Watch Dogs Comparison – Latest Build versus E3 2012 & June 2013 Builds

After releasing its latest trailer for Watch Dogs, Ubisoft was ‘criticized’ for dumbing down the visuals of its open-world title. Well, time to see how this latest build stands compared to the initial E3 2012 and the June 2013 builds. For what is worth, the latest ‘story’ trailer was based on the next-gen version of the game (or at least that’s what the official Playstation Twitter account claimed), meaning that this is what you’ll be getting on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Let’s start with some good news. Ubisoft has implemented some new smoke particles that will remind you those of The Division. Truth be told, this is an upgrade from the old version in which there weren’t any ‘in_your_face’ smoke effects. There is no doubt that the updated smoke effects are better than those featured in the previous versions of the game.

WatchDogs smoke_newWatchDogs smoke_June2013

Moreover, the faces seem to be just as good as those featured in both the E3 2012 and the June 2013 builds when you are pretty close – if not identical – to them.

WatchDogs_faces2_newWatchDogs_faces2_E3 2012WatchDogs_faces1_newWatchDogs_faces1_E3 2012

Unfortunately, the latest builds seem to be lacking a lot of physics effects that were previously demonstrated. For example, in the E3 2012 build the environment was more ‘real’. Trees and umbrellas were swaying, something that cannot be noticed in both the June 2013 and the latest build. While there are some objects flying around in the June 2013 build, we can easily see that trees are not affected by the wind.

What’s also discouraging is the fact that the explosions have been severely dumbed down (in both visual and physics terms). In the initial E3 2012 there were a lot of debris from the explosions. Not only that, but in the E3 2012 build we could clearly notice the vehicles (environmental objects) being affected by the explosion. Compared to the E3 2012 build, the explosions in the latest builds feel rather weak and unimpressive.

Watch Dogs explosions_newWatch Dogs explosions_E3 2012
Furthermore, the city feels lifeless in the latest trailer. We don’t know whether Ubisoft decided to reduce the pedestrian count or whether the company chose ‘bad’ timezones. The point is that the city feels empty.

Watch Dogs city_newWatch Dogs city_June 2013

As if that wasn’t enough, it seems that Ubisoft has completely removed the anamorphic lens flares from the game. We don’t know whether there will be an option to enable them but they were surely not present in the latest trailer.

WatchDogs anamorphic les flares off_newWatchDogs anamorphic les flares on_E3 2012

Last but not least, there was an interesting Bokeh ‘bloom bleeding’ filter while entering bullet time mode in the E3 2012 build that affected the game’s overall lighting while firing. Unfortunately, that filter was replaced with a simpler one in the June 2013 build.

WatchDogs bullet mode_June 2013WatchDogs bullet mode_E3 2012

Before closing, Gamespot played the PS4 version of the game and streamed it online. And here is a comparison between the current PS4 version of Watch Dogs and the E3 2012 build.

All in all, this latest trailer for Watch Dogs looks definitely worse than its initial E3 2012 reveal. Due to the nature of those trailers (different weather plus different timezones) we can’t really comment on the lighting system, though we have to say that the latest build features reflections similar to those of the initial E3 2012 build (there are some scenes in which you can notice the reflections).

We are really looking forward to Watch Dogs and we’ll be sure to put it to the test on it gets out.

Enjoy all three in-engine trailers of Watch Dogs below!

John Papadopoulos

John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities.Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved - and still does - the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the "The Evolution of PC graphics cards." Contact: Email