Can Watch_Dogs Hack It?

A reminder that this new game will probably be awesome, especially on the Wii U

How do you describe this game to a non-gamer? How can you emphasise the excitement this game brings to me, a self-confessed Nintendo fanboy? Watch_Dogs is coming soon to all consoles and you'd better watch out. Or not, because Ubisoft delayed this game to "ensure it's quality" though the rest of the industry is pretty certain Ubisoft didn't want to compete against its own game, Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. That aside, I actually want to sift through the post-hype and maybe start to generate some of my own and take a good hard look at the infomation we have on Watch_Dogs. The game is centred around hacker extradinaire and anti-hero Aiden Pierce in the not too distant future of Chicago. Aiden must overcome the Central Operating System, the Windy City's very own Big Brother. Using guns, parkour and what appears to be the latest in smartphone technology, the player assists Aiden to become the vigilante that the city deserves, but perhaps not the one it needs right now... Wait I'm get my dark and gritty mixed-up again. To be fair the game boasts a cool faux sci-fi feeling that will hopefully liven up the story a bit. Also to through in some more bias I'm going to explain why I will be getting the Wii U version.

Take Grand Theft Auto, add some Hitman and then a healthy dolop of Ubisoft which includes the flavours of Assassins Creed and Prince of Persia and we're halfway into the cocktail thatWatch_Dogs is turning into. We could say, rather aptly, that the gameplay is something that the video game community hasn't seen fully developed and explored before and I think that's something worth getting excited for. In a wasteland of console games littered with sequels and remakes here comes a brand new IP, that is in fairness going to be sequelised to death like another Ubisoft franchise I could mention (*cough* Ass-2-Ass Creed *burp*). But cynicism aside at least this is the first game and we can just pretend that companies don't keep selling us the same crap year in and year out. No! I said enough cynism, take your medication Sean. From what has been seen from the trailers and demos, Watch_Dogs boasts being able to give control of an entire cities worth of electronics to the player. This ranges from augmented reality that gives every NPC a backstory (or at least an age, occupation and income), to hacking into traffic lights to cause pile-ups that can be used as makeshift blockades. Because what are American drivers, if not arrogant enough to drive straight into oncoming traffic because they had right of way. While not exactly realistic (or is it?) it is a new gameplay mechanic that I can't wait to have ready at my fingertips.

Yes, that's right this isn't a blog about the new demo Ubisoft let me play, just boring old trailer analysis. So while I have unfortunatly not had the opportunity to play and get into the mindset of "Extreme Googling" (TM, trademark pending), but from what we know about the game already we can start speculating. So everyone had a phone in Grand Theft Auto V so maybe it'll work similar to that? Maybe they may use "weapon wheel" we've seen in so many games with hacks instead of firearms. From what I can gather from the available footage, the heads-up display seems reminiscent of the Ass-2-Ass Creed weapon select and seeing as Ubisoft copy and pasted the watchtowers from those game into Far Cry 3 and nobody cared I think its safe to assume Ubisoft is willing to copy itself without fear of being sued.

This may all seem rather trivial, but I am trying to make a point here.

For those of you who don't know what a Wii U is, it was the first current-gen console released AND I DON"T CARE WHAT ANYBODY ELSE SAYS. I've been playing Batman: Arkham City on it and I've got to tell you, the Wii U Gamepad stuff is implented pretty well, almost perfectly. You can equip items, purchase upgrades and access your map all through the touchpad. The game doesn't pause when you use the Gamepad though and Batman uses his own wrist-mounted touchscreen as you play around. It's a nice simple way of adding a layer of immersion into a game, basically doing with a pause screen (though of course there is a pause button. Nintendo can be stupid sometimes, but they're not that stupid... right?) I bring this up because, to me, it looks like the Wii U has the edge over it's competitors (including PC, which has been stated as being the strongest focus) in being the definitive way to play this game. Senoir Producer Dominic Guay even stated that the Wii U Gamepad is a "natural" fit for the games central theme of hacking. Some may bemoan the use of a second screen for gaming, as the gamer will have to take his or her eyes off the action to use it. However (despite the DS using dual screens since 2004) when done correctly such as in my Batman example and to add another, in Naughty Dog's The Last of Us, unpausing gameplay can lead to some very dynamic situations.

Of course though, I can be devils advocate as well. We all know that even though the Wii sold billions more copies (quote not accurate) than everyone else, the Wiimote never gave us the feeling that we were using Link's sword or a Jedi's lightsaber. All I mean to say is that I want to see the coming together of Watch_Dogs and the Wii U live up to its full potential. Also noting that the console had HD capabilities (how could you cave in Nintendo), it paints an optimistic picture.

And as for the story, well, to say the least Watch_Dogs is the *ahem* underdog here because it has to come out in a world where triple A gaming has released two beautiful gems of games, Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us. The benchmark for storytelling ludonarrative has been raised quite higher than it was before and Watch_Dogs will just be another game that will have to run the gauntlet. Also the game is set in future Chicago which was also inThe Last of Us but I doubt we'll be seeing mushroom zombies. A more important note to make would be that, as is a very well known fact by now, Batman's Gotham City (specifically Nolan's version) is a pseudo-Chicago. Just pray that the story doesn't make the mistake of being dark and gritty (which it clearly is) for the sake of being dark and gritty. 'Nuff said.

Of course, who am I but a gamer with a personality disorder? I'd like to hear if anyone else is still excited for Watch_Dogs and what system they'll be playing on.

NOTE: This is an article I wrote a few months back, so I did need to update some of the infomation I had then. I should also say I didn't even have a Wii U when I originally wrote this article and as well as before I pre-ordered Watch_Dogs

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