Say what you want about Watch Dogs, but you can’t deny that its core hacking system is cool. Being able to plunge Chicago into virtual chaos using your phone makes you feel powerful, and that’s before you resort to the usual guns and grenades.
But come on now, Ubisoft. You can’t expect us to believe Aiden Pearce is doing all this from his smartphone without any complications. Everyone’s got one of those mobile devices nowadays, but as good as they are, we all know that they don’t exactly work how we want them to all the time. Here’s what would happen if the events in Watch Dogs were actually realistic.
1. Unbelievable battery life
I’ll start with the obvious one up front. Let’s be honest, your phone’s charge might last an entire day provided you don’t even turn on the screen to check the time. A few checks of your email and a quick Twitter update is usually enough to send the battery into the redzone.
Now take Aiden Pearce, and his constantly logging into Chicago’s operating system. The first time he changes the traffic lights at an intersection he’s going to have to head back to the bunker to plug in his phone. Maybe Aiden’s trenchcoat carries dozens of extra batteries. Is that why it flaps around so much?
2. He never gets spam
Aiden only ever seems to get texts and calls from people he wants to talk to. I don’t know about you, but most of the time I excitedly check my phone after I receive a text, only to find it’s spam about some “special offer” or a call about a free credit report. Not Aiden. Why? Well, just imagine your next tailing mission in Watch Dogs being interrupted by an ad for penis enhancement.
Maybe Aiden doesn’t get them anymore, but he must have received some in the past. It looks like he got a pretty sweet deal on trenchcoats and hats before, because those are the only things he seems capable of buying in clothes shops. Maybe he just has a really great sponsorship deal. From, er, people who make slightly shabby coats and self-aggrandising hats.
3. He never gets caught for texting while driving
Using your phone while driving is very dangerous. You’re distracted from the road, and you have to take your hand off the wheel to use it. Of course, it’s even more dangerous if you happen to be a Fixer chasing down Aiden Pearce in a car. Drive over some blockers or a steam vent and it’s lights out for you.
There don’t seem to be many visible police in Watch Dogs’ version of Chicago (they just seem to magically appear during a chase), but if any of them did spot Aiden on his phone, he’d be pulled over in a flash and slapped with a hefty fine. Maybe even some points on his license too. Perhaps this fictional version of the Windy City doesn't have the same law that the real one put into effect late last year.
4. He never drops or damages his phone
We’ve all done it. Those slippery phones always seem to squirm out of our hands at the worst possible time. I’ve lost count of the number of friends who've dropped their phone down a toilet. What’s more is, the pricier the handset, the more damage it seems to take / faecal matter it seems to attract.
Aiden’s phone must be very expensive and heavily customised, given how high tech it is. The amount of running and jumping about he does, coupled with how many times he gets shot or in car accidents must mean Aiden drops his phone from time to time. Thankfully for him, any one of the people whose bank accounts he’s hacked can pick up the bill.
5. He never gets unexpected phone calls
*Bzzzt... bzzzt* “Hello? Yeah, hi mother… No I can’t really talk right n… Yes I’ve remembered aunt Sarah’s birthday… No I haven’t forgotten you’re visiting at the weekend. Listen, I’m surrounded by some very angry gang members at the moment, I have to go. I’ll call you back okay?…Yeah I love you too.”
It’s pretty lucky Aiden’s phone never rings while he’s sneaking up behind a bad guy with his baton at the ready. Maybe he remembers to put it on silent before infiltrating a gang hideout, though it's got to be pretty quiet on vibrate too. Like most human beings, gangsters happen to be another group of people who don’t like you being on your phone while you're trying to kill them.
6. No-one criticises Aiden for constantly looking at his phone
One of the more amusing moments in Watch Dogs for me was near the start of the game where Aiden visits his sister’s house. She’s talking about her son and how everyone is coping with the tragic loss of her daughter. Meanwhile, Aiden’s walking around the house looking at his phone as her heartfelt conversation continues.
People can get super annoyed if you’re on your phone in their company. Sending texts to other people while you’re having a conversation is just plain rude. At least most people put their phone away again afterwards. Aiden seems to have the thing glued to his hand. I know you’ve got some pockets on that flappy trenchcoat of yours, Pearce.
I know if I had a phone with the power of Aiden Pearce’s, I wouldn’t be so mad at how much I currently pay for mine. I bet his data doesn’t get throttled after 5GB either. As it is, we’ve got a long way to go before the events of Watch Dogs can be believable. Have you noticed anything else wrong with Watch Dogs’ world? Let me know in the comments.
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