The lights are on
Watch Dogs is only a month away and while we had extensive
hands-on time with it, we haven't yet explored the online play. Today, Ubisoft
Montreal released a 9-minute trailer showing off three different ways the game
incorporates multiplayer. Here is a breakdown of what's shown and if we think
it will have a big impact on the experience.
Everything Is Connected
In the world of Watch Dogs, everything is intertwined and
that includes the multiplayer and single-player content, which plays out in the
same world. You can just be strolling down the street minding your own business
when another player tries to hack you. But fear not, you also possess the same
Three Different Ways To Offer Multiplayer
Ubisoft isn't just offering one way to involve other
players, but three different opportunities to challenge players via online
hacking contracts, using the CtOS mobile companion app to control hackable
objects, and competitive decryption combat. All the online gameplay contributes to points you can put into the skill
tree, which features hacking, combat, and driving focuses.
Online Hacking Contracts Keep You Guessing
Online hacking contracts can be found by simply exploring
the city and if you accept a contract, you enter another player's game. Your opposition immediately gets an alert,
"You are being invaded," putting them on guard and potentially finding your
hiding spot. The mini map shows that your
enemy is somewhere in the circled vicinity. Remember, your opponent looks just
like a random NPC, so figuring out who's trying to hack you isn't so easy. You can try to profile everyone, but Ubisoft
showed a way to find out who was the hacker by causing chaos. Shooting Aiden's
gun in a public area and seeing how civilians react is a way to gauge who's
really an NPC or not. Except, as seen in the trailer, it has one big risk:
Someone could call the cops and draw more attention to you. This doesn't bode
well when you're trying to prevent someone from completing a hack on you. If
you can find them before they do, the war is on and you can try to shoot at
them or run them off the road. Avoiding being killed and hacking your opponent
grants you notoriety points.
CtOS Mobile App Lets You Outsmart The One In Power
You can accept a challenge from someone on the free CtOS
mobile app (which will be available on iOS, Android phones and tablets) during your journey through the Windy City. In the recent trailer, a mobile
player controlled a helicopter using a touchscreen device and tried to wreak
havoc on the player in the game. The
mobile player has control to hack anything to get in your way and shine a
spotlight right on you as you try to complete a race course and hit all the
checkpoints on time. The mobile player has one job: Stop you from succeeding.
The streets aren't different from the single player campaign, so if you've paid
attention throughout you can anticipate the hacks your opponent may use against
you. The mobile player can leave you a
message at the end of the race to make a remark on the match.
Check out more on this mode with our hands-on impressions
from Gamescom 2013.
The Most Promising Mode:
Competitive Decryption Combat
From the trailer, the mode that most caught our eye was the
competitive decryption combat that looks similar to Halo's Oddball mode. Here,
two teams are pitted against each other to steal and decrypt a file. The
footage in the trailer showed you working with a team to storm the building and
find the file. Unfortunately, the other team grabbed it first, but because
decryption takes time, you have an opportunity to get in close and disrupt the
decryption. If you kill the enemy with the file in hand, he drops it. If your
team stays close together, the decryption speed increases. This mode tests your ability to use your environment to your advantage by setting traps and
Will Watch Dog's Multiplayer Be Meaningful?
So far Watch Dogs has shown us a slew of things to do in its
open world from crime neutralization missions to VR games. This adds just three
more activities, and as with the other content, some things look more engaging
than others. The blend of single player and multiplayer in the open world
universe feels like a new frontier, but I'm not sure I see people investing hours into Watch Dogs' multiplayer ventures. I worry all this content will just
lost in the shuffle. And even just getting a glimpse at these modes, they feel
like small diversions, with the competitive decryption combat showing the most
potential. These days in the open-world landscape, you must go big with multiplayer content to engage players, like Grand Theft Auto Online. At any rate, this game will be about the world and what you can do
in it. This is just adding to options. But that's just it - they feel like
options, not must-play content.
What did you think of the multiplayer modes shown off in the trailer above? Do you think you'll be engaging with them a lot?
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.