Take Complete Control of Chicago in Watch Dogs - Preview

By Chris Matulich, October 14, 2013
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Ubisoft had a decent showing of games at NY Comic Con, with Assassin's Creed IV and South Park: The Stick of Truth having great displays, as well as a behind-closed-doors exclusive look at the highly anticipated Watch Dogs. With little over a month before its release, Watch Dogs is primed to become a huge hit, and if the exclusive mission shown at Comic Con is any indication, it'll be one of the biggest games of the year.

The game takes place in Chicago in the near future, where entire cities are connected through networks, with bridges, traffic lights, ATMs and everything in between all controlled through computers. The city brims with life thanks to superb lighting effects that cast deep shadows over character's faces and across Chicago's skyscrapers.

Characters are realistically detailed, with great use of facial expressions that gives Aiden and the rest of Chicago a good deal of personality, and they move fluidly with great clothing, hair, and water effects, as well as other small details like power lines swaying in the wind. It's a gorgeous city to behold and walk around in, capturing everything that the real life Chicago has to offer.

The first part of the demo was an overview of how exactly the world of Watch Dogs works, showcasing that every single Chicagoian has a unique personality that can be seen when Aiden hacks into their phones. Through the hack, Aiden can clear out their bank accounts, find personal information that might help during missions, or discover new side missions to tackle.

The city itself can be hacked, allowing Aiden complete control and turning it into a weapon against itself. Aiden was shown hacking ATM machines for money, changing traffic lights to cause serious accidents when pursued by the police, or raising bridges to block off the cops or enemies, as well as causing widespread blackouts to aide in his escape. Everything was easily and swiftly hacked into, and it was just as easy to hack while behind the wheel of a car, making for some very unique gameplay sequences.

The exclusive mission, which sees a good mix of gameplay variety, has Aiden meeting with a friend in order to gather information from a syndicate. Aiden must infiltrate the compound without alerting the guards whilst his friend provides support with a sniper rifle. There are plenty of stealth options, but the most useful and interesting ones has Aiden hacking into cameras and creating decoys with spare parts to distract enemies. While hacked into a camera, Aiden can hack anything the camera sees, such as moving a forklift to get the attention of a guard so your buddy can pick him off. The decoy works very similarly, distracting the enemy so you can dispose of him. It's an ingenious and original approach to stealth action.

After Aiden successfully gets his information, he'll need to escape through a bunch of enemies searching for him. Aiden is not limited to simply hacking through his phone, for he has a complete and rather deep arsenal to choose from, as well as the ability to create Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) with the spare parts he finds or buys. You can be creative in how you deal with enemies, whether you want an all out firefight, picking them off one by one with the aide of hacking, or wish to escape without a fight by causing blackouts. It offers plenty of options for different play styles, with none expressively better than the next.

Watch Dogs is one of the most anticipated games of this holiday season, and it's no surprise. There's plenty to do in the city of Chicago, and many ways to choose how you progress. Get ready to tap into an entire city and make it your weapon come mid November.

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