Yeah, that’s right, you read the last part of that title correctly. “D.G.M.’s Gaming Life Before Gaming Respawn Part 36” is indeed the last article dedicated to this feature. It’s been quite a journey, I must say, but I’m finally ready to put this feature to rest. Good thing too, because it honestly was becoming more of a hassle than I thought it’d be. Still had a fun time with it, but the fact it’s ending is sort of a blessing for me. Perhaps my next feature will last longer and be less of a pain to write, who knows what the future holds? The last two games I will be discussing are honestly not too special if the comments I’ve seen from a number of gamers on a number of sites are to be believed. The first game is Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs and the second game is 2K Games and Turtle Rock’s Evolve. I enjoyed both games for what they were, then again, I’ve always been rather easy to please. Let’s find out exactly how much I liked them as we close out this feature.
Watch Dogs (PS4)
The thing that drew me most towards this game was its focus on a vigilante who uses technology (and guns) to take out criminals, sometimes even before they’re able to commit a crime. It reminded me of the tv series Person of Interest, which I’m surprised had received such relatively little attention during its five year run (as of this writing, there are only two episodes left before the series ends, dammit). Watch Dogs‘ main character, Aiden Pearce, is generally seen as a boring and flat protagonist caught up in the usual revenge drama, but I personally see a bit more in him. While Aiden is indeed not the most charming main character out there, I found him to be a realistically flawed yet tough individual who does what he can to protect those he cares for or those he views as innocent. He sometimes makes things worse as he goes about his vigilante type activities, but he performs plenty of good acts as well. Plus, he’s got quite the collection of snazzy long coats.
The open world of Chicago is full of crimes to stop, bad guys to shoot, and collectibles to find, most of which are miniature missions of their own. Getting around the city is no problem, mostly, since you can jack any vehicle you see or use an app to call a specific type of car to be sent to you. Speaking of apps and whatnot, Aiden’s phone is a sort of “super smartphone” known as the Profiler which comes with a number of features. He can use it to hack into the city’s centralized surveillance system known as ctOS and screw around with different parts of the city in many ways, usually to slow down pursuing criminals or police. Some of these tricks include manipulating street lights, opening folding bridges, causing steam pipes underneath the streets to burst, raising road barriers, causing blackouts, and so on. The Profiler can also be used in many situations to take out enemy patrols from a distance without Aiden even having to fire a single shot from a gun. Aiden can get a lay of the land by hacking security cameras and marking enemies, then he can take his enemies out by blowing up electrical grids in their faces, detonating grenades they may be carrying, causing cranes to drop containers onto them as they wander underneath, etc. Thankfully, in situations where hacking electronics is not possible, Aiden is still fully capable of kicking further ass with his arsenal of guns, grenades, bombs, and his telescopic baton.
As I mentioned before, there is plenty of driving in Watch Dogs, so it’s unfortunate that the driving controls themselves are rather finicky with many of the vehicles operating like slick poop. They either turn way too quickly or they barely turn at all, with only a handful of cars operating relatively smoothly. Strangely, boats seem to handle better overall, which is very unusual. The story is also pretty good and has a few twists here and there, but it’s mostly predictable. Nevertheless, I really like its style and subject matter. The whole outlaw vigilante stopping crimes and seeking to avenge the loss of a loved one is a rather appealing premise for me. And I hadn’t even mentioned the fun mini-games Aiden can play using his phone and a special earpiece to send images directly into his brain. These games include “Alone” where Aiden must use stealth to sneak past an endless number of camera-headed robots through a deserted Chicago as he activates generators to destroy the robots, “Madness” where Aiden drives a heavily armored post-apocalyptic super car and runs over demons with flaming heads in a hellish version of Chicago, and “Spider-Tank” (by far my favorite mini-game) where Aiden pilots a large, robotic spider and destroys everything in sight as he accomplishes different objectives. Oh, how I wish Ubisoft would take a break from Assassin’s Creed and make a full game based on “Spider-Tank”.
The DLC Bad Blood takes place about a year after the events of the main game and puts you in the role of secondary character and legendary renegade hacker Raymond Kenney, better known as T-Bone. Controlling much like Aiden, T-Bone can use his own Profiler, as well as guns and a combination of a large wrench and taser, to cause havoc for his enemies who seek to do away with him and his allies. One gadget exclusive to T-Bone is Eugene, an RC car he can use to deactivate security measures, scope out enemy positions, incapacitate enemies with its built-in taser, and even detonate itself with C4 to kill a large collection of enemies (don’t worry, T-Bone can rebuild Eugene as long as he has some spare parts on him). The missions he undertakes are very similar to those Aiden goes on in the main game, but are also different enough so that they provide their own flavor of fun and mayhem. Basically, Watch Dogs is not an exceptional game, but it received a lot of undeserved hatred and bashing from lots of gamers when it was originally released for rather ridiculous reasons. It’s not perfect, but the game is still plenty of fun and is far from being the abomination so many other gamers have claimed it to be. Watch Dogs gets a score of 85%.
