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Hands-on with Watch_Dogs’ opening hours on PS4

Find out how Ubisoft’s open world future-tech epic gets underway

Watch_Dogs will rewire the way open-world games are played. A near-future Chicago, teeming with criminal intent, serves as a playground, weapon and resource in one interconnected latticework of data. And at the heart of it all stands Aiden Pearce, a brilliant hacker with a painful history. Within the first few hours of Watch_Dogs on PS4, Aiden’s story of revenge has enough potential to match the anticipation the gaming community has levelled at it.

At the beginning of Watch_Dogs, Aiden earns his money through digital thievery, syphoning funds away from the unsuspecting masses without lifting a finger to harm them. But one job goes south and Aiden robs the wrong people, leading to the tragic death of his niece.

Players take control of the action after six year-old Lena Pearce has been buried and mourned. The hacker has accelerated his efforts to find her killer, and that chase has led him to a hit man under May Stadium. As thunderous cheers roar above them, Aiden interrogates the killer and gets one step closer to unravelling the underground powers moving against him.

Watch_Dogs revolves around hacking. Aiden uses it to gather intel, collect funds, steal cars, stop crimes, and weaponise his environment. This changes the way players can approach every situation in Watch_Dogs, from slinking through back alleyways to racing down highways in exotic (stolen) cars.

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The entire city of Chicago and its abundance of data can be accessed with the Square button, thanks to ctOS – the city-wide monitoring and security network. This one-button hacking is contextual, but also flexible. Traffic lights, bridges, garage doors, and more can be interacted with just by aiming the reticle in their direction and hitting Square. Similarly, every NPC (strict emphasis on every) has an individual and unique set of data points that Aiden can peruse at any time. This alone demonstrates a colossal effort on Ubisoft Montreal’s part.

“Names, incomes, and criminal histories flicker onto the screen, giving the bustling city streets a palpable sense of life and authenticity”

Hit Square to activate the profiler in Aiden’s smartphone, lighting up the city streets with data. Names, incomes, and criminal histories flicker onto the screen, giving the bustling city streets a palpable sense of life and authenticity. Players can spend hours just walking through Chicago and siphoning money from people’s bank accounts. Or listening in on phone conversations. Or watching text exchanges. The possibilities are enormous.

But Aiden can also take a much more active role in the world. Besides pursuing main story missions, Aiden has a wealth of side missions and mini-games to interface with during the free-roam portions of Watch_Dogs. Aiden’s profiler will alert players when random crimes are about to happen, and players can intervene if they wish, connecting to security cameras and watching over just about every inch of the city.

Hacking extends through combat, driving, surveillance, and stealth, which requires an almost fundamental shift in thinking for open-world players. Aiden can do everything you’d expect from a no-nonsense vigilante, from deft gunplay to wince-inducing takedowns. But his ability to hack changes the game. Fuse boxes and underground pipes become explosives, cameras become spies, and even grenades can be detonated remotely… while the bad guys are still holding them. A new layer of options has been laid over the traditional open-world experience, empowering Aiden, and players, with more control of the moment-to-moment play.

In one later mission, for example, Aiden can plan his assault on a gang’s meeting spot before they arrive, adjusting shutter doors and guard plates to manually shift the cover points for the ensuing gunfight.

Aiden’s skills are kinetic, growing from experience via player-driven skill trees. Divided into hacking, combat, driving, and crafting, these trees open up new ways to hack, new buffs, and devastating countermeasures to employ against the police – like causing a blackout or disabling pursuit choppers.

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Watch_Dogs also features a suite of multiplayer modes, which can be dropped in and out of during single-player missions. One such mode tasks two teams with decrypting a packet of data. Each team must keep the data away from the other to prevent the opposing side from stealing it back. This digital tug-of-war encourages heart-pounding car chases, sea-side shootouts, and countless other action set pieces that erupt across Chicago.

Watch_Dogs is more than an open-world game; it challenges gamers to look at the action differently, from a small gunfight to a breakneck chase. Players can take control of a digital Chicago when Watch_Dogs hits PS4 and PS3 on 27th May.

33 Comments
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After delaying it a week from release I won’t touch this until I’ve seen user reviews, “adding polish” doesn’t explain why the storyline had to be re-certificated or why the first footage after Ubisoft’s silence seemed to show the graphics had been significantly downgraded.

I’m pretty much in the same boat, had the bundle preordered and had to switch to Killzone.
I’m desperate for PS$ games too but will wait it out for Watch_Dogs and see what the gamers think.

exogenesis87 24 April, 2014 @ 15:58
1.2

I’m actually in the opposite boat :P I did not have this preordered until the recent footage started appearing. That Welcome to Chicago trailer changed my mind and made me preorder it.

residentSteve 23 April, 2014 @ 17:38
2

Can’t wait to relaunch my ps4 with this have to say I’m disappointed with ps4 so far it’s just been a blu-ray and Netflix player since the start of January for me.

2.1

Why did you even bother buying one then?

residentSteve 23 April, 2014 @ 17:50
2.2

I did have the watchdogs pack preordered which got delayed so I replaced it with killzone which I was awful recently I did get infamous but even that was rubbish. Never mind hopefully ps4 will get better for me soon with watchdogs drive club and the last of us.

2.3

Because like me, CreditDue, no one thought the PS4 would end up being a door stop because of Sony’s shabby management and direction. I’m that disgusted with the whole PS4 shambles, I’d happily give Sony my unused PS4 back.

How long have we been waiting for Drive Club? Firmware 1.70 was first announced how many weeks ago as coming in the coming weeks? Now it’s just coming soon. Same as EVERYTHING Playstation related.

