Skip to content

Watch Dogs Wii U Fails To Impress Digital Foundry As Not Quite As Good As Xbox 360 And PlayStation 3

Those tech analysts over at Digital Foundry have put Watch Dogs on Wii U through its paces and the results aren’t exactly pretty. The game doesn’t appear to run as well as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game, let alone the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The publication says there’s a lot of frame rate drops, but visually it matches the PlayStation 3 version. Here’s their analysis.

“Put into perspective, the PS4 operates at 30fps throughout most of our tests, while the PS3 runs between 25-30fps during cut-scenes, but can drop lower during gameplay. However, Nintendo’s platform struggles to even achieve this level, with matching car chases towards the city holding at between 20-25fps on Wii U- dipping to the high teens when smashing through physics-based objects.”

“Remarkably, a 20fps refresh is often the standard for inner-city driving, making it exceptionally sluggish to control. The Wii U also takes the record for the lowest frame-rate dip during our stress test finale, with a sustained sub-20fps frame-rate once we take a rocket launcher to a pile-up of police cars (whereas PS3’s nadir is 20fps). This one test isn’t indicative the general run of play, but it serves to highlight just how much the Wii U’s processor is bottlenecked when faced with too many AI and physics-based simulations. Curiously, Nintendo’s platform runs with no frame-rate lock, meaning it can rise above 30fps. The near-constant playback at 20fps makes this a rare sight, but you can catch it if you glance upwards at points.”

“With a visual standard that matches the PS3’s in almost every area, the Wii U offers by no means the best way to play Watch Dogs. We’re spared the heavy tearing of Sony’s last-gen console but the v-synced playback on Nintendo’s console comes at a high cost. As is the trend for many of the ports to Nintendo’s platform, performance is a genuine issue. To an extent, having an off-TV play option for Watch Dogs is plus, in much the same way it is for most Wii U editions of last-gen games. However, it’s clear the touchscreen aspect of Nintendo’s controller is under-utilised. It’s been an extra six month wait for Wii U owners, but this hasn’t manifested in any kind of tangible boost, leaving us feeling somewhat disappointed.”


119 thoughts on “Watch Dogs Wii U Fails To Impress Digital Foundry As Not Quite As Good As Xbox 360 And PlayStation 3”

      1. Bias?
        Even though Wii U version was like the red haired step child for Ubisoft, I would not take DF’s word about anything as a fact.

        1. It seems like it. DF has gone from secretly pushing a hate agenda on the Wii U to just blatently not caring how it makes them look. Quite sad honestly, they use to be really respectable.

            1. Why say its worse than both the 360 and PS3 when it clearly runs smoother? Yes it bottlenecks at time but so do the other 2, the PS3 version is full of jaggies, lighting is bad, and it tears like a motherfucker when the Wii U version doesn’t. Now its clearly not better than PS4 & XBO that is clear, but its at least better than the PS3 and maybe on par or better than the 360.

        2. I saw some comparison videos on youtube and the wiiU version looked better than last gen. I mean these guys are “professionals”, but I know what I saw with my own two eyes. The only explination is that the youtube uploaders messed with the last gen footage.

  1. Jojo's Homophobic Adventure

    Putting this game on the wii U is basically putting an 5 year old chunk of shit with a 2 year old ham sandwich with cheddar cheese.
    Smashing it together and then mass producing it to the public with no comment and acknowledgement of its existence.

    1. ikr, im tempted to buy farcry4 cus i love 3 but lately theyve been screwing people over, rehashing the same shit with tons of bugs, forced to use uplay, so i think imma pass on any game they bring out, although the division looks interesting, but i wont have my hopes up for it..

      1. Buy far cry 4! You will not be dissappointed. I have not experienced any problems with uplay on the pc. Its an amazing game:P fc4 got the better of unity.

      2. Do not reward Ubisoft for screwing over the gamers, just because they make 1 seemingly appealing game.
        Wait until the prices drop for the least or buy used.

  2. Nintendo Commander Quadraxis

    Ubisians exposed for conspiracy, demand your resources back!

    Take them to court of misleading and false advertising!

  3. So the wii u is 4 times more powerful then last gen and once again wii u consumers get screwed over again. This doesn’t surprise me at all.

    1. Man, I wonder where did you get that number… I agree that the Wii U is more powerful then PS3/360, but not that much. My guess is around 2 times looking at the RAM too.

