Watch Dogs when taken online provides a fluid multiplayer experience in a large living city filled with hack-able infrastructure feels a lot better in your hands than it might have looked or sounded in advertising. Watch Dogs has a slick feel and stays intense with heavily team based and solo reliant modes available. In a lot of ways, the controls and feel to the title’s multiplayer rely on expected and already known movements that players can recall from other games in the open world action game genre. That being said, plenty of new gameplay aspects are introduced and satisfy the need for innovation in the genre.
Players may use phone energy per hacks, and better stuff takes more energy. Some hacks may backfire, and that’s all part of the chaos as random gunfights erupt, players accept contracts on the fly, join missions at any time online from single player, stay in lobbies with other players and continue voting on maps and playing more or back out and do a different mode, shoot while riding passenger in a car, hack while driving in a car, identify useful and varying degrees of exclusive information through hacking tech, and more.
This title presents a number of optional side content in the multiplayer including ctOS Mobile Challenges, Cash Run Challenges, random encounters with other online players who invade your game trying to hack and/or kill you, and a lot more. The real meat of the online multiplayer, however, is definitely the larger scope, team-based combat aspect presented in more advanced gameplay modes that Watch Dogs provides online (such as Decryption).
“Race shortcuts and dirty tactics are appreciated but optional” players are told as online speed sessions take place. This is a real statement, since sometimes side tracking yourself with shortcuts could cost you the match – especially if every racer tries to huddle into the shortcut at the same time. Races also manage to feel totally different based on the vehicles used and map chosen. Sometimes it’s just a matter of grabbing a huge lead and messing up everything behind you by hacking traffic lights, road construction, etc. and other times it’s truly a fight to the finish with race cars that handle well, motorcycles and dirt bikes, or other various matches.
Some players found that while engaged in hacking other players’ games, hiding in a car with dark windows (by pressing Circle or B) is a great tactic when the game needs players to hack an unaware player and not be spotted. Again, as mentioned in the Video Impressions – this may sound corny and gimmicky at first, but when players take controllers into their own hands the feel of Watch Dogs is tight and on point. Small criticisms include the lack of direct support for the PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller on the Windows PC version of the game unless players get some sort of middleware or adapter (despite indie games like Assault Android Cactus having this feature), and low-tier cars feeling pretty much like old school retro vehicles pulled out of mob video games (but medium-high tier vehicles, dirt bikes, boats, etc. feel great)! In the end these are very minor issues that don’t stop Watch Dogs from giving a great online experience.
Decryption: In Decryption, two teams of four face off capturing data that must then be decrypted. The data object is first obtained through either team and then the two teams fight over it as defenders and attackers. Distributed processing among the team’s phones while de-crypting is used, so the more players that are close together the faster the file is decrypted. Once the file has been decrypted the mission is complete and the secrets of the target are no longer safe. Cha-ching, money time. Gameplay-wise, this can cause results which vary based on the map between shootouts on foot or races and players hacking / destroying everything in sight. Players who end up in the passenger seat can help out an escaping driver who is busy de-crypting a file and making the getaway by hacking intersections and pipelines on the way to the big win.
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Video Gameplay w/ Impressions VoiceOver: