Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Who Watches the Watch Dogs?

Not much blogging going on here last week, but it wasn't for a lack of games being played. Quite the opposite in fact. My usual time for writing a blog post is when I get home from work after a night shift, usually accompanied by a little mining operation in EVE Online. The hands-off nature of mining means that, although I'm still at the computer to keep an eye on things and switch to a new asteroid when the old one is depleted, I'm free to do other things on my second monitor without too much impediment, namely drafting blog posts. The thing is though, despite the release of the Kronos update for EVE during the week, I've spent very little time in there thanks to the fact I'm having an absolute BLAST in Watch_Dogs.

My fear that the missions in Watch_Dogs might dilute the pleasure of tearing up Chicago was unfounded. The missions I've run so far have been just as fun as messing about in the open world playground has been. They are nicely varied, offer a decent level of challenge, and can often be tackled in a number of ways. Need to infiltrate an enemy stronghold to steal an access code? No problem! Go in all guns blazing, or maybe ram a truck through the front gate. How about sneaking in over the fence and silently taking out the enemies one at a time with a silenced pistol, or possibly even just using the enemy's own security system against them by hacking your way into their CCTV cameras and jumping from camera to camera until you find your target and then hacking his phone for the security code without ever setting foot inside the compound? While the missions can sometimes be a little frustrating in that if you die right at the end you need to start all over again, it's usually in a way which you feel is fair, you tend to feel you failed because you failed, not because the game is unfair or badly designed which is always a good thing.

There's also plenty to do in the city. I've been mainly focusing on the main storyline missions and 23 hours in I'm coming up to being about two thirds of the way through. Obviously that's not what has taken up all 23 hours because sometimes it's just too tempting to tear around the city in a fast car for a bit. There are also dynamic events happening all the time that draw your attention away from the main story. As you drive around you will often get an alert warning you of a potential crime in progress and a prompt to set a waypoint. When you get to the area you need to use the ctOS's facial recognition technology to find the potential victim or criminal and then watch until something happens, when it does you need to intervene before the victim comes to any harm. A non lethal intervention, while more difficult, will result in a bigger reward. These are very simple little distractions that only take a few minutes to complete and can be easily ignored if you want, but I find them very satisfying little mini-games between the bigger set pieces of the main arc. There are also countless side missions, jobs, games and challenges to partake in as you roam the city, more than enough to keep you going well after the main story is finished with. And that's before I even mention the multi-player!

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