When Ubisoft’s open-world vigilante hacking game Watch Dogs was first revealed at E3 2012, gamers worldwide “oohed” and “aahed” over the high definition graphics and the detailed portrayal of Ubisoft Montreal’s alternate version of Chicago. When another gameplay trailer for Watch Dogs was released in fall 2013, however, it wasn’t long before there was an outcry over what appeared to be a noticeable downgrade in the graphics.
That’s not to say that Watch Dogs‘ graphics upon its final release were bad, but for a game that was (prior to its delay) going to be one of the major titles to launch the new console generation, Watch Dogs didn’t represent the massive leap forward that many were hoping for. It did get a PC release however, and with PC releases come PC graphics mods.
Watch Dogs has only been out for a few weeks, so expect plenty more mods to come in the future, but for now a modder going by the online handle TheWorse on Guru3D claims to have unpacked the PC version’s code and created a mod that restores some of the effects seen in the original reveal trailer that later disappeared – in particular the “E3 2012 bloom” effect for the game’s lighting. The mod is a work in progress, currently at version 0.6, but includes changes to the game’s weather (rain and fog) and also enabled headlight shadows for some great noir-ish effects. Check out some stills from the modded version of Watch Dogs below.
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As it’s still an early version the mod can cause some visual glitches like flickering and stuttering, but for those who want to get their games looking as beautiful as possible on PC this mod is definitely worth taking for a spin.
The lack of headlight shadows wasn’t the only graphical oddity in the vanilla version Watch Dogs. Because of the kind of processing power it would take to render real-time reflections in the huge, glass windowed buildings of Chicago, reflective surfaces in the game will often appear to show an alternate universe rather than what’s actually in front of them. Perhaps we’ll get massive real-time reflections in the next console generation.
Tell us if you’re a fan of this graphics mod – or if you’ve managed to track down a better one – in the comments.
Watch Dogs is now available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The Wii U version is aiming for a fall 2014 release.