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Watch Dogs 2 PS4 Frame Rate is a Serious Fun Killer

Well… Sheisse. We’re not especially happy to be writing this one but it’s a necessary evil: Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 2 has a serious problem with its frame rate and it essentially spoils what’s otherwise a solid game.

[We’ve since posted our review of Watch Dogs 2 on PS4. Despite the horrible bug, it’s still a top game.]

We’ve had our hands on Watch Dogs 2 for a couple of days now and while the game is mostly really good – a definite improvement over the underwhelming Watch Dogs – the technical issues with the game have us shaking our heads.

You can expect a few dropped frames during the normal run of play – as is somewhat standard these days – but there are seemingly random moments that causes Watch Dogs 2 to fall head-over-arse and turn into something resembling a slide show. We’ve not pegged the exact cause of the problem just yet as it appears to be completely random, though saying that, on more than a couple of occasions we did have instant slowdown after fiddling with the game’s online settings, however, the game also dragged itself down to the low 20’s/high teens after walking in and out a building, ditching a car in the sea, and punching a random lady in the face. Don’t worry, she deserved it; her profile suggested she was not the perfect citizen.

The video up above shows Marcus driving a nice looking (stolen) car and the screen being torn to shreds with screen-tearing all over the shop, as well as the game straight up freezing towards the end. It should be noted that during the actual gameplay the screen-tearing wasn’t that obvious, whereas in the video the frame-rate doesn’t look as bad as it actually was during play.

Though Ubisoft has provided early copies of the game to select streamers and media outlets, we’ve not heard of any other site reporting these issues. It could be that they simply aren’t experiencing the problems we’ve had, though that’s got to be highly unlikely, or they’ve been forbidden by Ubisoft to give any negative impressions before the review embargo drops on Monday. As we got our copy of Watch Dogs 2 from our own source (legally, mind) we’re not bound by any gagging orders, so we’re happy to share what we know.

As usual, we’ve also gone through the usual processes when a game is being uncooperative: restart the system afresh, uninstall and re-install the game, etc., etc., yet we’re still being forced to watch Marcus’ life unfold at poopy frame rates. We even started a new game in the hopes of banishing away the nasty bugs, though even with the first hour or two of the game it reared its ugly head again.

There’s a video up above as well as a couple down below and they both show the game running at, shall we say, less than ideal conditions. Hopefully Ubisoft is aware of the issue and will push out a fix in time for release day. We can’t imagine the poo-storm that’d be thrown up if eager players all over the world booted up their copy of Watch Dogs 2 to find it running like a Power Point presentation.

We’re still slogging through towards the latter stages of the game’s narrative, so we’ll probably have our review up sometime on Sunday. Check back in with Pure PlayStation then to see what we make of this hipster-driven hack-a-thon.

[Update: It should also be noted that at the game’s main menu, Ubisoft has plastered a message stating that there are issues with the game’s seamless multiplayer which causes lag and that the feature is offline until the developers can fix the issue. We’ve also tried the game completely offline and the framerate still bums out.]

Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella.


  1. ThaBEN

    13th November 2016 at 6:56 am

    Hello Chris First off all, I love this website! Mainly because of the focus on Playstation VR.
    Did you play Watch Dogs 2 on a PS4 or PS4 Pro?
    Is it possible you could add in future (p)reviews if the game was played on PS4 / PS4 Pro and if the game had a PS4 Pro patch at the time you were playing?
    This information is really hard to find on the internet, especcially for Playstation VR owners. So i never know for sure if i could expect an graphics/performance boost further down the line or that the findings of the article are speaking of the final build on PS4 Pro with a pro patch.

    • Joe Walker

      13th November 2016 at 11:56 am

      It’s not out yet. It’ll get patched. Thanks for the analysis.

      • Chris Harding

        13th November 2016 at 1:01 pm

        Worth mentioning that there is a patch out, version 1.02, and the videos are all from the game running 1.02.

    • Chris Harding

      13th November 2016 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Ben, glad you like what we do!

      Sorry, I should have made it clear in the article that this was all on a regular PS4, not a PS4 Pro. It was also with the 1.02 patch installed.

      And funnily enough, we’ve got a little feature that’s coming out later today to explain how we’ll handle reviews with PS4/PS4 Pro so that it’s clear for each group of users. Hope that helps, continue to enjoy our fine site 🙂

  2. Jack

    13th November 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Wondering are thebps4 pro features for watch dogs 2 available? If so do you know what they are? I recall seeing mention somewhere that for 1080p users they had a higher graphics setting option aswell as the 4k downscaling but I’ve not been able to find anything else on this. Wonder if the pro has the same frame drop issues (sounds like a bug to me.. As it’s apparently random, also winder if it occurs without patch 1.02 installed or 1.01.

  3. Matt

    14th November 2016 at 12:44 am

    That’s really unusual, doesn’t seem like anything that could slip through quality control…but then again, it seems that games companies fit what they can into their tight deadlines and fix the rest after release with patches. I hope it’s just a bug that can be easily fixed, I loved the first Watch Dogs and am really keen to get this one.

    • Chris Harding

      14th November 2016 at 8:05 am

      I’m 100% sure it’s a bug. But a bad one nonetheless. You’d be surprised at what makes it past the QA stage in games. This isn’t even the worst thing in recent time…

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