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YMMV / Watch_Dogs

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  • 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. Which just shifted the debate to whether Ubsisoft was pulling a Parody Retcon.
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  • Anticlimax Boss: Iraq becomes this if you have the Destroyer sniper rifle.
  • Awesome Music: The shootout in "For the Portfolio" is set to "Jesus Built My Hotrod" by Ministry.
  • 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.
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  • Broken Base: 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.
  • 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. Especially once you unlock the second level of the ATM hacking upgrade where NPCs with the rich bank account trait can yield payouts well over $10,000 a pop.
    • 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 else is essentially pointless, especially since the pistol is the only silenced weapon that won't give away your position to enemies.
    • 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).
    • Similarly: buying weapons can be fun and god knows you can afford it with how fast money builds up but it feels like a waste when you can also acquire new weapons for free by killing enemies equipped with them and taking their gun. Especially since you start the game with the silenced 1911, one of the most useful and versatile weapons in your arsenal.
  • Complete Monster: Dermot "Lucky" Quinn is the leader of the Chicago South Club, a syndicate involved in Human Trafficking, drug dealing, and cybercrime. Lucky orchestrates the affair between Rose Washington and Mayor Donovan Rushmore, and manipulates the Mayor into killing Rose so he can blackmail him for power; Lucky also notices hacker Aiden Pearce. Believing Aiden to be after his blackmail material, Lucky orders Maurice to kill him; the attempts failed and Maurice accidentally kills Aiden's niece instead much to Lucky's apathy; Lucky responds to Maurice's failure by kidnapping his wife and selling her as a Sex Slave at a human trafficking auction. Lucky also personally kills a fugitive Aiden delivers after an operation goes south. Lucky then orders a hit on Clara Lille when he's made aware of her working against him. As he dies, he declares that Chicago will build a statue of him while never knowing his criminal nature, thanking Mayor Donovan for being "stupid enough to fall in love", and stating 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 disable them you have to leave your car, since you can't look up that high to see them while in a car. 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.
    • Probably his nadir is when he forces a teenager into sneaking into his cousin's home base to steal info, betraying said cousin who is a known psychopath who takes betrayal poorly. Bedbug naturally gets caught and its clear that he is about to be killed as the line goes dead. But lest Aiden has to contemplate the fact he sent a teenager to his death, Bedbug calls him shortly after to say he somehow managed to escape, with zero explanation of how, before he promptly disappears from the rest of the game. And to top the whole affair off, Aidenly immediately decides to just storm the place guns blazing, making the games he played with Bedbug's life completely pointless.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Jordi, thanks to his crazy antics during the game, and for his Consummate Professional nature making for a hilarious Action Duo dynamic with Aiden. His popularity was enough to get him to return for the Human Conditions DLC in 2.
    • 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. Like Jordi, his popularity allowed him to become a major character in 2..
    • If there's anyone other than these two you'll find being discussed, it's Ded Sec, thanks to being better revolutionaries than Aiden. 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. It helps that, by the sequel, they've Took a Level in Kindness.
    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. On 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
  • Inferred Holocaust: The Bad Blood DLC deals with what happens during a blackout, but the game barely acknowledges it otherwise. The very first mission has you blackout a stadium during a sports game while at the same time planting evidence of a gang-shootout having happened there and ingame dialogue already mentions fans invading the pitch. A mass panic isn't exactly an unlikely event to happen in these circumstances. Additionally, there's little evidence that hospital systems are secured any better against your hacks.
  • 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 when he bashes a guys head to death with a brief case. Although he doesn't hit it quite as hard as the other two.
  • 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 
    • Even on Ultra Settings the final PC build doesn't come anywhere near the graphics shown off during E3. This combined with the fact the old graphical settings are still in the code but Dummied Out have lead to speculation the PC version was intentionally downgraded so it wouldn't show-up Sony's new console.
    • The biggest insult on the PC side is that the Ultra setting for the textures doesn't even work correctly. Even on insanely high-end GPUs like Titans it reduces the game to a jerky, stuttering mess for no logical reason. You might be tempted to think it's a vram leak but looking a status monitor shows the usage never breaks 4GB. Truly a baffling and infuriating performance bug for those that delight in flexing their hardware with completely maxed out graphical settings.
    • The PlayStation 3 version at one time had severe audio bugs and constant game-freezing. It's definitely much better now, though.
    • Many had hoped that the heavily-delayed Wii U port might be a Polished Port that made use of the system's (somewhat) improved graphics capabilities compared to the PS3 and Xbox 360. Instead, the resulting port had graphics that were noticeably degraded even when compared to those two systems (to say nothing of their successors), and frame rates that struggled to keep up with the older two consoles even in simple cutscenes, while tanking to near-unplayable levels in the open world. This was essentially the last straw for third-party development on the Wii U, with virtually no major third-party titles released on the system for the remainder of its lifetime.
  • 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, with some going so far as to suggest that was how the game was originally written, with the change being made so that the writers could put in a "big brother is watching you" joke. 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.
    • You can't hide the HUD, meaning you cannot take good screenshot of the game.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 Mega Man 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 DeAndre Coleman, 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 Coleman 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.
    • The Palace. You have to go halfway across the map from the start of mission, infiltrate a house filled with Elite Mooks, hack the security system and are immediately locked into a cutscene where more Mooks run directly at you and will more than likely start shooting you before you can even exit the camera you hacked. To make matters worse, you have to move like the wind through this gunfire to try and knock down/kill a target who had a 300m head start on you. This invariably results in a 20-second timer informing you that the target is getting away (which if it counts down to 0 you fail the mission) popping up while you're probably still dealing with the Mooks back in the house.
  • 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 Copied It, So It Sucks!: A lot of people believe that Watch_Dogs is Ubisoft trying to cash in on Grand Theft Auto style games, which may or may not be true given that it came out just a year after the original GTAV. Some, however, go so far as to believe Watch_Dogs is just a shittier version of GTA because it has driving and shooting, even though the hacking arguably makes the game much more a stealth game than the all-guns-blazing game that GTA is.
  • 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.
  • 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.
      • Aiden's overarching goal is to find out why he was targeted by the hit that killed his niece, find the person responsible and make them pay. Yet at no point did Aiden ever think to investigate the Merlaut, where he knows his hack was detected a few days prior to the hit. Especially when it's later shown that the Merlaut is owned by the most powerful crime lord in the city, and that this is a publicly known fact (Said Crime Lord hosts political rally in his own name for the Mayor he supports in said hotel, and is thanked in front of all the guests for his generosity). To recap: Aiden does a hack in a hotel belonging to a figure widely reputed to be the city's dominant crime lord. The hack fails and he's detected. A few days later he's the target of a hit. Aiden never considered those events might be linked.


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