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E3 2013: Watch Dogs

E3 2013

Watch Dogs was the highlight of last year’s show, a game that combined familiar elements – open worlds and hacking – with innovative new technology, cutting edge graphics and an intriguing story.

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With the game nearing completion, Ubisoft have been showing off a free-roaming demo at their E3 booth this year. It began with Aiden, the main character prowling the streets of Chicago, scanning for targets to hack. None were available, because he hadn’t hacked into the city OS at a substation in that area, so that became the Ubisoft representative’s next task.

“One of the standout games”Similar to Deus Ex, this can be achieved several ways: an all-out attack, stealth, hacking or as we saw, a combination of all three. Aiden hopped over a fence and hacked into the camera system to get a better view, then stole the passcode to the compound’s gate. Opening the gate as a distraction, he took down one guard silently, before throwing an IED into another group of enemies.

Where the demo became more interesting was when Aiden was hacked by another person in the game, a person later revealed to be another Ubisoft representative behind a curtain. In Watch Dogs, multiplayer challenges allow you to silently enter another player’s world and try to hack them. That player can then retaliate by entering their world and so on. This is a theme at E3 this year: multiplayer that’s woven into the fabric of the game, rather than being a separate mode.

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As Watch Dogs nears release, it remains one of the standout games of the next-gen launch window. It, along with another Ubisoft title, The Division, are perhaps the most compelling games of their kind and hint at the types of experiences that triple-A games will be able to deliver over the years to come.

The author of this fine article

is the Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in November 2000. Get in touch on Twitter @PhilipMorton.

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