A couple of days ago, we compared the Xbox One final version of Watch_Dogs with the E3 2012 PC build. Blasphemy, they said. How can you compare a console version with the PC build, they said. Well, the reason was quite obvious why we decided to do such a thing. You see, we strongly believed that all major effects were present in the Xbox One version, meaning that there wouldn’t be major differences between them. And we were right as there are no ‘specific’ particles effects available on the PC (other than HBAO+ and TXAA).
But anyway, time to take a look at the final PC build of Watch_Dogs and find out whether it was downgraded from its E3 2012 build or not.
Let’s start with the beginning of the E3 2012 demo. Right from the start, we can notice some major differences between the two builds. Umbrellas that were casting additional dynamic shadows during the day are missing, the store on the left seems enterable, reflections on its windows are way better than those of the final version, and tress are bigger and ‘richer’ (with more details). And as if this wasn’t enough, most of the manholes (from where smoke was emerging) have been removed (left image courtesy of PCGamesHardware).
The E3 2012 version of Watch_Dogs also featured additional raindrops effects that – for some weird reason – have been removed from the final version. We strongly believe that this effect was not THAT demanding, however it’s obvious that some of the E3 2012 raindrops are not present in the final version.
One of our biggest gripe with the final version of Watch_Dogs are the downgraded explosions. At this point, we are not aware whether Nvidia and Ubisoft plan to release a PhysX patch with ‘richer’ explosions. However, the game’s explosions at the time or writing are underwhelming and do not come close to those featured in the E3 2012 demo. The gas station explosion – in particular – has been severely downgraded.
Reflections were also reduced. While the E3 2012 build felt gorgeous with all those reflected lights, the final build feels kind of ’empty’. While the reflection system is still in place, the number of reflected lights has been greatly decreased.
Anamorphic lens-flares were also removed from all cars’ headlights. We strongly believe that Ubisoft should reduce this effect but not completely remove it. Yes, anamorphic lens-flares were kind of annoying during the E3 2012 build but they added something to the game’s atmosphere. A simple decrease of their strength would be ideal.
All in all, it’s obvious – by now – that the final PC build is nowhere close to the E3 2012. This does not mean that Watch_Dogs is not a great looking game. Still, this comparison proves that the E3 2012 build featured more details. This comparison also proves that our previous comparisons were valid, and that the PC version does not pack any specific FX (other than TXAA and HBAO+) that is exclusive to it. In short, yes; while the game looks stunning, it has been downgraded.
Enjoy the following video from our reader ‘Jonathan Gustafsson’, showing the PC version at max settings!