Watch Dogs is yours free forever if you download it now

When I wrote my Watch Dogs review back in 2014, I thought the third-person grand-theft-hack-’em-up was an off-brand multipack of slightly stale crisps. Yet I’m excited that the game is free this week and that if you download it now via Uplay, it’s yours to keep forever.

Ubisoft are offering the game for free through their digital distribution service until 4pm on November 13th. If you login to your Uplay client (as if you don’t have it running all the time, hey?) then you should be presented with the offer on the main screen. Otherwise you can sign up for Uplay for free and download the client first.

I’m excited about the game going free because of its multiplayer modes, which let you hack into other players’ games without them realising. Sometimes you’d need to tail a target for a certain amount of time, or sometimes you’d need to follow and then hack them, at which point they’d be alerted to your presence. Both these modes were thrilling. In the case of the latter, you needed to pick a good spot to begin your hack, then hide until a countdown had finished. Hiding might mean nipping around the game’s open world architecture, or it might mean trying to blend in with crowds of pedestrians like a simplified Spy Party. I kept returning to it for months after release, as the playerbase available to invade quickly dwindled.

Now that the game’s free, maybe there’ll be new players to hack and tail. Maybe I’m in your game right now. Who knows.

42 Comments

  1. TheGamerDad says:

    This game wasn’t nearly as bad as a lot have claimed. It’s not nearly as good as it could have been though, starting with the boring-as-all-hell, generic, angry, protagonist white dude. Hacking instead of going in guns blazing was pretty clever and the Chicago metroplex was cool. Some of the subplots were really disturbing yet amazing though. (Seriously, try to find the recordings of the would-be assassin who triggered the whole set of events. You’ll look at him completely differently when you encounter him at the end of the game.) I have no regrets buying it, but I haven’t yet played WD2 to see what they improved. Besides, it’s free. At least try it out if you like open-world games.

    • durrbluh says:

      I never picked the game up until now, as watching 20 minutes of the “let’s play” left me with the impression you’ve described above: “boring-as-all-hell, generic, angry, protagonist white dude”. His name might as well have been “John Smith” for all the depth of his character and story.

    • DinoSteak says:

      Agreed. Watch Dogs was actually quite a bit of fun for the time and parts still hold up really well today. The plot is fairly interesting and you get real rewards for exploration that pay off if finished parallel to the main story… which I always felt was fantastic design. Certainly better than GTAIV-esque offerings of the time in that regard. The driving felt floaty, but was actually fairly fun overall when working to complete the driving missions and using a fully upgraded Ethan.

  2. Robert The Rebuilder says:

    I enjoyed the mini-games in this much more than the overall plot.

    When Pokemon Go came out, I had immediately thought of the AR games in Watch Dogs.

    • emertonom says:

      This is what I was going to say, although my particular favorite game in it was the “Digital Trip” in which you wreak havoc using a giant mechanical spider, rather than the AR parkour games.

  3. Jalan says:

    The game’s Steam forum is a fun place right now.

    I guess it really is hard to believe that getting it through Uplay doesn’t mean you get it through everywhere else free as well.

  4. Crafter says:

    the plot of this game was pretty toxic, it really turned me off.

    The ending was equally awful with the protagonist turned into some sort of creepy superhero.

    The gameplay was a poor’s man gta with the inclusion of hacking, that could be awesome but it was so badly designed that it ended up in contextual action ‘press x to hack’. That just does not work well in a sandbox game outside of the couple of story areas designed for this.

    The souls-like multiplayer was an awesome inclusion, but it was not enough to keep me interested.

  5. caff says:

    Seems like a cunning ploy to get a bigger user base on Uplay but hey, whatever it’s a decent game and like Graham says it’s got great cat and mouse multiplayer. The UK is crap (console-fied) bit once you get over that it’s alright.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      You’ve got a lot of nerve saying that the UK is crap on a site like this (unless you meant UI instead :P).

    • Crafter says:

      Yeah .. we need better vocabulary.

      It is not free, it is used as a way to get more people on UPlay.
      If you are one of the few on this platform, then yeah the cost is probably negligible.

      If you don’t, in exchange Ubi gets less friction on your next Uplay purchase, your mail address to send you ads, etc .

      I am not saying that it is a mischievous plot or anything, just that I wish we had more nuance than the magical ‘free’ word.

      • AyeBraine says:

        Still, I got Far Cry 3 for Uplay for free with my PSU, and now Watch Dogs for Uplay for free with my Uplay. That I’ve already got. I’m very positive that these two will remain there until the next free Uplay game comes up. Then I’ll launch Uplay again. )

  6. MikoSquiz says:

    Uplay is telling me that it’s “sold out”.

  7. ye-ole-PK says:

    There is nothing that ubi can do to make me put uplay on any computer any more. I got burned with homm6

    “uplay=no way”

    • Blad the impaler says:

      Hear hear!