      1. Pedro juan barguil navarro

        wiiu have 8 times te ram of ps3 and 4 of 360, being the procesor a fusion of cpu and gpu make the move of information way to easy, making it even more faster, the wiiu its closer to a high end pc than a console itself, and you should know its take a lot to mantain the sinc with the gamepad thats why in hyrule warriors take a lot and look a bit muddier than when you play alone,

        tldr: wiiu its in fact at least 4 times powerfull than last gen consoles but its only the half of nextgen

          1. And that’s bad how? iPhone has 1GB RAM but it’s software is intelligently optimized to use it without much usage and sacrifice in performance. Wii U can stream on Gamepad, download updates and play 720/1080p 60FPS without as much of a lag. How is that even weak hardware when it can do all of that function simultaneously?

        1. Not true. The Wii U has 2 GB, but only 1GB is for games, The 360 has 512MB of unified RAM and PS3 256MBx2, but at least around 70MB are taken from the OS. So, let’s say the Wii U has just a little more then 2 times the RAM of oldgen consoles. I don’t know how much difference is between Wii U and PS4, but my guess is about 4 times the Wii U power.
          About the gamepad, the sync doesn’t take any resources from the Wii U since it’s about streaming.
          But we know very well that this porting of Watch Dogs isn’t about the Wii U underpower, it’s about Ubisoft. But I think that this time it isn’t a bad porting. I sincerely don’t trust Digital Foundry and many people who bought this game are speaking very well of Watch Dogs for Wii U.

  4. However, it’s clear the touchscreen aspect of Nintendo’s controller is under-utilised. It’s been an extra six month wait for Wii U owners, but this hasn’t manifested in any kind of tangible boost, leaving us feeling somewhat disappointed.”

    thank you very much I am going to hack the PC version :-)

      1. i think king midas was gold-associated, since he was cursed with the golden touch. So he shouldn’t have too much silver, mostly gold. Just sayin’.

    1. It also took years for developers to understand the PS3’s architecture.

      The Wii U is more than capable but you’re never going to notice that with a multiplatform release, specially when the other 2 platforms in question have been developed for for over 7+ years.

      The one thing that is laughable is how Ubi took 6 extra months of development, and it essentially didn’t do much. What’s even funnier is that they decided to release the game the same week as smash. Now that is hilarious.

      1. Watch Dogs on Wii U has everything piled up against it; a six-month-later release date on a graphically inferior console ALONGSIDE Super-fucking Smash Bros 4, a lack of the DLC every other version receives, poor optimization for the console (Assuming Digital Foundry’s results are true), a limited audience (a negative which Ubisoft exaggerates), and otherwise a development team with no enthusiasm for the release.

        Gee, it’s as though Ubisoft doesn’t want Watch Dogs on Wii U to sell so they can say it’s type of game doesn’t have an audience on Wii U!

        1. Yes. I love Nintendo and I’m at home with it’s community, but that’s one reason why I can’t stand STUPID BULLSHIT attempts at defending from fans who don’t know what they’re talking about. Some people seem to be so misinformed about processing power that they think games with simple textures and quiet/mildly busy environments at 1080p-60fps are proof that a competing console with a frequent workload of highly detailed textures and hectic environments operating at 900p-30fps is inferior.

          As for Watch Dogs though, I highly doubt it isn’t Ubisoft, with their gross lack of enthusiasm, who is at fault if Digital Foundry’s results are true.

          Also, as a big fan of Smash, I’ll be pretty impressed if Smash 4 U 8-player, flower, fire, reflect, fast Smash with items set to high runs at a stable 60fps, even with such a dedicated group of devs.

            1. I’m prepared to be wrong in a number of ways if you’d actually elaborate on that instead of just saying I’m an being an idiot. You should be out to change people, not merely to tear them down.

        2. Oh please Xbox is supposed to be more powerful than Wii U. Yet make a weak ass excuse why Xbox KI ain’t 1080p 60fps.

          1. Or. because the game has a lot more going on than a cartoony fighter that is still using 2D special effects that adjust as you pan the camera.

            I know, it must be so hard to figure out.

            Where’s the 1080p 60 fps Wii U games that look anywhere as good as KI?

            Nowhere, because they don’t exist.

            1. JTZ from tribe of Judah

              But Xbox is more powerful why can’t it get 1080p 60fps, Huh? I mean didn’t 3d BF4 on it run 1080p 60fps realistic graphics? So they couldn’t do it on 2D?

            2. JTZ from tribe of Judah

              ” Where’s the 1080p 60 fps Wii U games that look anywhere as good as KI?”

              If KI looks so good then why didn’t it sell like GTa V, AC4, Unity and those other 3rd party games?

            3. JTZ from tribe of Judah

              Why isn’t Sunset Overdrive that is also Cartoon like Smash not 1080p 60fps? With those lame graphics for 8 cores you’d think it could easily get 1080p 60fps.

