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If you haven’t checked out the live demo of Watch Dogs from Ubisoft’s E3 media briefing on Monday, remedy that as soon as you can. Ubisoft showed off more of the demo than it could reveal on Monday. It’s the same stage and the same mission, but we saw a few different riffs on what millions witnessed.
Watch Dogs, from what we’ve been told, focuses in on our hyper-connected society, and the web of information that floats around about us all. As you saw from the demo, Aiden Pierce uses the electronic devices that keep our society in order for him to advance his missions and use that power to control Chicago. What we saw deviated from the guided tour of the game in the video above.
We watched as Aiden bounced his signal over to a surveillance camera in front of the theatre that he enters. From the camera, you can see people standing near it, and eavesdrop into their conversations, such as one from a man arguing about firing someone at his job. We also learned that signal jamming, which Aiden uses to emit a pulse that shuts down the phones in front of the theatre in the demo, can also be used to throw off police suspicion, or in the heights of a high-speed police chase. Also, throughout the game, you’ll be able to explore the entire city and locales like the theatre, whether it’s mission-based or not.
We learned the name of the contact who passes Aiden the gun in the demo. His name is Jordy, and he’ll play a big role in the game, we’ve been told. The tool that Aiden uses to scan the room and find out information ranging from credit scores to criminal records to HIV status is called the Profiler. It’s also what he uses to track DeMarco’s associate to make the hit.
From there, the team took Aiden outside, but instead of simply setting off the traffic lights to cause a car wreck, they showed us how he can navigate this virtual Windy City. Aiden climbs a platform and makes his way onto the subway tracks. From the L platform, he sets off the EMP wave that causes the car wreck, then picks off De Marco’s bodyguards from an elevated position before dropping down to take down the others.
Although the demo at Ubisoft’s presentation cut off there, we saw how the police showed up nearly instantly. The game’s GPS and navigation showed off a variety of objects, including more traffic lights, subway stops to escape into, and bridges. Aiden stole a car, drove across a bridge overlooking the Chicago River, then hacked the bridge arms so that he made a high speed leap across while leaving the cops in the dust.
As the gameplay section of the demo wrapped, Ubisoft revealed another important detail: if you have an iPad (no details on other tablets, or iPhones), you’ll be able to download an app that ties your in-game progress into the game’s virtual Chicago. You can check your in-game progress for every strand of the mission, from your clear time to your methodology. That also includes what your friends are doing while they play Watch Dogs. You can check their mission logs and see how they played and try to beat their clear times. You can see a timeline of how you did, and there are hacking minigames to get more info on the people you encounter (the developers cited the DeMarco employee who Aiden hacks – with the app, you can pull up more information on her, and using in-game currency, you can hack for more information, including offshore bank accounts). You can also help friends or hurt friends via the app by hacking traffic lights and playing around with their escape routes as they play.
Of the many games we’ve seen this week at E3, few have impressed us as much as Watch Dogs. From its amazing visual splendor to innovative gameplay and approach to issues that we worry about today, such as privacy and surveillance, this is a title we’ll be eagerly anticipating. In a minute-to-minute world in which every program, app, and TV show fights for a sliver of our attention, we’re looking forward to Watch Dogs stealing all of it.