    • klops says:

      Same thing with homm6 and same thing with never again. There’s plenty of great games that I haven’t played so I can easily ignore those that need Uplay.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      For me the main problem with having multiple game stores is that is the less used ones always need a major update before you get to the game. I know steam does, but I use it enough that it is always up to date. I got so frustrated with having to update both the store and then the game with EA and Ubi that I uninstalled both. Nowadays I stick to steam – it is not as if there is a shortage of games to play.

  8. kalirion says:

    I don’t think you need to “download it now”, do you? I clicked on the offer, logged into uplay in a browser, and got a message about the game being added to my Uplay account. Never even launched the client.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorLag says:

      That’s good. I rarely turn down a free game, and I have a Uplay account for… who the hell knows what game, but I wasn’t about to actually install the client and launch it for a game I might never play.

      21st century problems.

  9. worzak says:

    Funny how Its sold out on uplay now..

    • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

      Huh, I just picked it up (as in, literally less than a minute ago). Regional thing maybe?

    • Jay Load says:

      Yep, I just got it too. Did as someone above suggested – logged in to the website, got it added to my account.

      Ubisoft will always have my most withering contempt just for being who they are but I’m not too proud to stoop for a free game.

  10. jellydonut says:

    Nice try, but I’m not making a Uplay account, Ubisoft.

    Mostly because I already have one and you idiots won’t let me reset my password on it.

    • Ogun says:

      Have tried to reset my password on uplay a number of times over the past few years (usually when there’s a promotion/ad campaign – but they shouldn’t be running campaigns if they’re not setting the servers up to cope with an influx of password resets) and always seem to get a server error message, e.g. “The request timed out while forwarding to the backend service.”

      This story reminded me to try again and it still isn’t working. I’m not trying to get a copy of watch________dogs, I just want to stop them emailing me, but you can’t change your email preferences until you log in..

  11. gruia says:

    lul, if it was on steam id add this shit for kicks .. but otherwise

  12. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    sold out yea

  13. fish99 says:

    I tried to play this game a few months ago, only to find it runs worse, way worse, on my GTX1070 than it used to on my GTX970. It just stuttered no matter what settings I used.

    I just assumed nvidia had somehow broken support for the game in recent drivers and played something else instead.

    Anyone else get the same?

  14. cardigait says:

    Thanks, just got it.

  15. helloitsme says:

    Direct link for Watch Dogs :)
    link to freetrial.ubisoft.com

    (Fixed the “sold out” error for me)

  16. RubberbandAU says:

    Never understood the negativity for this game, maybe due to the Ubi BS with the graphics at E3?

    I found the story and characters engaging enough to enjoy the game but maybe everyone is playing academy award winning AAA games I don’t know about.

  17. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    The moment when I realized that Watch Dogs would let me complete an objective without even entering the area where it was located (via bouncing between security cameras and body cameras on the guards) was kind of magical. Unfortunately it’s a lot weaker when it isn’t focused on the hacking, which is too much of the time, and the story is straight garbage, but I admit I had a lot of fun just wandering through the city visiting various landmarks. For the price of free it’s certainly worth checking out.

    (Also, for what it’s worth, it’s been many years since I’ve had any complaints about Uplay. It’s certainly no more of a hassle than Steam is these days).

  18. Pizzzahut says:

    I’d rather slap a hat full of shit on my head than use Uplay.

  19. Sirius1 says:

    It amuses me watching these blatantly transparent attempts by Ubi and EA to become a viable rival to steam. They don’t have a chance in the present climate. It’s their own fault, really – they let steam become the behemoth that it is without challenge, so that it’s become a defacto monopoly for digital distribution virtually by default. In order to challenge such a monopoly, you have to have a compelling reason to draw people away, and they simply don’t have any. That could change, of course – perhaps if they started drawing devs away from steam by taking a smaller cut, but they’d have to sign them to exclusivity as well, which I can’t see too many devs accepting (MS is trying that one without much success so far.)

    I ask myself “What would steam be like, if Valve were EA (or Ubisoft)” and I shudder as I imagine them treating gamers as walking wallets, milking them for all they’re worth. Yes, they do that already, but imagine how much worse it could be if they had the monopoly on digital sales instead of Valve.

  20. racccoon says:

    Actually, Uplay is great.
    This game was so messed up after buying it donkeys ago it went to uninstall with not much game time played. That’s the annoying part, wasting cash on a finished game.
    I know the PC is always going to be a massive challenge for devs as its so diverse by ways you have so many variations on builds, which should be taken on the chin for games released on the PC.
    PC Players know they always have to allow a little wait to diffuse problems upon release.
    When time over stretch’s it can cause problems with ratings & rantings.
    Maybe with all the patches gone by, it might just be a better. who knows. Maybe you do.

  21. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Picked it up last year, it was awful. Terrible driving, dead world.
    Ridiculous press q to hack (and turn common fuses into deadly bombs) gameplay.
    Save yourself the time, play GTA5, Sleeping Dogs, AC:Origins or finish Dark Souls finally. Time is limited, ditch the “free” stuff.

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