Critics Unfairly Chastise Watch Dogs for Being “Repetitive?”

The world of Watch Dogs is very big but of course, you'll do certain things multiple times.

The world of Watch Dogs is very big but of course, you’ll do certain things multiple times.

Watch Dogs has enjoyed a relatively warm reception from the critics, although it probably isn’t scoring as high as Ubisoft hoped. For one of the better reviews out there, make sure to check Rob Smith’s excellent analysis.

As we continue to peruse the available reviews (we will eventually select another review worthy of recognition), we’ve noticed something: Many critics are pointing out that Watch Dogs can and often does feel repetitive.

We’re not saying it isn’t a viable complaint; it very likely is. However, why is it popping up in regards to this particular open-world, sandbox game? If we stop to think about it, don’t most games of this nature have a “repetitive” streak to them?

Last year’s Grand Theft Auto V was perhaps the most dynamic, diverse open-world game we’ve seen in a while and yet, you could still find some critics who used the word “repetitive” in their review. This year’s inFamous: Second Son was widely chastised for “kinda doing the same thing over and over,” and gamers leveled a similar complaint against Assassin’s Creed for the majority of the previous generation.

Yeah, we do a lot of the same things in Watch Dogs. We do a lot of the same things in ALL sandbox games.

Yeah, we do a lot of the same things in Watch Dogs. We do a lot of the same things in ALL sandbox games.

The bottom line is that such games have a certain structure, and depending on how you play, that structure will either come to the forefront or fade into the background. For instance, if you mostly stick to the story in these games, it probably won’t feel all that repetitive because each mission will task you with accomplishing distinct goals.

On the other hand, if you’re a completionist and you want to tackle everything the game has to offer, the repetition stands out clear. There are always certain types of missions you have to complete, and numerous ones, too. So yeah, you’ll spray paint a lot of walls and locate a lot of hidden cameras in Second Son, and you’ll track down plenty of single foes in a crowd in Assassin’s Creed, and you’ll loot another location and take down another set of faceless bad guys in…oh, just name the open-world title.

It’s how these games operate. But do particular titles get more of a pass when it comes to this perceived repetition? And is the opposite happening to Watch Dogs? Maybe the accepted formula has been around long enough that critics and gamers are calling for a change; it happened last generation with shooters and maybe now, as the open-world structure continues to become more and more popular, it’s happening in the sandbox genre as well.

Do you think critics are focusing too much on the repetitive nature of Watch Dogs?

4 thoughts on “Critics Unfairly Chastise Watch Dogs for Being “Repetitive?””

It is kind of unfair to pinpoint Watch Dogs when just about all open-world games do this. Maybe it just reached the tipping point and critics had to speak out, I dunno.

I’ve been saying for years, ever since the first Assassin’s Creed, that we repeat way too many of the same missions in open-world games.

The only time that doesn’t happen is in RPGs like The Elder Scrolls or Fallout. But then again, those are different types of games.

Even if it is repetitive, I don’t see the problem.

We could make the argument that basically every single video game is “repetitive” in one way or another. At least you have the freedom to do other things – and whenever you want – in sandbox adventures.

Well, the problem is that repetitive games start to feel boring, and it also feels like the developers were just being lazy.

If they’re still fun, that’s cool. I just don’t see why they couldn’t stay fresher a little longer…

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