Watch_Dogs// A First Impression report.

After a long time away from the scene, here I am with a “new” game article. Although this game came out almost two months ago, (check my unboxing article here), I’ll hope not many of you had the chance to give it a try, and can then find this post useful.
I must say outright that I didn’t finish the game yet, although I already spent many hours with it, completing “Act I” (out of 5) and performing various side quest, from hacking into ctOS to facing criminal bands (trespassing their “properties”), while happily escaping the police, violating some privacy, stealing money from bank accounts and grabbing songs from peoples’ smartphones/MP3 readers.

For those of you that didn’t follow the entire development story, let’s proceed with the order…..
The game was presented to the public a few years ago (2012) as the absolute masterpiece of the new coming generation of consoles. The footage shown to public seemed so realistic in terms of graphics and NPC reactions that most people thought it was just a tech demo running on a very hi-performance PC, with a very heavily scripted game code. The truth was probably in the middle since the game disappeared from radars to come out many months afterward with very perceivable downgrades both in graphics and in performances. Gamers and critics disappointment was so great that Watch_Dogs launch was postponed (from November 2013 to end of May 2014) in order to fix what has gone wrong, thus missing PS4 launch!

Nonetheless, the concept behind it was so appealing to me that I bought the PS3 collector’s edition on day 1. Here is a first impression report about it.

In a very near future the entire city of Chicago is completely interconnected and controlled by a complex system called “ctOS”, an acronym which stands for … “central Operating System” (wow!).

This system links together every aspect of life and society, ranging from your personal data and friends ring to the city’s critical infrastructures (BIG-MISTAKE!). If you have the proper equipment, like Aiden Pierce’s hack&boosted smartphone

you can have the entire city kneeling before you since everything will fall apart once penetrated by your clever code. Aiden has a very troubled story behind him: he (and his former partner) were caught while trying to hack where they should have not entered, with the result that, after an intimidation attempt, Aiden’s little nephew ends up dead.
A few months later, seeking revenge, Aiden get back to the scene – this time alone – and starts investigating. In his quest for justice, he’s helped out by odd people, like the gang leader Jordi Chin and the hacker Clara Lille.

Aiden will, of course, meet other people while the main plot unfolds, but I won’t talk about them just now to avoid spoilers. At first, although there is plenty of things to do in Chicago, your possibility will not be unlimited so you will have to navigate your map

searching for those “red spot” you see on it (ctOS antennas) in order to hack them. The map is really big, giving you the feel for a true open world environment. Once you get to one of those antennas, you will need to violate their security to unlock different features (hotspots, secret coves, new challenges …).

Connectivity access to different districts of town will be granted after hacking into ctOS main installations, but to do it you will have to profile their employees/security guards in order to obtain the access code. Then, once inside the system, you’ll have to solve different enigmas resembling in concept those seen in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Once you’re done, the choice is yours to leave the place undetected, or have fun to kill all the guards with your preferred weapon. You can also lure them into a hotspot, and then overload it. The resulting explosion/steam flow/electrocution will reveal you’re true nature.

Following and completing the main campaign will probably return you a completion rate of around 30-35%. As said, there are tons of things to do, places to see and objects to buy. To get money, you can face various side quests, or you can simply steal it from bank accounts.

Watch_Dogs features a “reputation system” similar to the one seen in Amazing Spider-Man 2 (just to name one). Your actions will affect what citizens/police think of you and how they react when they see you. A good method to increase your reputation is to follow potential victims and protect them from crime.

You can discover potential victims by hacking into people phones and listen to their conversations. As you can see, the way people and environment are scanned and profiled recalls the features seen in the TV series “Person of interest” and it behaves in a similar way.
You’ll sure have a lot of possibilities, and almost unlimited powers…

… but remember that if you can hack, you can also be hacked! If playing while connected to PSN, other players can enter your game and try to steal data from you, thus making your single player experience much more intriguing than usual.

You also have many different ways to play online (1-vs-1, 1-vs-many ..), but we’ll talk about it in another article.

Although not timely delivered, I hope you liked this post and you find it useful. I’ll try to catch you guys soon, coding and developing permitting.

Hack the planet!

NOTE: images were taken from the internet and they probably relate to the PC version. PS3 one looks different, but I still enjoy playing it.

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