by Adam Dileva
When Ubisoft announced Watch_Dogs for the first time back in 2012, it instantly caught the eye of many people, myself included, for its gorgeous visuals and intriguing gameplay based around hacking. Then just shortly before launch it got delayed six months to the disappointment of many, but here we are those six months later and Watch_Dogs finally exists for all of us to play. Ubisoft wanted us to believe that Watch_Dogs was going to change everything. So does it? Kind of…
Watch_Dogs at its core is an open world action game, and essentially plays as if it’s one part Grand Theft Auto and one part Assassin’s Creed. The backdrop is Chicago, though drastically different from the one we know today in the real world. Chicago in the world of Watch_Dogs is hyper-connected with a new infrastructure network called ctOS. This allows everything from all technology, communication, traffic, security systems, and more to be accessed easily, even in unintended ways.
The ctOS system really shows how interconnected everything and everyone is when there’s only one infrastructure in place. I’m not sure whoever thought putting a whole city behind one accessible wall would be a good idea, but luckily it works out for the hero of Watch_Dogs, Aiden Pearce. If you watch the TV show Person of Interest, you’ll have an idea of what ctOS is capable of in the wrong hands. Sure ctOS may boast a better city for the average person, but in the wrong hands, the city can literally be used as a weapon.
Aiden Pearce is a talented hacker who is haunted by a past family tragedy. Naturally he blames himself and seeks revenge for what happened, and does so with his hacking abilities and using ctOS in ways that don’t seem all that unbelievable in today’s world. Aiden has taken a step back, away from his family, yet he still watches over them almost obsessively, even when they just want him to let it go and move on. That’s not good enough for Aiden, as he needs justice to move on, and will find the justice he seeks by taking matters into his own hands. Most people think of superheroes as someone from a comic book, but Aiden instead is just a normal guy with extraordinary hacking abilities that I would best describe as a blend of Max Payne and Batman. I can see Aiden’s personality not being pleasing for everyone, but I quite enjoyed seeing him slowly deal with his internal anger and extracting revenge in the way he only knows how.
Aiden not only knows how to hack seemingly almost anything, he can also defend himself up and close with his baton, or if need be, in a shootout with almost any firearm. Aiden will eventually gain access to quite a number of different traditional weapons, ranging from all your standard pistols, shotguns, rifles, snipers, and more. In most cases you can choose how you want to play; the stealthier type, the all-out action shooter, or a blend of both.