            4. JTZ from tribe of Judah

              Since you say 2D cartoon graphics can easily get 1080p 60fps how come DKTF isn’t 1080p 60fps and Smash is doing way more to the Wii U than Tropical Freeze is? I have the answer to that. So that crap about something doing way more on one game vs. another doesn’t mean shit. Now if Zelda were to be 1080p 60fps then how would you defend KI? But you can’t answer that until next year. You don’t know how powerful the Wii U is and that’s a fact. But if you rather go buy dumb 360 3rd party ports using up Wii U’s CPU instead of the GPU go ahead and be a dumb ass and believe that bullshit.

              1. Because the Wii U is a weak console and DKC:TF has more going on than Smash.

                Smash is a closed, small environment whereas DKC levels span for quite some time.

                I also don’t own any Xbox platforms, so it goes to show you’re desperately trying to label people with no basis to go off of whatsoever.

                1. Also how does DKTF have more going on if DKTF is 12gigs and Smash is 15gigs? Plus it has online, has stage builder, 8players and is using GC adapter? In fact smash took a long upgrade when I placed the disk in for the first time. Also there are sine I environments on smash stages that move and 8 players. Also how come Pikmin 3 is 720 30fps and that has more going on than DKTF. After all the Wii U is dealing with a max of 100 Pikmin and 3 captains and one big ass environment.

                  1. Game sizes have little to do with “having more going on”.

                    It’s like saying that because Spelunky (645mb) happens to be a bigger game in storage size compared to Nano Assault Neo (around 80mb), it’s a more comprehensive game in terms of visuals.

                    Compare the two and it’s not even a contest.

                2. Also how is it that DKTF when playing with another controller the Gamepad turns off. In Smash bros. It is always on. Also Smash bros uses the Gamepad touch screen on stage builder. That’s extra data right there.

                3. Also while we are at it. Why is Pikmin 3 30fps and Bayonetta 2 and Mario Kart 8 at 60fps. They have more going on than Pikmin 3 does.

                  1. Bayonetta 2 has more going on…in generally closed environments and incredibly low poly backgrounds with no AA.

                    Bayo 2 also isn’t a particularly good looking game.

                    Since you mentioned Sunset Overdrive:

                    It’s an open world title
                    Up to 8 players can be in said open world at once
                    Many over the top weapons spell constant chaos on the screen in certain situations
                    and finally, visually, Smash does not hold a candle to it. It’s crazy for anyone to even begin comparing the two games.
                    On top of that Smash has no AA.

                    1. I’m pretty sure the general consensus is that SO is a great looking game, so I don’t know what you’re getting at.

                    2. Yet they say Bayonetta 2 and Smash looks great but its OK for you to dumb it down. But when my opinion comes to Sunset looking shitty then it’s a problem. Stranga must be playing smash bros. Now all of a sudden 1080p 60fps ain’t impressive but when no Wii U game did that in the past you were the main ones biching about resolutions.

    2. Hummm something is wrong here… As far as I know and I own the Ps3 and Wii u versions of the game, the Wii U version looks a lot better than ps3 without tearing and many more effects than ps3 version.. Something is wrong with Digital Foudry

      1. Except they’re right on this one. This 6 month late port is shit. Lacking DLC, poor ass optimization and a big fat lie about delaying the game for Gamepad which they didn’t do shit for.

    3. This game no higher than 30fps on any platform marked Ubisoft look like they don’t know what the hell they are doing

    4. Wow, that’s quite sad, but I saw it coming. Assuming this is true (and I’ve seen many say it isn’t, even within this article’s comments), I’m not suprised. The results of a developement studio that won’t go out of it’s way to optimize for Wii U have been made clear in the past, and Ubisoft certainly doesn’t have any enthusiasm for Nintendo consoles right now.

      This atop the lack of DLC, and the six-months-prior release date of versions (two of which are moderately superior consoles for the task of handling graphics) has everything against the Wii U version of Watch Dogs.

    5. Graphical fidelity does not equal a better gaming experience IMO. It helps absolutely, but screen tearing is worse than simply losing 10fps. Also off screen play is the epitome of heightening a gaming experience where it allows you to play in different environments, like when my wife wants to watch TV and I want to game. While I never buy multi plat on my Wii U, besides games for the kids, this constant media attention to a lack of graphics on Nintendo is absurd.

      Look at the 3ds, while the graphics are no slouch, they are not really the best in its area, yet the games and its overall experience are what moves 100’s of millions of them.

    6. So Digital Foundry says it’s the Wii U’s fault for the frame rate drop? It has nothing to do with the port, right Digital Foundry? They put all the blame on the Wii U and none on Ubisoft..



    8. lord ghost : king of the federation

      Digital Foundry wtf, there trolling. watch dogs is a good port on the wii u. watch dogs on the has some dlc on the eshop. it’s not gimped. it runs in fd resolution.

      1. its not a good port there trolling because there idiots IF YOU DIDNT NO IT WAS A TRASHY X360 PORT THEN MORE FOOL YOU

        it coud have been up ressed masivly NOT DOWN RESSED it could have supported HIGH RES TEXTURES it could have supported above dx 11 like effects

        its a SHITTY PORT from a shiity unprofitable butt hurt company WHAT ELSE DID YOU EXPECT

        digital foundry going out of there way to POINT OUT UBISOFT ARE SHIT as if thats wiius fault EVERYONE WITH AT LEAST ONE BRAIN CELL EXPECTED THIS TRASH

        watch dogs los x360 on every platform

    9. The last game I bought from Ubisoft was AC4 on WiiU and I had to drop it because of the glitches. Waste of money, so once bitten twice shy. Nintendo has me so cash strapped anyways I can’t really afford ‘Nindies’ let alone 3RD party. (Granted I buy all the VC games just for nostalgia).
      i do sympathize with Ubisoft in that they are driven to profit for their shareholders… something Nintendo can seemingly ignore as Iwata has kept his job year after year is spite of miserable losses.
      In the quest for profits Ubisoft has left Wii U on the back burner as they put their resources into developing for the much easier PS4/Xbox architecture. You can’t really blame Ubisoft for not having the same resources as Nintendo when it comes to understanding the system’s capabilities. So it is great that they at least are trying, while others glaringly do not.
      Nintendo should be helping the 3RD party devs by providing some sort of close guidance at their own cost. It’s fine that they nurture ‘Nindies’ but not getting 3RD party games makes them look like a console for children (even though we all know it is not, it just isn’t cool like the PS4 which hardly has any great exclusive games). They market to children – I have not seen one Bayonetta 2 commercial on TV or ad in a game store. Whenever Tomb Raider comes out there are massive cardboard cut outs and sexy commercials during prime time television.
      After looking at Metacritic, we Nintendo players have the best games so Digital Foundry can go back to playing (insert generic FPS game here) in their mother’s basements.

    10. Whatever problems there are, it‘s Ubisoft that did not polish the game as they should have.Yes, the WiiU has the lowest specs of all three, yet it is perfectly capable of rendering 1080p at 60fps! Blame the developer, not the console!

    11. Wow! Looks like those guys need to calibrate their systems. I’m not buying Watchdogs anytime soon but comparing the Wii U port to the PS3 version is BS. The PS3 version was really bad on the comparison videos, so to hell with DF.

      1. Nintendo Commander Quadraxis

        Like I said before, it was probably just lying there in a storage room collecting dust until they could release it…

        They didn’t do anything during these 6 months that they didn’t already before the delay…

    12. this game may be that last ubisoft game i will buy (when i can afford it or wait till its cheap online) for wii u, after that im done, as for ea, i still have one game to buy from them before i can say f u to them as well (mass effect 3 wii u edition).




    14. If the another video game industry crash comes because the third parties did not squash their games’ bugs, glitches, etc… and fix them before their release. I bet that Nintendo could survives the another video game crash if that event occurs in the future.

    15. I blame Nintendo for a weak console…they focus on game play not power, why not do both ??? How hard is it really

      1. Nintendo develops thier hardware around thier software. The Wii U is powerful enough to run Nintendo 1st party games in 1080p 60fps, and look amazing at the same time. Nintendo does not, and has never took 3rd party games into consideration when developing thier hardware.

        Sony and Microsoft develop hardware first, and then develop thier games around thier console, making software a secondary priority. Nintendo is at it’s core fundamentally different from Sony and Microsoft, as they put software first. They always have. Soon, when graphical fidelity has reached it’s pinnacle, gamers will have no choice but to focus more on gameplay, and Nintendo will already have a huge headstart in that respect.

    16. Why would I buy a $60 inferior version of WD for my Wii U when I could just pick up the same game for $20 on my XB1? Ubisoft lied about Gamepad integration.

    17. FRAAACK. Ok. O K. Damn you Nintendo, there’s a good chance ima bout to buy your damn system. You better. .. be nice to me damn it. Im about to bust out the N64 and tear some shiat up!

    18. Just as I though. It’s a fucking lazy ass gimp port. What did I tell you people? I saw this coming since last year. Now enjoy your wasted $60 for crap. Ubisoft has got you once again.

    Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: