My first thought: This game must be coming on next-gen consoles. Maybe I’ve been playing too much Diablo 3 on my MacBook Air, but the graphics for this game look amazing to me. It’s all the little details in the city. The grates on the sidewalk have all the bumps you would expect, the individual tree branches blow in the wind, the lighting in the club is dynamic, and the rain towards the end of the trailer is beautiful. We’ve seen all of these details elsewhere, but not in an urban free-roaming game.
But as the last few years have shown us, graphics aren’t everything. Which is why I’m glad the story and gameplay are so intriguing. The interaction between the protagonist and his friend was like something out of a good television show, in that it was not only entertaining in its own right but also gave us insight into the characters shown. As far as gameplay goes, the way Ubisoft is approaching the hacking element looks great. The idea of “hack anything” is really promising, and will hopefully give players a variety of options for missions and not simply require us to figure the one specific thing we need to do to for progression.
Now, there was one worrying aspect of the trailer. The game world looks very dynamic and realistic, with people reacting to things as you’d expect – the man brushing is coat when splashed with water and the other mourning over his just-shot wife come to mind. But if these are simply responses that happen all the time in-game, they could get old fast. In the best case scenario, gamers simply decide to ignore these details and focus on the task at hand. However, if Ubisoft only programmed a limited number of responses, in might be rather irritating to hear the exact same crying every time that there’s a firefight (the citizen responses in Spider-Man 2 come to mind).
Overall though, Watch Dogs looks like a great new IP that combines elements of two of gaming’s best series, Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed.