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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Watchdogs Launch Day Spectacular!

"Citra? No... no, Clara"

Watchdogs is out just in time for my 3 day weekend that happened to start yesterday. Launch quibbles aside, i.e. not being able to ping my activation code for 4 hours, everything runs decently. But only just so. I didn't invest in a high end PC (GTX 780 SC and a I5 3570k) to run at 30 frames per second. And WD veers wildly in the fps ditch whenever I hop into a car. Everything else is smooth as silk though, and it's a damn sight better than AC Black Flag. The thing makes my rig grind and whir like nothing I've ever heard, but if I'm being honest, it only looks slightly better than Sleeping Dogs and runs about 30% worse. There's clearly some next gen voodoo going on in there somewhere, but I don't see it on the screen.

As for the game itself... I like it. It's a very close cousin to AC but manages to do it's own thing. The protagonist is a raspy cipher, but I can handle that. Your sociopath fixer buddy has more than enough personality for the both of you. The main missions are fun, and the script is better than I thought. When meeting a hacker femme fetale (I know, I know, but just go with it) for the first time, she rolls her eyes at you saying "you're exactly what I expected." It's nice to see AAA video game writers hang a lampshade on their bore of a leading man. If nothing else, it's good to know that they know.It's not like they wrote a racist character arc for him, realized their mistake too late in the game to change anything about it, then had the gall to call it "satire."

Watchdogs is worth it. It's not the half assed insult that GTA IV was (performance wise) and it's original enough for me to recommend financially encouraging it. For all it's familiar choices I can say it's stands on it's own. But can you imagine what would happen if this fails? Can you imagine how much more homogenized AAA development could get? I'm not saying this game is a $60 ballot in the new IP electoral process, but don't pretend powers-that-be aren't paying close attention.

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