Watch_Dogs Review: Deus Ex Smartphonia

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅27-05-14
Online Gameplay

Some games have a set multiplayer mode. Others use an MMO-esq system, where each playing is playing on the same server and interacting in realtime. Watch_Dogs aims to be different though the use of so-called asynchronous online gameplay.

Early on you become very comfortable with Fixer Contract and Criminal Activity pop-ups based on certain in-game triggers, recognisable thanks to their light-blue colouring and represented on the in-game map. Similarly once you've reached a certain part in Act I, and at any point beyond then if you're online, a purple prompt will indicate an available multiplayer mission known as an Online Contract.

If you accept the prompt the servers will then attempt to match you with other players local to you in the in-game world to compete in a task or series of tasks including hacking each other, 8-Player Free Roam and racing along a route. During these tasks you'll be able to use skills granted via the in-game Notoriety system, with the goal of earning cash and Notoriety based on your performance. Note that poor performance can also lead to you losing Notoriety, making that the stakes go beyond time sunk.

If you're starting a play session with an aim to get in multiplayer practice you can request an Online Contract via the in-game map, side-stepping the random encounter process and immediately placing you in a queue for the appropriate area.

Sadly a lack of player engagement during the press review period made these encounters exceedingly rare and hard to experience, but the few times we were able to engage it was a great diversion from the main single-player missions. By contrast the progression system felt tacked-on, perhaps it was included because such systems are 'needed' in games these days, but the pure act of playing with others in both co-operative and competitive modes felt both natural and fun. It left us looking forward to trying it out with greater numbers to work from post-release.


Reach a certain point in the game and in-game actions such as hacking has the chance to trigger a bounty on your sorry head. If this happens you have to defend yourself against an invasion by another player as they hack you, where they join your world and try to stay out of sight for the duration of the hack. If you spot them they will make a run for it, at which time you have to disable them by any means necessary.

Starting from 1%, the hack continues until you find them and kill/disable them or it reaches 100%. Chasing down a fleeing hacker is one of the more fun moments in the game, but the extreme skill disparity between players could become a problem in need of a decent matchmaking system.

As you would expect the reward is Notoriety, but if you're not keen you can go offline at any time by selecting the appropriate option in the game menus.

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