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Watch Dogs: The lighter side of DRM

By Alex Dale on Wednesday 12th Jun 2013 at 10:40 PM UTC

Doesn't it feel sometimes like all of Ubisoft's brands are merging into the same game? That's the perils of asset-sharing across multiple studios, we guess. The good news is that when Ubi's Big Bang happens, that one game will be absolutely fantastic.

Watch_Dogs (let's call it Watch Dogs from now on) takes us a couple of inches closer to Ubisoft's Ground Zero with a compelling open-world framework that takes the best ingredients of Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed, and chucks it into the fiery cauldron of a cyberpunk Chicago where the entire city's electronics are ripe for strategic exploitation.

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Or at least they are after you've disabled the nearest CTOS signal mast. Welcome to Watch Dogs' equivalent of Far Cry 3's guard posts.
The behind-closed-doors demo took us to a previously unseen part of Chicago - The Wards - a poor, rundown suburb with far fewer hackable electronics than downtown, as you'd expect.

The best bits of Far Cry 3 and Assassin's Creed, transported to a cyberpunk cauldron where anything can be used as a weapon

In the distance we see a pawn shop - here you can collect garbage and use it to craft new items, such as IEDs. First things first, however; to disable the nearest CTOS signal.

As with Far Cry 3's guard posts, your objective is to clear the area of enemies and hack into the network, and how you do this is up to you - but almost certainly the first thing you'll want to do is a spot of recon.

Where Far Cry 3 man Jason only had a handheld camera, Aiden has an entire security camera network at his fingertips - he hacks into one and uses it to tag guard positions and locate the one with the access code. Once done, you have to decide whether to go for a stealthy, hacky or shooty approach. On this occasion, Aiden decides to go with a healthy mix of all three.

First, he enters the complex unseen by clambering onto a breeze block and vaulting over the gate. Once in and with all guard locations tagged to memory, he begins taking them out one by one. The nearest to us is standing dumbly near a forklift, so Aiden uses that as a distraction, activating it remotely via his phone.

Close Close

As the guard investigates, Aiden creeps behind him and snuffs him out.
He tries the trick a second time on a second guard, but this time it goes - as we Brits say - 'tits up'. Already suspicious, the guard fails to fall for a nearby gate opening by itself, and Aiden is rumbled.

Gunplay occurs. Aiden is heavily armed, but heavily outnumbered, so does a runner so he can recoup. While fleeing, he activates the forklift on the fly, giving access to a handy tunnel. Presumably, you can also lower it behind you to block access to your pursuers.

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