Watch Dogs has been one of the most anticipated titles for the new generation of consoles with that hype amplifying following the delay the game suffered in October 2013. However, as the game neared release, there was some controversy over the graphical performance of the game which caused some concerns. In this review, we will be discussing the performance of the PS4 version of the game as well as the gameplay, story and sound.

One thing Watch Dogs certainly achieves is giving the player a realistic view of a world in which they can control and hack the environment and find information on almost anyone. The concept is unique and one which hasn’t been explored before, likely due to the complexity and scale of the game. This idea fits perfectly with the open-world map available for exploration; offering an experience which feels well known, yet is very different to anything you’ve played before.

Aiden Pearce is the protagonist of this tale, an experienced hacker who has access to “ctOS”, the system which controls everything in the city. Through his access to this system, Pearce can manipulate traffic lights, blockades, doors, explosives, valves, cars and many other technologically-powered elements of the city. He can also trace calls, intercept crime reports and learn information about everyone roaming the streets. Throughout the story, which we won’t spoil, we learn about the corruption and crime rampantly occupying the city.

As the story progresses, we learn more and more about Aiden, who has suffered tragedy in his life. Despite many attempts from his loved ones to stop him from suffering a life of constantly hunting the people responsible for his tragedy, he remains obsessed with the idea and cannot control himself. Throughout the story missions (which can be completed in around 10 hours if you do a quick playthrough) we see Aiden bringing vigilante justice to many criminals, however, we do not learn the identity of true villain Aiden has been hunting until the very end (and it isn’t very satisfactory). However, we will not spoil any more for you.

One of the highlights of the game is the fantastic combat system. Moving from cover point to cover point is simple, and the weapons feel realistic and are very fun to use. The use of focus (slower perception of time) makes it very easy to take out multiple enemies with headshots without even getting hit yourself. The additional ability to hack environmental items, such as explosives and pressured valves, adds new options for dealing with enemies, or even luring them into a trap. Driving offers an equally impressive lineup of hacks, allowing you to manipulate traffic lights, bridges and barriers to stop cops or assailants.

Another thing which improves the action is the ability to hack through cameras. Not only can you alter the environment from your viewpoint, but you can hack into cameras to see other areas. This is particularly helpful when you are trying to take on a large, dispersed group of enemies, or if you are trying to escape from a location without detection. Again, the unique features of Watch Dogs puts a fresh spin on the open-world action game genre.

Watch Dogs also features a rich selection of side missions and online content, which greatly enhance the value of the game. While many may only be interested in completing the story as quickly as possible, you can also take on contracts from your connections, prevent crimes from occurring, stop a gang from controlling an area or take out a criminal who is heading to particular location. These additional missions allow you to upgrade your skills and earn money, both of which are valuable assets as you progress through the game. Money can be spent purchasing parts in order to craft frags, lures, jam coms and other items. You will also earn experience points from all missions, which will in turn increase your level. As your level increases, you gain skill points and unlock new upgrades.

Graphically speaking, as far as the PS4 version goes, Watch Dogs looks outstanding. It certainly has a truly next-gen feel, and didn’t fall short of my expectations. The environments are crisp, detailed and dynamic. Cars look fantastic, people look realistic and the streets are vibrant and immersive. In terms of sound, the sound effects, music and voice acting are all outstanding and enhance the experience. Watch Dogs, in my opinion, certainly delivers what it promised in the graphical and audio departments and offers gamers a fresh, enjoyable experience.

In addition to the main story and side missions, there are also many online gamemodes which offer additional value to the title. These online gamemodes are interesting and many players will certainly enjoy spending many hours exploring what they offer. Digital trips are also some of the most fun gameplay in Watch Dogs, however, we will let you discover them for yourselves (you will be presented with them during the story missions).

However, Ubisoft has delivered a unique, complete and refined experience in Watch Dogs. The game truly feels like a title worthy of the next-gen label, and you should certainly pick up one of the PS4, Xbox One or PC versions of the game.