Watch Dogs feature 3

Watch_Dogs – Xbox One Review Build Versus E3 2012 Build Comparison

Watch_Dogs is a game we are really looking forward to. WCCFTECH has released its review for Ubisoft’s upcoming open-world title, alongside some new video footage from it. Thankfully, this footage is captured during a rainy night, which is perfect for comparing it with that amazing E3 2012 build that was showcased a while back. So let’s go and take a look at the differences between them.

Naturally, we should note that the E3 2012 build was running on the PC while this new footage is from the Xbox One version. Though there will be slight differences between the current-gen console versions and the PC version, we don’t expect to see major improvements. On the left you can find the Xbox One review code and on the right the E3 2012 build.

Let’s stat with the biggest disappointment which is no other than the flying debris during huge explosions. WCCFTECH thankfully captured an explosion at a fuel station and as we can see, the Xbox One version lacks all the particle effects that wow’ed us back in 2012. By now, it’s obvious that the E3 2012 version either took advantage of Nvidia’s PhysX or had ‘pre-rendered destruction’. Either way, the end result on Xbox One is underwhelming when compared to the E3 2012 build.


Not only that, but the fire effects are way simpler in this latest build for current-gen consoles. It’s pretty obvious that Ubisoft downgraded the fire effects as they are not as impressive as it was back in 2012 (notice the fewer fire samples and the underwhelming smoke effects). The fact that we’re comparing fuel stations in both scenes makes this comparison as good as it can get.


Reflections also took a slight hit. As we can see, there are no reflections on the street from the lamps. Although the reflection system seems on par – in general – with the one featured in the E3 2012 build, it’s pretty clear that the number of reflected lights has been severely reduced. For example, the highlighted lamps are reflected on some water pools but not on the wet pavement, something that was not the case in the E3 2012 build. This obviously has an impact on the overall image quality.

WD_XboxOne_reducedreflectionsWD no 2012 reflections

Anamorphic lens-flares have also been reduced to minimum. While the E3 2012 build version had lots of anamorphic lens-flares, the latest version seems to have reduced them to only a couple. This may please some people as those effects were a bit disturbing (perhaps JJ Abraams did ask to get back his anamorphic lens-flares after all).

WD_XboxOne_no-anamorphic-lensflaresWatchDogs anamorphic les flares on_E3 2012

We will not be judging the texture quality as there is no point doing something like that for compressed YouTube videos. For that, we’ll have to wait until the games gets out. Moreover, the rainy night sequence on the Xbox One version seems to be lacking the fog effects that were featured on the E3 2012 build (as well as raindrops from roofs), though this may be due to different weather ‘rain’ types.

All in all, it’s obvious that the game has been downgraded. Reflections are not as ‘strong’ as those in the E3 2012 build and the explosion effects in the latest version are underwhelming. Anamorphic lens-flares have been reduced and the fire effects have been simplified.

Enjoy and stay tuned for more!

11. Watch Dogs Ubisoft E3 2012 Press Conference