Now we’ve come to the final game I will be discussing in the final issue of this feature…Evolve. I took a chance on this game, and while I wouldn’t call it a complete waste, it ended up not being entirely worth it for me. But again I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s discuss the game in more detail. Firstly, I’m not much of a competitive multiplayer gamer and prefer to spend my time getting lost in the immersive escapism that can really only be achieved in single-player experiences, preferably ones with good stories. Still, this game intrigued me with its rather unique premise of four Hunters, all controlled by different players, finding and killing a large, powerful Monster, also controlled by another player. Those who craved working together with other players in a cooperative aspect to take down a common enemy would find the Hunter gameplay to be right up their alley, while those who wanted to become a ferocious beast whose sole purpose is to survive and destroy its enemies need look no further than playing as the Monster. This all sounded much more interesting to me than the countless other multiplayer experiences that normally amount to a bunch of dudes shooting or perhaps slicing each other in team based deathmatches, so I decided to give Evolve a try. Unfortunately, this game ended up being one of those endeavors that sounded better on paper compared to how it actually played in reality.
Honestly, the gameplay is solid and well-balanced. The Hunters can really mess up the Monster quickly if they work together and help each other out when they need to, while the Monster player can decimate a Hunter team if he/she puts his/her mind to it and plays smartly. The game does have a very high learning curve though, one that many players wouldn’t be (and aren’t) willing to deal with for very long at all. I personally found playing as the Monster to be a more difficult role to play overall, but at the same time it was FAR more satisfying to win a match as the Monster compared to winning a match as one of the Hunters. Not to say that playing as one of the very diverse Hunters with classes consisting of Medic, Assault, Support, and Trapper wasn’t satisfying, but it could certainly be more irritating when you’re stuck with a team of players who don’t know what they’re doing, which could quickly lead to even an average Monster player killing your entire team in a matter of minutes. I had my fair share of frustrating matches with Evolve, but I also had a good number of satisfying victories that admittedly made my video gaming pride swell, and to this day I still watch some of the recorded gameplay of previous matches I undertook in this game because of how damn satisfying they were (lame, I know, so sue me).
However, this aspect of satisfaction was greatly held back by the game’s lack of content. For one thing, the game was released with only three Monsters and three teams of Hunters; more were added as DLC, but they weren’t exactly cheap. There was a respectable number of game modes at launch, but really only the main Hunt mode was of any real fun. Having a dedicated group of friends to play the game with is also preferable to playing against a random collection players who more times than not don’t know what they’re doing. The worst part about Evolve, at least to me, was its lack of a story campaign. Yes, you could play custom matches against the AI, but they normally paled in comparison to playing matches with and against other players. Playing against the AI was really only useful as practice, up to a point. The closest thing we get to a story campaign is Evacuation Mode, where you play as either the Hunters or Monster in 5 consecutive matches, and whichever side has the best overall score at the end of it all is the winner. But there’s no narrative in this mode whatsoever, and even this mode could be played both online and offline. I was really disappointed in this game’s lack of a story, especially since there actually is a surprisingly deep lore “hidden” in the background, but we can only really find out about it through randomized dialogue among the Hunters before and during matches, but it’s easy to miss a lot of these story points unless you play enough matches with enough combinations of characters to hear what they all have to say to one another.
Allow me to add just how well the game actually plays (with a solid connection). The different Hunters have a unique collection of different weapons and gadgets like flamethrowers, assault rifles, mortar cannons, shield generators, healing guns, and the like, while the Monsters range from brutish tanks, evasive flyers, stealthy teleporters, etc. One thing you have to admit about Turtle Rock, they made all the different characters well balanced and have memorable designs. With its highly diverse cast of Hunter characters and awesomely designed Monsters (I freakin’ LOVE the Goliath), this is a game that really should have had some type of narrative to tie everything together; it certainly would have helped in keeping my attention longer. In the end, this game is not horrible and can actually be pretty fun, but it’s far from perfect and just has lots of stuff and features missing that could have taken it much further and made it more popular. If they ever release a sequel, here’s hoping they add these left out features, or better yet, here’s hoping they just update the current game further (especially with more meaningful single-player content). Evolve gets a score of 77%.
And that’s it. This marks the end of “D.G.M.’s Gaming Life Before Gaming Respawn”. I hope you all enjoyed this 36 week long journey with me. If not…well, I’m honestly not going to lose much sleep over that. Still, I hope those who did enjoy this feature have taken something out of it, namely that they may have been convinced to try out some of these games if they haven’t already, and that they also stay away from the games that I very clearly marked as “lousy”; if my suffering from a particularly bad game can prevent even one other gamer from going through that same suffering, then I’ve done my job. While this feature is over, I’ll still be around here in Gaming Respawn to write future reviews and eventually a newer feature (hopefully). As always, please check out some more Gaming Respawn goodness below:
Continuing his apparent “Japanese gaming kick”, Will tries out a potential guilty pleasure game in Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus. Find out if Will experienced any pleasure at all or just ended up feeling guilty by checking out his review of the game here.
Ian reviews the new PS4 edition of SteamWorld Heist over here.
Steve Gill gets his shooting game on in his review of Enter the Gungeon, which you can find here.
In between his time playing 3D platformers and Japanese-themed games, Will apparently enjoys some cerebral sleuthing as Sherlock Holmes, so find out his take on the latest game about the deductive detective by taking a look at his review of Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter over here.
It’s E3 time again, and this one’s shaping up to be a great one with lots of exciting announcements and reveals. Take a look at this list (or round-up) of Bethesda’s many E3 announcements over here. Afterwards, if you’re like me and you had some reservations about Ubisoft’s upcoming For Honor, then this new gameplay trailer should put those reservations to rest. Finally, if you’ve been waiting for any kind of update on the next rumored God of War title, then this gameplay trailer should indeed satisfy you.