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E3 2013: Watch_Dogs Impressions

by on 06/15/2013
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By now everyone knows what Watch_Dogs is and will be. The hype train has chugged along and every new video, screenshot, and fraction of news is being salivated over. I won’t bore you with anything you don’t already know, because this week at E3 we saw a new piece of game that shows off the multiplayer aspect of the game, and it is just as glorious as the rest of it.

Granted it is overwhelmingly apparent that they re-skinned the Assassin’s Creed HUD and interface options just enough to make this its own game, but even when I think that is a little chinsy, I can’t fault them for not trying to reinvent the wheel.

That was literally my only complaint though, because we witnessed the team behind Watch_Dogs build on Assassin’s Creed and Assassin’s Creed multiplayer and make it even better.

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Our demo consisted of the main character roaming around Chicago, not on a specific mission, but interacting with the sandbox as you would in a game like this. He was hacking cameras, stealing wi-fi, and causing chaos all with his phone. Pretty damn cool, but we’ve seen this all before. What we haven’t seen before is watching as all of a sudden this player starts getting hacked.

Yes, in Watch_Dogs other players can hack you and steal your shit. You are quickly prompted with a loading bar and you must find this thief before it fills up, and judging by how slowly that bar fills up, it is difficult to complete, but very rewarding.

Our player in the demo immediately starts trying to pick this hacker out of a crowd, he is given a radius to try to find the culprit and can use tools like cameras to get a better view of the area to help lead this man out.

As you do this search X’s will appear on targets that you’ve tried to identify as the hacker. The hacker can really do anything to blend in like Assassin’s Creed multiplayer – blending in crowds, sitting on benches, hiding in the shadows, et cetera. Hell, in our demo we watched as he sat in a car the parking lot and watched as the target harassed innocent people trying to find him.

When he was finally found a chase was activated. The chaser needed to reprimand the hacker before he got away, we noticed he got away in a car the first time, so the range is pretty large to allow a balanced cat vs mouse scenario.

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One of the coolest parts about these chases is how you can still use the tools that you would during the game. Meaning you can blow up fuse boxes, hack cameras, change street lights, make the electronic barriers pop up, really everything. Seeing as it is a blast to do that to the AI, imagine two human players changing street lights in the middle of a high-speed chase. Absolute chaos.

I am not sure exactly what is stolen from the players on a successful hack as we did not witness one, as I said they are not easy for either party, which leads me to believe the prize is nice. Even if you are just rewarded by stealing all of their money, that is bigger than I would have thought before E3.

You have more RPG elements than I first assumed, you can purchase/customize weapons and/or focus more on hacking and improving that. I am not sure if that means newer more powerful tools or what, but what we did see was that the guns weren’t cheap. Meaning Ubisoft may have found a system to make money useful in a sandbox game finally. So if I get hacked and lose my shit, best believe I am hunting this person down Dark Souls style.

Watch_Dogs appears to be looking like the perfect launch title to pick up for your next-gen console. It’s release date is right in the window and it is coming out for Xbox One, PS4, PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. I can see myself losing hours just hacking other players and that wasn’t even supposed to be the highlight of the game. So I would look out for this future hit when it drops in the Fall.

 

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