This has been a common criticism leveled at the game - two years of solid hype and the game just can't live up. According to some critics who like it, it comes damn close, but just falls short.
    • And then there's the UPlay outage caused by server overload on the game's launch day. Hundreds of angry players vented their frustration online. Intriguingly, the PS4 and Xbox One versions were hit by a separate problem that also knocked the games offline a few days later, earning Ubisoft the venom from console gamers as well.
  • Internet Backdraft: When a modder discovered configuration files in the PC version that, when set up the right way, produces graphics on par with the E3 demo, the metaphorical Pandora's Box was opened on the whole "downgraded graphics" issues, with many fans immediately spouting insane conspiracy theories that Sony and Microsoft had somehow paid off Ubisoft to downgrade the PC graphics deliberately in order to lessen the graphical gap between the PC and console versions. Ubisoft's response, which basically boiled down to "No we didn't", didn't help matters at all.
  • It Was His Sled: T-Bone is Raymond Kenny, the guy who caused the 2003 Blackout and helped create the CTOS.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Some make a point of pronouncing the title "Watch Underscore Dogs".
    • Others have joked about how the NSA "Scandal" may just be the most expensive game launch ever.
    • Due to the name "Watch_Dogs" it's not rare to see someone call it "Watch_Doge" or referring to the game as someone literally watching dogs. Alongside this, calling it "Wash Dogs" or inserting a dog head over Aiden in promotional art alongside the "Doge" meme.
    • 'Two months are enough to visit Los Santos', taken from a rather infamous ad involving a jab at Grand Theft Auto V. Became a rather mocking statement aimed at the game when GTA V proved more technically sound, and much better received overall.
    • Defalt being called a Rat Kid may be a reference to a Latin American stereotype based on a Simpsons episode. Kids or pre-teens playing M-Rated games online, displaying immature behavior are called nños rata (literally, Rat Kids) in these countries. Defalt fits this stereotype.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • While Damien was never a nice person, he cements himself as an irredeemable madman when he kidnaps Nicky just because Aiden didn't want to work with him anymore.
    • What you see at the auction firmly confirms Lucky Quinn as a Complete Monster. Iraq hits it there as well, although not quite as hard.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The cat yowl in the "down and out" parts of the city. Oddly, the ambient sound design for the city environment is just one long loop, so apparently a cat screams every few minutes, on the minute, in the more destitute parts of Chicago.
  • Narm: Aiden's delivery of the line "I hack the city" in the trailer is something that just can't be taken seriously.
  • Paranoia Fuel: This game runs on this fuel, and its Facebook messages sure don't help. The fuel is so strong that it got its own page.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • The PC version of the game has been criticized for poor controls and mediocre graphics optimization. The latter problem occurs in gaming rigs since the game was purposefully made to run on NVidia hardware, and NVidia hardware only. Gamers with AMD graphic cards experience framerate drops and crashing/freezing galore, even if they can run other games on the highest setting flawlessly. Even on NVidia hardware, it runs wonky. There is no baseline 60fps frame rate lock, the frame rate just goes as high as the hardware allows. Pop-in that is surprisingly low on the console versions runs rampant in the PC version. Also, the consoles the game was originally released on (Xbox One and PlayStation 4) had an AMD Graphics Processing Unit.note 
    • The Playstation 3 version has severe audio bugs and constant game-freezing.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: Aiden's family dynamic would make more sense if he was an estranged father/husband, rather than the unscrupulous uncle/older-brother we're presented with. However All There in the Manual reveals he had been living at his sister's house and had essentially acted more like a father to her two children. With this it makes it more understandable why Aiden takes it so hard.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The hacking mini-game is loathed by a significant number of players because it interrupts the flow of the story, it pops up often, and it can't be skipped.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Between the side missions, random crime events, AR Games, Digital Trips, and online modes, there are plenty of ways to spend hours in this game and barely touch the main storyline.
    • This has become the main view for many players who like the game, they stick around for everything else. Though others complain at the fact that all these side missions do absolutely nothing for the main game.
  • So Okay, It's Average:
    • A not-uncommon opinion of Watch Dogs is that it's not necessarily bad, but it's not really great either.
    • A lot of flak is leveled at the protagonist, Aiden Pearce, for being not nearly as interesting as the other characters like the lovable sociopath Jordi, genius redneck T-Bone, French Canadian goth Clara, tormented triggerman Maurice, creepy-as-fuck Lucky Quinn, etc.
    • The opinion of Last-Gen buyers of Watch_Dogs. Bugs that sometimes render hacks useless, or physics that seem to bounce around to place, to two game-modes being exclusive to Next-Gen buyers (being Decryption and Online Free Roam).
    • As the Super Bunnyhop reviewer stated, "I really liked this game, but that 'like' comes with a lot of qualifying statements!" For every awesome thing you have in this game, there's some element to it that doesn't integrate with the others or come off so well.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • Of Daniel Suarez' Daemon. Aiden Pearce is Matthew Sobol minus the terminal cancer that forced him to empower Brian Gragg AKA Loki Stormbringer as his successor in his war against corruption.
    • The game's theme of cyberterrorism, Everything Is Online, and hacking via smartphone could be considered as a Darker and Edgier take on Megaman Battle Network.
