All this GPU benchmarking, crash fixing, and performance optimizing later, I think it's about time we officially comment on Watch Dogs as more than a benchmarking tool. It is, after all, a vexingly-hyped game leaving a $68 million footprint in Ubisoft's budget. Putting things in perspective, Battlefield 4's budget hit nearly $100 million (and look how that turned out), Destiny's budget is $140 million, but even that is still pennies to GTA V's $265 million budget.

All the millions in the world, though, and I'm not sure Watch Dogs would ever be classifiable as "good" or "playable" for PC gamers.

watch-dogs-rev1A screenshot of one of Watch Dogs' bugs, credit to EuanMcCann.

This critical review will cover inexcusable hardware optimization concerns, PC control inadequacies, and major gameplay elements that prevent enjoyment of Watch Dogs.

Published in Games

We've put together a quick FPS performance optimization & screenshot settings guide for Watch Dogs, using configuration file tweaking to improve framerate. Our previous article/video guide for Watch Dogs covers removal of mouse acceleration and smoothing, and before that, we benchmarked Watch Dogs' performance on PCs, calling it 'horribly optimized.'

watch-dogs-performance

Here's the video tutorial for tweaking the Watch Dogs GamerProfile.xml file:

Update: Our very critical review of Watch Dogs is now online here.

Published in Gaming Features

It wouldn't be a launch party without an accompanying round of 'crash fixes.' After the Titanfall crash fix guide, Skyrim launch, and Mass Effect 3 launch, it's become apparent that no AAA title ships without numerous, game-breaking defects. The same is true for Watch Dogs.

watch-dogs-screen2

We've already published a benchmark of the game's performance on numerous video cards -- highlighting its sub-par optimization issues -- and a mouse acceleration fix. Still, even with this behind us, tearing, stuttering, crashing / CTDs, freezing, and black screen / flickering issues run rampant in Watch Dogs.

Let's start with graphics issues that are easily resolved.

Update: We have an FPS optimization guide online now! Once you've got your crashes resolved, check out our FPS performance optimization guide + video.

Update: Our very critical review of Watch Dogs is now online here.

Published in Gaming Features

With the much anticipated release of Watch Dogs, nVidia is ensuring that users are getting the best-looking game they possibly can by releasing their newest 337.88 driver. The driver, by the way, is up for download here. It is no secret that nVidia has been working with developers, such as Ubisoft, to provide more realistic effects in games through their GameWorks program. Technology like TXAA, PhysX, and HBAO+ are some. But the partnership between Ubisoft and nVidia also leads to nVidia having ample time to optimize their drivers. In fact, nVidia claims that these drivers will boost framerates up to 75% in certain configurations and games, and although I am skeptical of this and will wait until our own benchmarks to draw conclusions, it is promising to see nVidia putting effort into their drivers like this.

Update: We’ve benchmarked Watch_Dogs on multiple GPUs and two CPUs. See the results here. nvidia-sli-watch-dogs

Published in Hardware

Game developers seem to have gotten it into their heads that gamers want mouse acceleration in all of their games. Skyrim is an example of this. In fact, my guide for removing Skyrim's mouse acceleration is one of our most popular articles on the site, showing just how much gamers want the feature. Apparently Ubisoft's decided to take a crack at forcing unpredictable, oft-sluggish / laggy-feeling mouse controls into Watch_Dogs.

watch-dogs-screen1

Luckily, a quick configuration file tweak can remove mouse acceleration, reveal ports for forwarding, field of view, and other graphics settings. Before getting started, check out our recent Watch Dogs video card & CPU benchmark.

Update: We've posted an additional crash fix guide! If you're experiencing crashing to desktop, blue screens, and inability to connect to Uplay servers, check out our newest guide.

Update: Our very critical review of Watch Dogs is now online here.

Published in Gaming Features

The Watch Dogs launch has been a worrisome one for PC hardware enthusiasts. We've heard tale of shockingly low framerates and poor optimization since Watch Dogs was leaked ahead of shipment, but without official driver support from AMD and limited support from nVidia, it was too early to call performance. Until this morning.

watch-dogs-bench-1

At launch, AMD pushed out its 14.6 beta drivers alongside nVidia's 337.88 beta drivers. Each promised performance gains in excess of 25% for specific GPU / Watch Dogs configurations. As we did with Titanfall, I've run Watch Dogs through our full suite of GPUs and two CPUs (for parity) to determine which video cards are best for different use cases of the game. It's never as clear-cut as "buy this card because it performs best," so we've broken-down how different cards perform on various settings.

In this Watch Dogs PC video card & CPU benchmark, we look at the FPS of the GTX 780 Ti, 770, 750 Ti, R9 290X, R9 270X, R7 250X, and HD 7850; to determine whether Watch Dogs is bottlenecked on a CPU level, I also tested an i5-3570K CPU vs. a more modern i7-4770K CPU. The benchmark charts below give a good idea of what video cards are required to produce playable framerates at Ultra/Max, High, and Medium settings.

Update: Our very critical review of Watch Dogs is now online here.

Published in Game Benchmarks

It wasn't long ago that AMD updated their Never Settle Forever bundle to include several new games. In the usual return fire, today we see nVidia offering the impending Watch_Dogs game with their GTX 760, 770, 780, and 780 Ti.

watch-dogs-specs

We've previously spoken about the Watch_Dogs PC system requirements and recommended specs over here, but to refresh everyone (including updated info):

Published in News

Ubisoft's upcoming multiplayer open-world game, Watch_Dogs, has been set for a May 27 release date and just had its system requirements and recommended specs detailed.

watch-dogs-specs

Watch_Dogs Creative Director Jonathan Morin recently tweeted that the requirements are as below; we'll analyze the Watch_Dogs minimum system requirements & recommended system specs, hopefully providing some insight as to why the game requires so much RAM.

Published in News

Update: The trademark abandonment filing was fraudulent and unauthorized by Ubisoft's CEO, as the initial filing indicated. The USPTO website states:

On February 1, 2014, Ubisoft Entertainment received an email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. notifying Ubisoft Entertainment that a Request for Express Abandonment had been filed in connection with Application Serial No. 85642398. The Request for Express Abandonment purports to be signed by the Chief Executive Officer of Ubisoft Entertainment, Yves Guillemot. 

Mr. Guillemot, however, did not sign the Request for Express Abandonment, nor did Ubisoft Entertainment file the Request for Express Abandonment. The Request for Express Abandonment is fraudulent and was not filed by Ubisoft Entertainment or its representative.

As of this filing, the Office has not yet issued a Notice of Abandonment.

Thanks to reader JoshBrodieNZ for the tip.

The web was just hit with a frenzy of articles about Ubisoft filing an "express abandonment" of its "WATCH DOGS" trademark; we've seen articles and forum posts buzzing about the possibility of an Assassin's Creed rebrand, cancellation, and other nonsense, but we're fairly positive that this isn't anything beyond the usual technicalities that arise when dealing with trademarks.

watchdoge(I'm so sorry).

This all started when NeoGAF forum member Rösti spotted Ubisoft's Express Abandonment filing on the USPTO website, as seen below. Ubisoft holds six trademarks for the Watch Dogs brand, but the one abandoned was for its game software, which is what caused the stir.

Published in News

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