Rachel Plays Watch Dogs So You Don’t Have To

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God help me, I want to like Watch Dogs. I haven’t even finished it yet, but I have my suspicions on where it’s going. As such, my spoilers will be sporadic and limited to the sidequests and main plot up until Act III.

Women in Watch Dogs leave a lot to be desired. The main ones you interact with are Clara, the Lisbeth Salander Clone, and Nicky, your sister. Clara seems capable, but has very little personality beyond “hacker” and “tattoo artist.” Nicky gets kidnapped and it’s up to you, Vigilante Aiden Pearce, to save her from the mess that you created. Oh, and your six-year-old niece gets fridged in the opening footage. You find out later through a series of items scattered across Chicago how that happened, which allows Aiden to supposedly develop as a character.

There is where I get stuck with Watch Dogs. They have got really cool shit happening, but the writing is so boring. Nothing really picks up until the middle of Act II when you have to assume some American ex-pat’s identity to sneak into a human trafficking auction.

This part of the game has drawn a lot of criticism, especially in Anita Sarkeesian’s latest Tropes vs Women video. But here’s the thing… I don’t have a problem with this use of women as background objects. The game is bringing attention to a very real problem we have in America. So, bravo Ubisoft, for trying to bring attention to this! Of course, you’re Boring McBoringSon who decides to help out these women without any real proof that they are rescued from their peril, despite the completion of the questline. They’re there, you track down the assholes who participated in the event, bam boom, it’s done and never mentioned again.

Character we needed to see more of: Poppy.

Character we needed to see more of: Poppy. We could have had a plotline similar to that of Lumen Pierce from Dexter here.

Don’t even get me started on the Serial Killer questline. I’m not actually sure where this was supposed to tie into the main plot, if at all, since I found the body of a murdered prostitute almost randomly and chose to pursue it. Basically: Serial Killer targets sex workers who either have or carry the gene for hemophilia. This has some potential for a cool reveal in the end, but nope. Lazy writing strikes again, and the culprit is some uneducated dude in a trailer park who happens to have hemophilia. How someone who didn’t even know what genetic mutation he was carrying even knew what to look for in the sex workers he murdered and left as props around the city is beyond me.

What it comes down to is poor writing. We have an uncompelling protagonist in an open world environment based on a location they actually kept the name of. A city, in fact, that is diverse and rich in culture, and it looks like they tried to portray that in the various hacking ‘info’ bubbles that pop up when you profile a passerbyer on the street. There are characters who have depth to them in the world around you; the audio logs for characters like Tyrone “Bedbug” and Maurice Vega are proof enough of that. It’s just Aiden who feels like a cardboard cutout.

Purple-haired Pepper Potts.

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