26 cool, destructive, and silly things I did in the first 4 hours of Watch Dogs

10. Hacked a CTOS tower

Another Assassins Creed alarm bell went off when I spotted a CTOS tower (the communications hubs of the games sinister surveillance clique) on the map and was invited to hack it. A network of towers? The promise of new map detail upon overcoming each one? Sounded like Ubisoft was reworking the old synchronisation/radio tower mechanic from AC and Far Cry 3. But not so. Theyre actually much smaller structures, designed not for climbing challenges, but spatial puzzling. Theyre all about obstacle traversal, detective work and daisy-chaining equipment hacks to gain access to their central controls. Sometimes you need to make a navigable path through their fenced-off grounds; sometimes youll be able to do the whole thing almost without moving.

11. Got spotted with a gun, failed to stop the resulting call to the police

It turns out that Watch Dogs city is really reactive to your behaviour. Its also very systemic, with a whole mess of layered gameplay mechanics allowing those reactions to snowball very quickly. Pull out a gun in a peaceful residential area, and you wont just get the usual array of ambient gasps. Theres a good chance someone will call the police to your immediate position. Fortunately, those systems work for you too. Disappear into the crowd, and if you identify the caller quickly enough, you can hack their phone and interrupt before they get a chance to drop you in it. It takes fast, reactive investigation, but when you pull it off, the sense of professionally owning a situation is palpable. (At least, I imagine it is. I totally screwed it up and had to run away.)

12. Accidentally robbed a charity worker

Experimenting with hacking the phones of innocent passers-by, I spot one whose bank details are freely available. Naturally, in the name of researching how easy it is to make a quick buck in Watch Dogs, I lift them and headed to the nearest ATM to cash in. Only as I complete the transaction do I notice that the womans further character details explain that shes a volunteer charity worker. But by then, Im committed--and besides, theres research to do.

13. Found a citizen who's made college porn

And a clown fetishist. And a robot fighting enthusiast. And an advocate of human cloning. And a parapsychology enthusiast. And a professional philosopher and former polygamist, who just so happened to be looking and acting exactly like a drunken hobo when I happened upon him. You can dig up some very interesting details by scanning Watch Dogs NPC citizens at random.

14. Went full-Batman stalking an imminent murderer, totally failed to stop a murder

Amid Watch Dogs vast, throbbing multitude of side-missions and spontaneous amusements, its possible to pre-emptively tackle street-crimes, Minority Report-style. Its up to you to stalk the perp, find the victim, and then go Batman on that situation. In my case, a chap with a violent past is loitering around an alleyway, and a hapless innocent is wandering toward him. Careful not to spook the mook, I tracking and locate him unseen, before getting close enough to what I suspect will be the scene of the crime. Unfortunately, in my efforts to stay out of the way, I leave it too long and the victim gets stabbed right up. But still, I eventually chase down the criminal and smash his face into the pavement, so justice, right?

15. Did a whole lot of traffic light trolling

I know Ive already mentioned this, but seriously, once you start you wont be able to stop. For the first couple of hours youll be hacking every set of traffic lights you drive through, just because you can. I figure that Ubisoft wouldnt have given me a rear-view driving camera if they didnt want me to enjoy speeding away from a whole lot of self-made carnage, so I had at it at every opportunity. And you will too.

16. Discovered how varied and realistic the car handling is

Watch Dogs car handling takes a fair bit of getting used to, in that its somewhat weightier and more demanding than weve seen in open-world games of late. Were not talking Gran Turismo levels of driving sim, but WDs cars are rather more realistic than expected. But road-play is a much richer, more varied experience for it, with some interesting pros and cons balancing out its various vehicles. Sports cars are fast and sexy, but handbrake turns can transform your steed into a horizontal Catherine Wheel on the spot. Family cars are slow and heavy, but use the weight to your advantage, and you can (partly) make up for their lack of pace with cornering control. Itll take a while to get used to, but the extra texture to Watch Dogs driving should make things pleasingly tactical, not to mention creating a few ludicrous accidental set-pieces.

17. Hacked the freeway roadsigns

What do you do when you find yourself on a freeway with a blown-up car and a long walk back home? You amuse yourself by hacking the roadsigns, to make them say something more interesting. Aiden himself seems to have a particular penchant for internet memes and pop culture references of the 80s and 90s. So far Ive had "Honk if you luv the vigilante", "Be excellent to each other", "Son, I am disappoint", Do a barrel roll!, Longcat is long, and Oh God. not the bees!. Yeah, there is a blatant Nic Cage reference in Watch Dogs. Game of year. Every year.

18. Trolled a guard with a 'haunted' forklift

Tasked with infiltrating a CTOS base masquerading as a building site, I have multiple means of infiltration at my disposal. I have lures. I have guns. I have explosives. I have the facility to recon the entire site via security cameras, and I can tag each patrolling guard onto my HUD in the process. But I dont, because Im having far too much fun fucking with one lone security guard. Noticing a hackable forklift truck on his patrol route, I give it a blast, raising its forks with my magic universal remote. He freaks out. A minute later, Im still at it, a Homer Simpson mantra of truck goes up, truck goes down endlessly looping in my head. Its silly and pointless, but its also a great example of how the dense layering of Watch Dogs hacking mechanics make the sheer joy of tinkering so fundamental to every part of its world.

19. Performed a beautiful, nearly disastrous stealth escape on a train

Making my way into the building site, I quickly notice that a grenadier on the gate. I can hack his nades, so I do. The hapless guard suffers a few seconds of panic, and then suffers no more. One man down, but more importantly, his vapourisation has caused one hell of a commotion. Climbing up into the main building as everyone runs the other way, I quickly find the data pack I need. Hankering after a quick getaway, I fire at the window. Its bullet-proof, and the sound of gunfire draws everyone towards me. Im boxed in, but I notice a mobile phone at the other end of the room. I activate it, creating just enough of a distraction to stealth past. I calmly walk to the railway station across the road, hide in the crowd, and wait for a train. A moment later, I board my rail-bound chariot and speed away, the sound of a frantic search still echoing through the streets behind me.