I'm back in the strategy guide reviewing game over at Keri Honea's Strategy Guide Reviews site where I've explored the kind of guide to Chicago that you won't find at the Chamber of Commerce or tourism board. Allow me to take you through the high and low points of the Prima Games guide to Ubisoft's Watch Dogs. What impressed me most was that the guide outlined multiple ways to accomplish key objectives with each method broken down by type of gameplay: aggressive, sneaky, etc. Here's a sample:
I wanted to explore Chicago on my own terms and at my own pace, so I made it a point not to over-rely on the strategy guide. I wanted to be surprised by every trick and curve the game tossed my way, so my method was to attempt a mission, feel free to fail it a few times, and only turn to the strategy guide if I was absolutely stumped. The first time I flipped open to a trouble spot, I was immediately impressed by the writing structure. The instructions don’t just outline how to complete a mission, they are presented in multiple play styles. Where applicable (which is most of the time), there are a variety of ways to complete a task based on the player’s preferred method. Do you go in guns blazing? Would you rather sneak around in the shadows to dodge enemies? Maybe you’re more the type that would rather climb up high, look down on the area, and remotely control the objects down below. No matter how you want to progress, the strategy guide lists a detailed set of directions for each mission and notes the approximate difficulty of each method. I was impressed by the attention to detail, and most of the book is made up of this section. Naturally there were parts of each mission’s guide that I did not use since I had to choose a method and see it through to the end, but I would rather be overprepared than underprepared.
While I didn't rely on the guide to walk me step by step through every objectives, it was a valuable resource when I became stuck by a tricky part of the game. I want to be surprised by games like Watch Dogs, not have the entire experience spread out before me, defined and inventoried. While this guide does offer that, I'm glad that it didn't expect me to use it that way. As for strategy guides in general, we'll be talking with Keri on an upcoming episode of the Power Button podcast, so keep an eye out for that.