Ubisoft only knows how to make these open world games with paper-thin story lines and lots of side challenges that don’t amount to much. I had already played the sequel (which I got for free) before I had played Watch Dogs (which I also got for free). Apparently, if you wait long enough, all Ubisoft games will eventually be free. I knew what to expect going into this: lots of “hacking” which consists of vaguely Pipe Dreams style puzzles or, more often, just holding down the “Q” key. My main reason for not passing on this was the prospect of exploring a virtual Chicago. Turns out in Montreal they think Chicago is surrounded by rolling hills and filled with exploding steam pipes.
The game does what it does well enough. I suppose I could have spent hours and hours finishing side missions, but the fact of the matter is that much of the tasks are just not very interesting. Taking down gang hideouts is fun and a few of the racing challenges are okay, but that’s about it. Some of the more hacker-ish things are just about looking for the correct camera or following glowing wires until you reach a box with a “Hack” icon above it. Watch Dogs 2 is superior in most respects. In that game you get drones and other tools to exploit. There is far more variety and fun to be had in virtual San Francisco, so skip this one and play the sequel.