Watch_Dogs was the game that drew a large part of the hype from last year’s E3. It mixed the open world seen in games like Assassin’s Creed with the mercenary hacker’s ethos of a William Gibson novel.
The end product so far is poised to be the next big thing from Ubisoft. It will be an interconnected city that will link offline and online players to create a seamless experience. From what I saw from the demonstration, this worked and with the integration of mobile to the mix, Watch_Dogs is sure to be on everyone’s wish list this holiday season.
The demo starts with a mission to try and rescue your associate “T-Bone” from behind an enemy controlled building. Players have to use all the hacking abilities at hand to get past the obstacles. It showed off the ability to control aspects of the environment, such electrical systems, doors and even the networked, mechanized advertisements to help T-Bone Escape. The use of the asymmetrical gameplay using a tablet was also demonstrated. This allows a friend to jump in in save the day from a remote location. It seemed to work in the controlled environment, yet it will be interested to see how it all plays together in the real world.
The next section of the demo has the protagonist, Aiden Pearce, trying to break into the network for the city. The world is broken up into wards around Chicago. With the city now controlled by a vast network called ctOS (Chicago’s central operating system) it is up to Aiden to hack in and use the network against the corporation. This is done by breaking into sub stations and accessing the network. What this will do is allow players to use the ctOS to scan the world as well as hack into all aspects of the infrastructure.
Hacking is done, as in many open world games, by breaking into a building. This can be done in a stealth like way or with guns blazing. In the demo shown at E3, the team chose to do a mixed approach. They snuck in for the first part, knocking out guards from behind as they slowly worked their way into the facility. For the second part of the break in, they chose a more direct form of attack and went with an all-out fire fight, clearing out the remaining solders. Overall the system seemed to work well for both styles of play, and it was nice to see some of the better parts of Assassin’s Creed working their way into more Ubisoft properties.
The demo goes on to demonstrate how by using the phone lines and infrastructure of the city, Aiden can go through the net and into someone’s home to steal bank data. It makes for a great way to get money in the world, but as it was demonstrated by doing so you could be harming innocent people. In the case of the E3 demo, a single mother. Beyond this, it also showed how people in the world even, the shop keeps, can recognize you and will call the cops. It has not been outlined yet how this will work in the full game, as everyone calling the cops the minute they see you could get very frustrating.
The last section of the demo showed the multiplayer aspects of the game. Similar to the way Dark Souls works, players can invade your game and hack you. This is stopped by investigating the people around a given area until you discover the hacker. Once you do this the choice is there to chase them down and eliminate them from your game. It is also possible to invade their game using a similar manner.
From what was shown Watch_Dogs seems to be a well-executed and inventive open world action game that stands right next to Assassin’s Creed at the top of the genre. It has yet to be seen how all the ideas presented will work in practice, yet from what I was shown I am optimistic. Watch_Dogs will be hitting shelves November 19th and CGM will have your review close to launch.
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