To say that I’m stoked for Ubisoft’s latest opus is to say that the Pope thinks Jesus is a pretty cool dude. Before E3 2012, if you had asked me to describe my ideal game, the stealthy-hacky-sandboxy glory that is Watch Dogs would have been my answer. Now I can save time by pulling up the trailer and saying “pretty much that.” But I’ve got a page to fill, so let’s try something else. Since Ubisoft seems to be dragging its feet over the subject of the release date like a leper with a length of rope, let’s talk about why I’m excited for Watch Dogs. Just pretend I’ve cornered you at the buffet table at the most excruciating dinner party of your life.
Resist bad pun about hacks…resist…
Simply put, I’m a cerebral dude. I like puzzles. I like solving problems with finesse rather than force. You’ll see me toting a sniper rifle in every shooter. You’ll see me crouched in the shadows with a bow and arrow in every fantasy RPG. Now, I like sandbox games, but this is an area on which they’ve seriously dropped the ball. By this point, I thought the ball had bounced away and over the fence into mean old Mr. Henderson’s backyard. But Watch Dogs seems to be vaulting the fence and kicking the ball back over. I wonder if there’s a clause in the Geneva Convention for torturing metaphors.
Don’t forget about the clause for using hashtags on Facebook.
Anyway, it seems to me that I can accomplish my goals with strategy, with skill, without ever firing a shot. That appeals to me greatly as both a fan of puzzles and stealth. The thought of getting in and out unnoticed, with nothing but confusion and the whiff of burning dog feces behind me, is my favorite thought to have when playing a game. Dish On A Red [Editor’s Note: That’s Dishonored, for those of us that don’t subscribe to Logan’s insistence on never being quite clear.] did this fairly well, with one crucial problem. I didn’t feel like I was the stealthy black ops badass. I felt like I was piloting him.
Watch Dogs, I hope, will resolve this issue. All the press and gameplay footage seem to indicate that Ubisoft’s goal is to make you feel like you have the power rather than just controlling the one who does. This is a very fine line, but I for one can’t wait until Fall 2013 to find out which side it’ll land on. For now, let’s see that awesome trailer one more time.