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E3 2012: EGM’s High 5:
Watch Dogs

Posted on June 5, 2012 AT 03:45pm

Will Ubisoft’s latest franchise be a GTA killer?

In a year bogged down with sequel upon sequel Ubisoft is doing bold and drastic: They’re actually taking a chance on a brand new IP that raises some interesting questions about our modern society and its digital frivolousness. Will the games fresh setting and unique twist on the sandbox genre be enough to make it a heavy hitter? Let’s jump into the matrix and take a look at five things that just might be the keys to the digital gaming future.

Hack the Planet

Developers are always looking for ways to get gamers to delve deeper into their worlds. A great way to do this is to make as much of the world interactive as possible. With Watch Dogs you’ll be able to use the skills of protagonist Hayden Pierce to hack everything. You’ll be able to find many creative ways to complete missions, whether it be spying with city wide hidden cameras, making ATM’s spew cash, or tapping into cell phone conversations in order to complete missions.

GTA: Blade Runner

Sandbox environments have been done before, but the scale and -once again- interactivity, are looking quite remarkable already. If you can see it, you can get to it. Artsy clubs, railways and rooftops will all provide you with plenty of areas to explore and secrets to find. You can even explore the world by hopping from security cam to security cam from the comfort of a hiding spot.

Not Afraid To Get His Hands Dirty

While Hayden is a hacker and can use his skills to complete tasks with subtlety, it’s not always appropriate for the situation. There are plenty of aggressive approaches that players will be able to take. Beyond the standard pistols and other such firearms you’re used to seeing in 3rd-person sandbox games, he’s also got himself a retractable blackjack club that he can use to beat down enemies. There are some nice cinematic take downs mixed into the combat, like bum rushing a guy and shooting out his kneecaps. Even though I knew they’re imaginary I still winced at the pain being inflicted on screen.

Ridley Scott Visuals

Although still in development, Watch Dogs is already looking very pretty. The shootout that ended the demo not only involved a lot wet, shiny cars getting blown up in the rain, but a lot of nice little details that players might miss if they’re not paying attention. Civilian drivers unfortunate enough to get caught in the crossfire left blood splattered inside their cracked windshields, and the sound of pressure expanding metal right before a nearby gas station exploded added intense realism to the gameplay.

Take Your Game On The Go

One of the more impressive and unique features had to be the iOS integration. Unlike most game-related apps that you see in the iTunes store the Watch Dogs app will not only give you access to stats, but you’ll be able to mess with your friends while they play the game. You’ll be able to do things like change stop lights and cause traffic accidents and slow them down. You can also access all the data you’ve unlocked in game. Every cell call you’ve listened in to or piece of data you’ve downloaded will be right at your fingertips along with a very detailed map of Chicago to help you get around.

What do you think of Ubisoft’s latest offering? Will it take the GTA genre into the future, or will it be another footnote in the long list of sandbox games that didn’t live up to their hype?

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