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gamescom 2013

Watch Dogs

Watch Dogs Cat-And-Mouse And Companion App Multiplayer Impressions
by Mike Futter on Aug 21, 2013 at 07:36 AM
Platform PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher Ubisoft
Developer Ubisoft Montreal
Rating Mature

Watch Dogs devious multiplayer modes pepper a bit of Demon's Souls into Ubisoft's new open  world IP. I learned this the hard way when, during my demo, a developer suddenly invaded my  game. With no warning the chase was on, and either I was going to end up hacked or would stop the intruder dead in his tracks.

The unexpected event, which had me on the hunt for a rival hacker, tasked me with finding him (or her) before the hack was complete. The chase is limited to a sphere on the map, but it's not that easy to smoke out the assailant.

Much like Assassin's Creed's competitve mode, it's impossible to tell a rival hacker by sight. While every player looks like Aiden Pearce in their own games, others see you as a random NPC.

Using Aiden's phone and studying the behavior of those in the area will yield the culprit. Once discovered, the defensive player must eliminate the hacker or be "slaved" to their network. The victim suffers no ill effects, but the successful hacker will get cash from slaves' future effort.

I failed, but it presented an opportunity to see revenge. Players are granted one chance to earn retribution. By opening up the map (for me, this was accomplished by pressing in the touchpad), I was able to find my target. The cat-and-mouse from the agressor's point of view is handled in three steps: identify the target, complete the hack without being discovered and killed, and escape the area.

I found a place to hide, and when my mark walked past me down the street, I slipped to the furthest reaches of the hack area. Once the progress meter reached 100 percent, it was into a car and away.

Shortly thereafter, my new archenemy tried to invade my network again. This time, she wasn't crafty enough, and I put her down while she tried to run away. It was quite a lot of fun, and it will present an interesting wrinkle when roaming Watch Dogs' Chicago.

The competitive second-screen functions work a bit differently. This mode is designed to be more fun, and Ubisoft Montreal decided to disable the reputation system while a challenge is ongoing. As you try to escape from a foe in a helicopter (controlled by a touchscreen device), running over pedestrians won't impede your campaign progress by making you hated amongst the populus.

Playing as the nefarious interloper is fun, and I had access to road blockers, traffic lights, bridges, and exploding steam pipes to harass the console player. I also was given the opportunity to use police vehicles to pen my foe in.

The companion app, called Ctos Mobile, will be available for free on iOS and Android phones and tablets when Watch Dogs launches on November 15 (PS4), November 19 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC), and sometime in November for Xbox One. A copy of the retail Watch Dogs game is not required to play, and users of the app can add friends by PSN ID, Gamertag, or uPlay account.

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Watch Dogs

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: