The First Watch Dogs Still Holds Up As The Best In The Series

Hack the city, become vengeance.

Story Highlights

  • Navigate Chicago’s underbelly, a world of rain, crime, and desperation.
  • Manipulate Chicago’s ctOS and become a digital phantom.
  • Become Aiden Pearce, a vigilante hacker dismantling a corrupt system.

Watch Dogs 1 isn’t just good, it’s the debatable hero of the entire series. Forget about the vibrant city of San Francisco from Watch Dogs 2 or the gimmick of every character in Legion is a potential playable character. Watch Dogs 1 captured a dark, atmospheric open world where you became Aiden Pearce, a hacker on a vengeance mission.

Aiden Pearce
Relive Aiden’s redemption story in Watch Dogs 1 | Source: Ubisoft

Don’t get me wrong, the later games have their charisma. Still, Watch Dogs 1 provided the sort of challenge that is notably not found in other entries of the series. Control over hacking mechanics, learning how to do the stealthy takedowns, and how to move unseen in the game’s world were enjoyable.

A Story That Stuck

Throughout the narrative, Aiden is portrayed as a hacker driven by grief. Aiden enters Chicago’s ctOS to avenge the loss of someone close to him and thereby proceeds to bring down the corrupt system one node at a time. it is a rather raw narrative and Aiden’s grim perspective perfectly complements the rainy Chicago streets.

Perhaps it was Aiden’s tough guy personality that I related to, perhaps it was his thirst for vengeance, but the narrative of Watch Dogs 1 stayed with me even after the end credits. Comparatively, the next entries felt slightly light in tone in their storylines. Watch Dogs 1 wasn’t afraid to get dark, which made it so memorable.

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A World Of Depth

Chicago’s rainy streets always gave me a gloomy vibe. This dark atmosphere also depicts Aiden’s inner struggles. From jamming phone networks so that NPCs can’t call the cops, to siphoning bank accounts from bustling crowds, the city almost felt alive.

The real beauty of Watch Dogs 1 was in its detailed open world. Sure, the main quests were quite thrilling but that didn’t stop its side activities from being fun. Remember the hideouts where you had to take out one or two high-level thugs without alerting the others? Or the digital trips, where you could take control of a giant spider robot and drive a deathcar? Watch Dogs 1 offered endless ways to interact with its digital landscape.

WD1 Chicago
Make Chicago your digital playground | Source: Steam

The open world was unpredictable. You could trigger gang wars with a well-placed hack, watching the police or rival gangs take out your target. Or you could turn the environment to your advantage, causing a blackout that allows you to make a clean escape.

Stealth Done Right

Aiden had to use unlockable skills to move around quietly instead of using a variety of drones like the sequels. Watch Dogs 1 was not all about John Wick-style takedowns. It valued preparation and long-term strategy. The focus mechanic provided the player with some unparalleled cinematics – getting an opportunity to headshot an enemy perfectly or hacking structures to take down enemy vehicles.

The enemy A.I. in Watch Dogs 1 although not completely optimized made you work around it. A single misstep could set off alarms and the whole city would be after you. This constant tension made every stealth run a victory. The sequels having much easier A.I. did not offer this experience of gameplay.

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Why The Original Still Stands Out

Watch Dogs 1 was a beautiful experience. The in-depth open world, along with the oppressive tone of its city, came together to create a dangerous yet realistic Chicago. The game’s soundtrack, consisting of a mix of electronic beats and atmospheric ambiance perfectly complemented the game’s tone.

Watch Dogs 1 is fantastic
byu/No-Adhesiveness9001 inwatch_dogs

It wasn’t all about just mindless shooting. You had to make your move strategically. Manipulating traffic lights, triggering district-wide blackouts, and hacking security cameras helped to plan your approach. Chicago became your digital playground.

Aiden Reigns Supreme

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Watch Dogs 1 is what the whole series could have been – a dark, mature, and fully realized game where hacking is the main tool. So, the next time you’re looking for a game with a thrilling plot, an intense open world, and fun side activities, revisit Watch Dogs 1. You won’t regret it.

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Fahad Shabbir is a 3rd-year computer science student with a lifelong passion for gaming. As an opinion writer at eXputer with a deep love for challenging experiences, Fahad brings a unique perspective to the table. His background in various genres and active participation in gaming forums fuel his insightful analysis of the industry's hottest topics. Expect him to dissect the latest releases, unpack hidden depths, and provide a detailed look at the ever-evolving landscape of PC gaming. Get familiar with Fahad's gaming library by checking out his Steam profile.

Covers Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Computer Science.

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