    • Details aside, the way the CTOS interface is displayed on the screen and the fact that you play a heavily-armed Badass who uses it to solve problems also predicted by it means it's the closest to a Person of Interest game people will ever get.
  • Squick:
    • The ctznOS vid of a 28 year old virgin with a collection of fleshlights, while he's using them.
    • Varying on the facts you can find on people, privacy invasions, and profiling criminals after you've taken them down, and reveal some... pretty nasty facts...
    • One privacy invasion is of a man masturbating at his computer. He's profiled as a single father. Cue his baby child screaming until he gets up and takes care of him/her... without washing his hands.
  • Tainted by the Preview:
    • The downgrade of the graphics in the 2014 footage caused some people to lose interest in buying the game.
    • Serveral PC gameplay videos that were uploaded prior/on game launch, have presented some rather... weird physics and game mechanics. Right from trains stopping when the player is close to them, which seems to be absent from console versions, to water not reacting to bullets. Although some pointed out that some of these were likely due to being from a leaked copy of the game- most players haven't reported any major glitches.
  • That One Boss: Iraq Wade. After wiping out several waves of thugs he sends after you, you must contend with a special Enforcer that cannot be taken down with the "Enforcer Takedown" skill and soaks up normally lethal explosions. A short time later - likely while the Enforcer is still alive - Iraq himself storms out and starts shooting, and he has nearly as much health as a regular Enforcer. To make matters worse, if you die during the fight, you have to start all over - and listen to his unskippable, almost minute-and-a-half rant all over again.
  • That One Level: In Plain Sight. Damien projects Aiden's face over the surrounding news screens, and the goal is to chase down and destroy the van broadcasting the offending material. Shortly into the chase, police begin to set off a series of ctOS scans that are nearly impossible to avoid without losing the target, and the police are unusually relentless in this mission. Unless you've thoroughly stocked up on Jam Comms and Blackouts, or are just extremely lucky, the mission can be close to impossible.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Certain Digital Trips can be a pain to complete or even play. Psychedelic becomes increasingly difficult and starts throwing you blind jumps, having to guess where to land. Madness and Spider-Tank are a long stretch of objectives you have to complete within a certain time frame. The Spider-Tank is much more forgiving, being shorter and easier (15 objectives), while Madness is long and can easily be screwed up (29 objectives, with the same 4 looping objectives). Alone is more stealth based, but the streets (depending on your generation of consoles) can lack cars that can give vital cover, and later in the game, you're often surrounded by a dozen or more robots as soon as you step foot in an occupied area, which means that you'll usually be spotted instantly. Getting spotted usually grants an instant game-over, unless you invest in certain skills or get to weapon-caches.
    • The DLC trip "Conspiracy!" also gets into this territory later on, since you'll usually have around 10 or more cyborgs to profile in a relatively small area, which means it's incredibly easy to get spotted before you've gotten a chance to profile them all. Once you are spotted, they tend to rush you all at once, and while you're dealing with the 7 or so coming at you from the front, that last one you didn't get to profile will usually flank you while you're not paying attention, which results in "BOOM!". And if it's one of those rounds where they put out a news report on you? Have fun evading both them and every single pedestrian in the area, since if one gets out a successful 911 call, every single cyborg goes on alert, which more often than not pretty much means you're dead.
    • Poker can be outright tedious if you're trying to get the reward for clearing out an entire table, even with being able to hack cameras to look at other players cards and gauge their stress level (to determine whether or not they're bluffing), a game can still go on for at least a couple of hours. On the other hand, sometimes you just happen to get a string of lucky hands- just like in real cards.
    • The Drinking game can be a pain if you're trying to get the achievement for beating it at level 10, as you have a ridiculous amount of buttons to press and very little time to do it in while also fighting through the Interface Screw. A patch released later in the year dropped the difficulty level significantly, to much rejoicing from the fans.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The most common criticism about the game is that they completely failed to make an intruiging plot about the setting in favor for a flat revenge plot.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: A fair few critics have the opinion that Aiden Pearce is one of the less interesting characters in the game, despite being the main character. This is mainly due to his tendency to speak the obvious during his internal monologues, as well as his Guttural Growler voice not lending itself to great emotional delivery. Coupling that with the fact that his allies are all much more colorful and dynamic characters, it wasn't long before accusations of "boring", "unoriginal" and "flat" started flying in Aiden's direction.
  • Vindicated by History: At launch, the game was mostly considered negatively, especially compared to much-loved shooter Grand Theft Auto V. However, over time, the game's reputation has increased due to its stealth, action movie influences, and fun hacking. Looking at Steam reviews for both games, it becomes quite clear that Watch_Dogs stood the test of time, and was rewarded. Less flak has also come to the game's simple hacking mechanics when critics realized that they'd be much better than providing anything even slightly realistic, which would ruin the pacing.
  • What an Idiot:
    • The Government linking everything into ctOS, not considering security problems that might occur. Even pacemakers!
    • Aiden himself. He wouldn't be stuck in the trouble he's in, if he had listened to Damien in the first place. Sure, Damien isn't the most trustful person and he majors in being a dickhead, but when it's someone you've worked with before and know he's a little on edge, maybe the best thing isn't to show it in his face. He also could have saved himself some time by abducting Damien the first time they meet in-game. For a supposed genius social engineer, Aiden's not good at seeing obvious villains.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/WatchDogs