There was a time when there was such a thing as a release date. Seems to be a thing of folklore now.

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10

This looks like an exceptionally bland excercise in over-production. I’ve tried, but I can’t seem to grasp something that’ll pull me into this game. Everything looks so generic and uninspired. From the (CENSORED) protagonist I don’t feel like playing as to the bland everyday concrete cityscape. Bland, boring…

Don’t even get me started on the typically repetitive “gameplay” that drags down every AAA(A?) Ubisoft game. I don’t really feel like enduring that well known repetition all over again.

Basically it looks like an over-produced product with little real value to offer. The Ubi repetition put me off these games completely and I don’t really think that this one will be different. It even fails to stand out with any sort of appeal to my imagination.

3.1

How is having so much control over the environment bland? This is the first game to ever show buildings lights coming on a few at a time, going dark a section at a time like the, its far more dynamic than any game I have ever seen.

Being able to walk into shops and there be the same level of detail inside as out, and people in there going about their business. This is FAR from bland.

This is clearly a game that cannot really show what it has to offer in trailers, you need to experience it for yourself. I certainly don’t see its going to be any more bland than GTA, what they have done with the physics and AI is going to make it feel much more engaging. I just hope they have managed to keep the missions interesting enough to stop them feeling too repetitive.

Ultimately, most if not all games are based on repetition. There are only so many ways a game can play, what makes one interesting and another not is how those ideas are chained together, how the story works, etc. I have fa...

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How is having so much control over the environment bland? This is the first game to ever show buildings lights coming on a few at a time, going dark a section at a time like the, its far more dynamic than any game I have ever seen.

Being able to walk into shops and there be the same level of detail inside as out, and people in there going about their business. This is FAR from bland.

This is clearly a game that cannot really show what it has to offer in trailers, you need to experience it for yourself. I certainly don’t see its going to be any more bland than GTA, what they have done with the physics and AI is going to make it feel much more engaging. I just hope they have managed to keep the missions interesting enough to stop them feeling too repetitive.

Ultimately, most if not all games are based on repetition. There are only so many ways a game can play, what makes one interesting and another not is how those ideas are chained together, how the story works, etc. I have faith that Watch Dogs is going to work.

dark_angel69 23 April, 2014 @ 17:42
4

Can’t wait for this game. Would get me using my PS4 again. Been a long time now since I switched it on. My PS3 and Vita have been getting all the love

residentSteve 23 April, 2014 @ 17:53
4.1

Me to I have never know a time when I played my ps3 so much while my ps4 is covered in dust.

4.2

sell it to me for 250 quid :)

wat? The nanny filter on this blog is ridiculous.

I read quite a few previews and they all conformed the graphics had a downgrade. The game still looks fine but not great. What is worst is that even they played it for 4 hours the gameplay felt repetitive. Same can be said about CoD and still enjoyed by many (not by me) and driving feels odd although it’s a significant part of the game. All in all it’s not a good sign.
I’ll wait until the reviews poor in to decide if Watchdogs is worth my money but I’m less excited then when I saw it first.

6.1

I have watched quite a few previews which confirmed it HASN’T had a downgrade, its all spin either way until you compare it for yourself in like-for-like scenarios and weather.

Games always look more flat and fake when its day time and dry compared to night time and wet. The reflections on wet surfaces con the brain into feeling that its more realistic.

@AlexAtkinUK Yes I read those to but I have 4 to 6 sites I trust (Dutch, German, UK and US) and they say all the same and talks about a graphical downgrade.
That is actually not the worst thing I read. I guess the fact this is also on PS360 has something to do with it. The thing that worries me is that they all say the gameplay is repetitive.

I would prefer a delayed game than a bugfest, Battlefield 4 should have been released late February on the PS4 and held back on other platforms because it was not ready, Driveclub? well it’s not like evolution studios can’t make good games so I’m in no hurry, Watchdogs??? you’d be hard pushed to find a rubbish Ubisoft game and I don’t mean a game you don’t like..

As for myself I can catch up with ACBF multiplayer, Warframe, BF 4 campaign, Infamous SS bad playthrough and Trials Fusion, not forgetting tombraider, dmc , hotline miami, sly cooper, PES2014 plus a backlog on my PS3, imagine if I picked up a Vita over the weekend I might experience a serious gaming drought until watchdogs comes out…… jeez

8

Really enjoyed reading the Posts here, the games review is ‘when i see it for myself’, as with much lately… the best line though was one i been thinking of for a while, ‘wasting my warranty’, really is, and as explained hindsight IS a good thing, oh well, really never thought i would be thinking that when i managed to ‘grab’ my PS4, december 13th, but there were some shops offering More than i just paid, in cash, IF only i chose to turn quick profit.. when it Did dawn on me the shops offer was about hundred less than i paid, tempted but will have faith my unused months will not bite my behind when warranty expires, impulse, sometimes is good, mostly is bad?.. but was glad to read others having same thoughts as me.. not looking to debate anything etc…..

So that why the delay some-one from sony Says “hey guys we “Need” MP right” like MP was not plan at first so what do we get?

a downgrade single player MP bolted on game, no word if tablets or vita helps friends on their adventure like was shown last year E3.

10

yay so close to release now, lil over a month left.

vicentecarro 24 April, 2014 @ 17:05
11

Is the capture in the article from the PS4 version or PC?

ATLBravesfan13 28 April, 2014 @ 06:44
12

Can we get some high res pics of the ps4 that show everyone this game was not downgraded? Thanks

D_R_A_G_A_T_A_88 29 April, 2014 @ 13:21
13

Looks amazing!

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