Watch Dogs Game Review (2024)

Parents Say: age 12+ Watch Dogs Game Review (1) 67 reviews

Any Iffy Content? Watch Dogs Game Review (2) Read more

Talk with Your Kids About… Watch Dogs Game Review (3) Read more

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

  • Positive Messages

    very little

    Watch Dogs is about a hacker trying to go after a criminal mastermind -- but in addition to hacking into Chicago's city systems, players can use guns, explosives, and other weapons to kill human enemies, including police officers.

  • Positive Role Models

    very little

    You play as the young Aiden Pearce, a hacker determined to use his tech skills -- as well as spying tools, weapons handling, and driving abilities -- to take down a malevolent leader of the underworld. Although Aiden is a "good guy," he kills several humans, including police officers, and can drive and shoot recklessly throughout the city -- not a great example of model behavior. But you can choose to knock out an enemy when sneaking up behind him, instead of killing him.

  • Ease of Play

    some

    Watch Dogs can be a challenging game, as there are many elements to the third-person adventure; players will use stealth, combat, racing, and hacking electronics to accomplish mission objectives. The introductory tutorial level does a good job of walking the player through all the mechanics. Those familiar with games such as the Grand Theft Auto series might feel right at home with this open "sandbox"-style game.

    Note: This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version, but other platforms are available.

  • Violence & Scariness

    a lot

    Using a wide variety of weapons -- fists, knives, pistols, machine guns, assault rifles, and explosives -- you must kill several hundred human enemies, some of whom are police officers (others are criminals). Some non-interactive scenes depict violence, too, including someone repeatedly stabbed in the neck. There's blood in the game but no over-the-top gore. Players can drive recklessly throughout the city and also can hack into traffic systems to cause accidents that can kill enemies.

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  • Sex, Romance & Nudity

    a lot

    Scenes with topless women, as well as obscured scenes of sexual intercourse, oral sex performed on a man, and masturbation. Aiden can read information or overhear conversations; one such bit of information says a male character purchases many condoms.

    Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.

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  • Language

    a lot

    Strong profanity throughout many of the dialogue sequences, including "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole," along with "hell," "damn," "bastard," and "bitch."

    Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.

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  • Products & Purchases

    a little

    Although there are no overt product placements within the game, Watch Dogs is the start of a new gaming franchise. There are lots of online sites promoting merchandise based on the game and on the main character for consumers to buy.

  • Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

    a lot

    Aiden can consume large amounts of alcohol, which impairs his vision. In at least one non-interactive cut-scene sequence, characters can be seen injecting themselves with needles containing narcotics.

    Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.

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  • Parents Need to Know

    Parents need to know that Watch Dogs is a very mature game that lets players "hack" into a city's communications, surveillance, and transportation systems; kill several human characters (including police officers) using a wide variety of weapons; and drive recklessly through an open "sandbox"-style urban environment (à la Grand Theft Auto). Cut-scene sequences show scenes of violence and blood; there's also nudity and scenes with sexual activity (including masturbation and oral sex), as well as strong profanity in the dialogue sequences ("f--k," "s--t," and more). Players can choose to have their character consume large amounts of alcohol, and some characters are shown injecting narcotics.

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  • Parents say (67)
  • Kids say (106)

age 12+

Based on 67 parent reviews

Jake Romeo Parent of 12-year-old

November 23, 2022

age 12+

Yes this game does have some violence in it we can all agree. There is this setting in the settings menu to turn blood and gore off. You can turn swearing off too. This games great and you may see sex and nudity in it. That's only in the free play. After you complete the campagin you unlock free play. In the free play you can visit strip clubs and have sex. The campaign has non of this at all. My 12 year old son plays it. Great game and definitely let your 12 year old kid play it.

Elijah E. Adult

May 12, 2019

age 15+

Leave this one for older teens.

This was a very fun game with a compelling story line. You are a hacker who is put in to take down gangsters in Chicago trafficking drugs and slaves. Very fun open world experience. The thing is is that this game does have strong sexual content because in one mission the gangs are shipping sex slaves and there are naked breasts, buttocks. The good thing is is that there are no sexual acts shown and you’re player is the hero who is there to take down these gangs and help the city, kinda like Batman. Strong language occasionally, but can be turned off in the settings. Action packed fun game for teens. Hope this helps.

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What’s It About?

WATCH DOGS is set in the near future in an open-world Chicago. The third-person adventure follows a hacker named Aiden Pearce who taps into the city's central computer system, allowing him to digitally eavesdrop on mobile phone conversations, toy with traffic lights to slow down a dangerous target, and access security cameras on demand. Along with the high-tech premise and "sandbox"-style, go-anywhere gameplay -- which incorporates a lot of weapons-heavy shootouts, driving-related objectives, and stealthy on-foot missions -- Pearce also must tap into his connections to successfully complete the game. Along with a single-player campaign, you can opt to connect in-game with others, including friends. Note: All versions of the game -- among PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC -- are more or less the same.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:

Parents say (67):

Kids say (106):

For all its mature content, Watch Dogs is an extraordinary game. With an underlying theme about government surveillance versus our perceived freedoms in the West, the game tries to do it all. It mostly succeeds: You can be a hacker, a spy, a vigilante, a soldier, a race car driver, a collector, an interrogator, and a detective all rolled into one interactive entertainment experience. For example, on one mission, you're eavesdropping on a subject to ensure it's the right person before you engage in gunfire. Then you obtain a critical piece of evidence before you flee the scene on foot, car, or boat (be sure to raise the drawbridge while you're on it, so your pursuers won't make it). You get the idea.

Those who don't want to game alone can partake in online races and decryption matches (two teams of four) to add to the fun, not to mention four kinds of "digital trip" mini-games and side missions such as collecting or scanning items. Despite its ambition to give you everything in one game, Watch Dogs does in fact live up to its hype. Even though we're introduced to other members of Aiden's family (who play a key role in his motives), it's unfortunate that we don't become emotionally invested in him. Perhaps Ubisoft will deliver a more compelling character in a future sequel. Still, overall, this multi-platform title is one of the best of 2014 so far -- albeit for mature players only.

Talk to Your Kids About ...

  • Families can talk about the idea that Aiden is supposed to be a "good guy." Do you think that means it's OK for him to use violence and his hacking abilities to stop an evil mastermind? Or is there no real ethical distinction if the actions are the same?

  • Aiden can choose to knock unconscious some enemies he sneaks up on rather than killing them. Does this option justify his motives? Parents, talk to your kids about the impact of violence in media.

Game Details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online?: Not available online
  • Publisher: UbiSoft
  • Release date: May 26, 2014
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Topics: Adventures
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

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Watch Dogs Game Review (2024)
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