The Art of Watch Dogs – Book Review

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We all know the story behind Watch Dogs. Aiden Pearce is out for revenge after a botched attack on his life left his niece dead. In a world filled with hackers, criminals and gangs, Aiden needs to work the network to his advantage, hacking anything and everything that he can.

But a story only works if there’s some form of background to each and every individual, place and item found in Ubisofts re imagining of Chicago and this is where ‘The Art of Watch Dogs’ comes to the fore.

Split across four chapters; Dramatis Personae, The Living City, The Underground and Everything is Connected, the book covers every single aspect of the Watch Dogs world and is packed to the rafters with sketches, concept art and behind the scene details that help bring Chicago to life.

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The Art of Watch Dogs couldn’t possibly cover every person found in the game but starting off with Dramatis Personae, it’s done a great job at giving us a further insight into the main guys. Obviously Aiden has been covered in great depth but you’ll also find more than a couple of pages of artistic renders of Clara, both before and after she took to the ink, some mysterious images of Defalt, a smattering of Watch Dogs’ charismatic duo Jordi Chin and T-Bone as well as several pages dedicated to the bad guys; Iraq and Lucky Quinn. Other than the coverage of Clara, it would have been nice to see a few more proper development renders other than the final art but I guess space is at a premium and has obviously been saved for the next chapter, The Living City.

And this is where the book really moves up a notch, thrusting it firmly into a ‘must have’ Watch Dogs accompaniment. Chicago is a place of contrast and the second chapter fully enforces this feeling by covering the many locations, shops and whereabouts with some art that is nothing short of top drawer. From the red brick and vintage architectural styles of The Loop to the brushed steel, clean lines and slick glass style of Mad Mile and the contrasting tumbledown shacks and aggressive locals found in Pawnee, you’ll get more than enough content to feast on and it really does drag you right back into the Watch Dogs mood.

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Chapter Three nails down the Underground goings on in Watch Dogs and is full of DedSecs ASCII style and Optical art. It also shows plenty of art found in the game that would otherwise be glossed over and rarely noticed. It’s a joy to see the love and dedication that has gone into creating even the smallest of murals in Chicago, even if it is barely noticeable whilst actually running through and playing the game. What it will do however is get you looking with a more detailed eye the next time you fire the game up on your Xbox One or Xbox 360.

And finally The Art of Watch Dogs comes to a close with a few pages detailing the real story behind the game – How the city is always connected and offers background into the ctOS system with some delightful pages showing the assets that are available for the player to control the city infrastructures.

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A hardback with forewords by two of the games art directors; Mathieu Leduc and Sidonie Weber, The Art of Watch Dogs is 144 glossy pages of the most intense illustrations and filled with enough information to blow the secrets of Watch Dogs’ city right out into the open. Promising to be the definitive gallery of the world of Aiden Pearce, it doesn’t go far wrong at all. I would personally have liked to have seen a little more background details with regards to the main characters but this is after all an ‘Art’ book focusing on sketches, concept art and rendering and it more than delivers on all counts.

The Art of Watch Dogs by Andy McVittie is available right now from Titan Books for £24.99. If you want to get a further insight into the connected city of Chicago, you could do an awful lot worse than buy it.

 

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