Ubisoft is at it again, spinning webs of excitement and hype around their upcoming title, Watch Dogs. The game is not far from us, scheduled to release on November 19th 2013, after being announced and talked about for over a year now since June of 2012, Ubisoft has finally released a 14 minute gameplay showing more. In this 14 minute trailer very precise explanations are given as the gameplay unfolds, the game is shown in a different light than it has been before, giving new Depth and new insight into the free roaming playstyle that dominates most of the game.
In Watch Dogs you are a vigilante hacker that can either strive to do well for others, or use your devices and knowledge to affect personal gain and establish control over those in your surroundings. The trailer showcases free roam in the run down slums section of their recreated version of Chicago, as the player traverses through the neighborhood the commentator identifies key aspects of the game and how the player can use them to interact with all characters and people nearby, eventually building into a well-developed, co-existing, and manageable area that you feel comfortable to free roam in.
The main protagonist Aiden Pierce has access to seemingly thousands of possibilities to affect the players’ gameplay as well as affect how the story unfolds beneath the players’ feet. There are multiple avenues to each mission, multiple ways to complete an objective, and even more options available to execute any fine detail that you seem fit in the current state of play. In an age of technology we rely on everything for our entertainment, personal storage, finances and even security, and as the player and protagonist you will be able to watch that crumble by a mere cellphone and a man. It’s really a beautiful yet sadistic way to look at society, and speaks volumes about how we live our daily lives without even having to. It only takes a sparse look into the game to see that there could be a deeper, potential hidden meaning beneath the entire surface of the project.
While the game looks absolutely fantastic and seems to have endless strings of actions available to the player already, Ubisoft has gone and improved further upon that, adding a seamless connected multiplayer system available through the single player. In the trailer it’s very well executed, a player comes into the game and tries to hack into your database to potentially steal some of the new found knowledge or data you might have stumbled upon, you have a short period of time to find him through any means possible and kill him, or scare him off. What really piqued my interest was the fact that if they do succeed or escape you with your precious data, you can then go into their game and do the exact same to them, opting to kill them just for the sake of revenge, or try to let the poor unsuspecting player fall into your trap.
Watch Dogs looks like it will be an incredible experience to play through, for anyone interested in a game teeming with endless possibilities like myself, this game speaks to me. The one thing that could single handedly take this game down off the plateau most have put it on, is the false advertisement of “endless possibilities”. It’s not uncommon for a free roaming sandbox game to promise an entire world of things to do, a whole system for you to come in and wreak havoc on until your heart is content and leave the area feeling accomplished for your destruction, or your assistance. But will Watch Dog’s subtle promise of being able to hack anything be true? There is a huge possibility that like most, the game unfortunately might just be limited to scripted encounters that the game has been designed to trigger. Of course that is exactly what makes a video game work, but I’m talking about the random chance of something, I long for a game that allows me to choose what I’d like to do to an object, not just offer 1000 variables in how to use the mechanic and advertise it as endless because it’s hoped for that nobody will actually ever use them all to their fullest extent. I can only hope Ubisoft will keep true to the feel of how the game seems, and that all comes down to one word, choice. If I want to hack a pineapple that someone just walked out of the store with, let me try and let me fail. Laugh at me after doing so, but it might be the little things like that, that count.
They have an extremely interesting focus on the vigilante system in that when you perform an action, depending on the traditional “light vs good” system, you will gain points towards being a criminal or being a hero, this affects how the public treats you, as shown in the trailer. This could add an extremely interesting perspective and a whole new level of replayability as something as simple as killing someone means you appear on the local news station with a giant picture of your face plastered on the screen, take a look at the 14 minute trailer and see for yourself the level of choice that Watch Dogs will offer you, from moral conflicts, to something as simple as saving your sorry hide.