Monday, July 13, 2015

Interactive Friction: Watch_Dogs: Episode 6: Once Taken, Twice Recorded

Firstly, I must apologize for how long this episode has been in the making for. There were compounding issues with this episode.

As we explained in the video, our original footage for this episode was incomplete. My audio got recorded, yet Sam's didn't. That is what caused the re-recording.

Then, as Sam went to start editing, his motherboard in his computer needed replacement. This set us back an additional week, on top of his real life obligations.

So, there you have it. We hope that this doesn't happen too often, but it would be naive to expect nothing but perfection from our setup. With that said, today's episode:

I honestly cannot see what the point of this jailbreak mission is. There is not a single thing this game does, either narrative or mechanically, with the premise of a jailbreak in a CT_OS controlled city.

On the narrative front, the only reason we are doing this jail mission is because someone in prison saw us as we unleashed a terrorist attack upon a stadium full of unsuspecting citizens. Therefore, we must threaten him into silence. We're not doing this for a friend or to accomplish some other vital objective inside the jail. This mission exists purely to add a jailbreak level in the game. In terms of the story, we could eliminate the set-up, the mission itself, and the end without breaking any other plot element. It is filler in the most obvious sense.

But that could be forgiven if the game did anything interesting mechanically with this mission. However, that's not the case either. Our biggest, most important tool in this game are the hacks made possible with Aiden's cell phone. It is the basis for much of the gameplay, and gives us our omnipotence in the world. Yet instead of exploring how Aiden Pearce can manage without this tool, we get it back before we get control again and happen to end up in the only jail in the entire state that has CT_OS installed on it, which is other element needed for hacking.

This could also be an interesting non-combat mission, focusing primarily on stealth and staying undetected. That could also work, yet we are given a gun extremely quickly, and blast our way out with brute force. In other words, Ubisoft went out of their way to make this section virtually indistinguishable of most of the other missions in the games.

The only positive I can give it is that it delays the complete bullshit that is Damien Brenks, if only for about 10 minutes. I really can't stress enough how pointless his addition to the plot is. In the entire game, Damien may be the only person who deserves to get killed the moment Aiden Pearce comes into contact with him.

He adds nothing to this story. We have a hacker (Clara) who already gives us an easy way out to explain how Aiden Pearce can learn whatever fact we need him to for whatever story beat we have cooked up. Furthermore, we have no need to motivate Aiden into seeking revenge, because his entire character is about his inability to stop seeking revenge.

And remember, at the end of the day, this entire plot happened because someone's niece died, and his former partner-in-crime (literally) had his leg broken.

I hate this game.

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