Watch Dogs gameplay details

News Aaron Birch
11 May 2013 - 05:50

Watch Dogs has been shown off to the press, with a few more details emerging...

Ubisoft's Watch Dogs is, hopefully, going to be a little more than yet another GTA clone, and the game's hacking and stealth elements may propel the new IP to the top of the pile. And, after the game was demoed with 30 minutes of gameplay, it's easy to see how this will be accomplished.

We all know he game's central premise by now. Aiden Pearce is an uber hacker who can control everything in the city of Chicago via his mobile phone, and he's also a bit of a vigilante, wanting to protect those who can't protect themselves. He can do this by turning the city's various systems into his own personal plaything, taking control of cameras, manipulating road blocks, intercepting transmissions, and so on. He can also peek into the private lives of anyone, locating information such as bank details, debt problems, habits and the like. He can use this information for good, such as profiling a would-be mugger, and stopping him before they can hurt anyone, or for his own benefit, grabbing the aforementioned bank details and using them for some quick, free cash. This was all known, and now that it's been seen in action, it's a little more understood, both how these mechanics work and how they'll affect the player.

Watch Dogs will incorporate a notoriety system, which has been featured in games before, but has its own little twists. Starting out, Aiden will be perceived as a nobody, with few paying him any mind, but as you progress and perform tasks your actions will change this. If you're thug, care little about civilian casualties and steal from all and sundry, then you'll be viewed as a bad guy. Help people, do good deeds and use non-lethal methods and you'll bee seen as a hero by some. This will be reflected more than a simple bar graphs and a couple of crowd cheers though, and your experience will be very different depending on how you're seen.

For example, in the demo Aiden is in a shop, and whilst he's going about his business, a news broadcast appears on TV about Aiden's wanted status. The shop owner, seeing Aiden as a criminal, calls the cops. This would play out differently if Aiden was perceived as a hero, and the shop keeper, and other civilians, may pay him no mind, even helping him if they like him enough. It's interesting, and fits in very well with the game's Orwellian-theme of big brother control.

Aiden's hacking abilities are more than just mere money-grabbing tricks or gimmicks, though, and they come into play in almost every facet of the game. This includes immersing yourself into the city, snooping on people as they walk by, and even hacking into domestic Wi-Fi networks to spy on people in their own homes, should you really want to. It also includes more practical uses too.

Infiltrating CtOS (Central Operating system) complexes, which function like Far Cry's outposts, granting access to a region's data, is made much easier if you first hack into the surveillance cameras to tag guard locations. During gun fights, should things go a bit pear-shaped, you can use hacking skills to control parts of the environment, such as opening hatches to create cover. You can also use objects for stealthy means, like remotely starting a car to distract a guard.

Of course, Watch Dogs is an action game too, so there's going to be plenty of guns for you to chose from, with over 30 different types, and Aiden has a Max Payne-style slo-mo ability during combat, which can make lining up shots easier, as well as giving you time to locate and hack useful objects.

Aiden's phone will be as much of a central character, and it'll be a major focus, so much so you'll be able to utilise a range of apps. These include diversions, like mini games, and social media apps that will allow you to communicate with friends and link them into your game. Other apps will be used to help the player, including hints, and you can even use an app to identify and buy music you hear in the world. This can then be listened to on your phone, or you can hack music devices force your own musical preference onto it.

It's all very impressive stuff, and it should be noted that the game was shown a on 'net gen' hardware, presumably PS4. The developers have already stated that the PS4 version will be the superior console outing, as it allows a greater level of physical and environmental detail (denser population, leaves and rain blowing in the wind and so on). However, the core gameplay will be the same on all platforms.

Watch Dogs will be released on November 19 in the US for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U and PC and other next gen platforms, with Europe's release following on November 22.

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