Our hero, Aiden Pearce, is an empty trenchcoat as far as personality goes. It’s remarked at one point that he’s suppressing his personality, so it must be intentional, but it doesn’t make him a strong character. Fortunately the supporting cast is much more interesting. An enthusiastic and cavalier fixer, a gang leader who I affectionately refer to as Avon Barksdale: Superhacker, and a soft-spoken mob boss steal the show and make it a likeable and well-acted group. Character animations are elegantly done, too.
Watch Dogs’ completely open map is another big strength: it’s huge, diverse, and intricately detailed. The rural area of Pawnee balances out Chicago’s urban sprawl, and it all looks great, especially at sunset or during a rainstorm. Everything runs at a smooth 30 frames per second, however, after playing for a few hours I did start to experience frequent slowdowns when new mission objectives were loading up. Fortunately they never happened when anything interesting was going on, but they’re definitely noticeable and get progressively worse as the story goes on.