Watch Dogs Impressions

19 Jun 2013  by   Deirdre Hollis
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Nominated best of E3 2013 for original game and action adventure, Watch Dogs is generating a fair amount of hype amongst gamers. Listed as an open-world action adventure multiplayer game set in Chicago, its appeal is so much more than that due to one particular feature.

Cross-platform Multiplayer

The concept is interesting to say the least. A multiplayer game where everyone plays the same character and “hacks into another persons game”? How is this even possible? Before I saw it in action I was a little unsure about the cross-platform gameplay, but seeing it in action changed my mind. The game operates on the Disrupt engine which was built exclusively for Watch Dogs and UbiSoft swears by it due to its ability to handle cross-platform performance.

Seeing gameplay in action between two devs where one is controlling action on the main screen while another was controlling his own story on a tablet was certainly unique. It was truly a jaw-dropping moment for me to see this concept in action and I can see it feeding that little fantasy in me where I play an elite hacker that takes over city blocks with the ability to shut off electricity with a few touch strokes on my smart phone or tablet.

Watch Dogs

This all happened because Aiden hacked a thumbtack on the road.

As far as the gameplay goes, it was very fluid on both platforms Watch Dogs was demoed on. In this case it was console and iPad, so PC performance is still undetermined. Still, I can see the wider attraction of a game that promises that kind of cross-platform performance. For the tablet-happy crowd, I guarantee it will make game participation between players that much more interesting because of the ability to join in on mobile devices.

Everybody is Aiden

One item of note that was difficult for me to wrap my mind around in the beginning is that everyone is Aiden in this multiplayer world. You, the player, control the main character, Aiden Pearce but every other player around you appears on your screen as an NPC, which means that you also appear as an NPC to those around you. A small point I thought was going to break the game for me, but once I saw it in action, I not only understood it, but I kind of liked it.

As Aiden, and with a balanced combination of hacking, stealth, and some weapon action the player strategically battles their way to victory. Further enhancing their gaming experience, they can either enlist the aid of their friends, help a buddy in need (as we witnessed in our demo) or hinder them, making their success near impossible.

AidenPearce_WatchDogs

Lovely collar, Aiden. Would be a shame if the authorities had to feel it.

Looks Are Everything

In this day and age it’s hard to get anything over a games enthusiast. If the graphics aren’t just right there’s a loss of believability in a game like this, but UbiSoft looks as if it will deliver. The overall look of Watch_Dogs is stunningly beautiful, with rich graphics and tones and textures that will mess with your mind (such as the sweatshirt collar, above.) If I had to describe the graphics in one word, the first one to come to mind is real. Every detail in this game is so amazingly accurate and the crossover so seamless that at times it can cause one to question whether they were seeing fantasy or reality.

If this is the next phase of game design, I’m excited for the future of multiplayer games. I don’t think that I’ve personally seen a more believable looking game than Watch_Dogs, but I hope that the future brings many more like it.

Watch_Dogs ships in November of this year and it’s certainly on my list of titles to … well … watch.

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