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TSA's Top 100 of 2013: 1 - Watch Dogs

Looks like hacking is popular.

1. Watch Dogs

We can only offer hearty congratulations to Ubisoft for getting a game we haven’t seen much of to the top of our list. The game, coming from Ubisoft Montreal, was announced this year at E3 and I would imagine that almost all of our excitement for the game comes from the initial gameplay demo that was shown at the end of Ubisoft’s press event.

Perhaps what was most exciting about the game was that it came completely out of the blue, a rare thing in modern gaming. There didn’t seem to be any hint or indication that the game was in development before its announcement, and yet Ubisoft managed to pull off a remarkably impressive demo of the game.

The gameplay demo from E3 is what's caused most of the excitement around Watch Dogs.
The game is set in an alternate version of Chicago, although you could almost consider it a near future version given the way that technology is developing. In this reality many cities are run by supercomputers termed the central operating system (ctOS), managing everything from traffic lights to phones to the electricity grid, as well as containing huge stores of information on the city’s inhabitants. If you can tap into a city’s ctOS you can gain information on anyone and control pretty much any electronic system you can see.

That concept seems to be the game’s premise, as you take up the role of a talented hacker named Aiden Pearce. The demo from E3 showed him jamming phones as a distraction, eavesdropping on calls and taking control of a set of traffic lights to cause a collision. He also had instant information on anyone he encountered, displayed as an augmented reality style overlay. The possibilities this level of control and information presents are far too numerous to imagine and could be really intriguing to watch at play in a large, dynamic world.

It’s not all hacking though, as the trailer showed that Pearce is more than capable in combat as well. Towards the end of the gameplay demo he gets into a gun battle, showing his skills with a weapon as well as some parkour like moves. When the combat gets going it looks like a well-rounded cover-based third-person shooter, although I imagine that for many this will just be a side element of the game. The possibilities that ctOS opens up are the real point of the game, and I hope that Ubisoft keep this as the game’s focus.

Given that Ubisoft Montreal are the lead developers on the project it shouldn’t be all the surprising that the game seems to have a similar look and feel to the Assassin’s Creed series in some respects. Of course Assassin’s Creed doesn’t let you hack into phones or steal a car and jump it over a bridge but some of the core systems seem to resemble each other. For example the crowd dynamics in Watch Dogs seem familiar, and there are some elements of the game’s look (particularly the augmented reality elements) that bring to mind parts of the Animus. With touches like those moving between the two IPs it makes the games pedigree clear and only ups the level of buzz surrounding the title.


While the game's combat looks strong, it's the hacking elements that really look interesting.
While the game has frequently been praised for its next-gen looks, Ubisoft have confirmed that it will release on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC, although the exact quote to Joystiq from producer Dominic Guay was that they’d be releasing Watch Dogs on “all the platforms we can.” While that pretty much guarantees a PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 release, it doesn’t rule out a next-gen release either. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has confirmed the game for a 2013 release, although without an exact date in the year it’s easy to imagine the game appearing simultaneously on both this generation of consoles and the next one.

Personally I’m not all that fussed what platform it comes out on, I just want to get my hands on. This game looks absolutely fantastic and should be one of the highlights of 2013 if it lives up to the hype that’s been built around it.

And with that we wrap up our top hundred most anticipated games. We hope you’ve enjoyed the series, and as we have in previous years we’ll be taking a look back over our picks in the summer. If you want to look back on the games that made the cut, you can see every entry over here.

Finally, have a very happy New Year.

25 Comments
  1. bmg_123
    Member
    Since: Feb 2012

    Perhaps it was just for the purposes of the E3 demo, but I thought that both the hacking and combat looked far too easy, and that perhaps this game would end up pushing you through a linear funnel, or perhaps just tell you what to do step by step, which would be very boring, of course. Hopefully though it will turn out to be good, but other game demos (Bioshock infinite for example) seem to have shown the element of choice in those games far better. Also, happy new year!

    Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 18:12.
    • colmshan1990
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      It’s going to be one of those open-world games where you have to drive across the city to get to the next map marker to continue the story- linear gaming by another name.

      That’s a problem with many open-world games in my opinion- either the game is a truly open-world, do whatever you want kind of thing which sacrifices the story quality or you can get a game with a fantastic story and tight setpieces like Uncharted 2 get criticised for being too linear. You also get the type of game like LA Noire- a very linear game put in an open world, which just meant delaying the progression into the next mission.

      The truth is, apart from a few exceptions like Red Dead Redemption and Skyrim (although we can argue that the open-world does harm the story in these too), open-world gaming is an illusion.

      We don’t gain much of anything from it being laid out like this apart from a few repetitive missions but we lose story quality and focus.

      Give me a tight linear game any day.

      Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 19:18.
  2. RudeAwakening
    Member
    Since: Jan 2011

    Hey i called Watchdogs to be no 1 back at 20-25 i think. Yay me! :P

    Really looking forward to this game it looks astounding and hopefully it will be apart of the launch line up for the PS4. Will be buying day one for certain.

    Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 18:13.
    • RudeAwakening
      Member
      Since: Jan 2011

      Oh and Happy New Year to everyone.

      Im hoping 2013 is a better year than 2012 especially Christmas. This Christmas has been horrible.

      Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 18:16.
    • cc_star
      Team TSA: Writer
      Since: Forever

      One problem with it being in the launch line-up:

      If a game sells well in current gen it will hit 4m+ sales, maybe 5m+, on the new gen if a game sells well it will hit around 1m sales. That’s an awful lot of work for little reward (as they’d see it) and the top selling game will most likely be a first party title too, maybe Uncharted/Killzone 4 further damaging sales of a big 3rd party budget title.

      I think this is the reason GTAV hasn’t been announced for next-gen, it will follow later when the install-base of the consoles make them worth it for a 3rd party to release a huge budget title for.

      Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later though

      Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 18:22.
      • Kris Lipscombe
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Mar 2009

        Think it depends how easy a port is. If they can do a good port from the PC code easily then I’d expect to see it at launch, otherwise they’ll wait and see like you said.

        Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 18:26.
  3. KeRaSh
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    Well deserved. Almost forgot about this. Happy new year!

    Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 18:14.
  4. damoxuk
    Member
    Since: May 2011

    Why? Basing it of a trailer to be no 1 is a bit crap. It may look ok but until there’s actual hand’s on having it at No 1 is why crap :)

    Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 18:18.
    • Kris Lipscombe
      Team TSA: Writer
      Since: Mar 2009

      The list is based purely on how excited we are about the game. Says a lot about how good that gameplay demo was and the concepts at play to get us this excited.

      Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 18:25.
      • damoxuk
        Member
        Since: May 2011

        Fair enough i’ll probably get it like (hopefully it’s nextgen).

        Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 23:54.
  5. colmshan1990
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    Ugh.

    This just didn’t excite me at it’s E3 reveal.

    Grand Theft Auto mixed with terribly easy hacking and graphics which looked great but weren’t exactly what many would consider next-gen, just top of the range PC (it wasn’t better than Uncharted or Beyond, off the top of my head).

    People got carried away with this game in my mind.

    I look forward to gaining more info, but it’s not even on my wishlist of games I’m interested in and will probably buy in 2013, never mind the games I will definitely buy.

    Beyond, The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider and many more all look streets better than Watch Dogs at the moment.

    Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 19:12.
    • bunimomike
      Member
      Since: Jul 2009

      Kinda the same here. It looks interesting but nothing more than that. Almost like it’s won top place on conjecture alone but there we go. Fingers crossed it’s a belter and makes us all sit up and take notice. :-)

      Comment posted on 01/01/2013 at 02:04.
    • rht992
      Member
      Since: Apr 2009

      E3 demos are always really smooth for the sake of showing off the game. It would be terrible if someone got stuck on a level during a show case… but it would be great to see someone rage quit on stage.

      Comment posted on 01/01/2013 at 02:30.
      • colmshan1990
        Member
        Since: Apr 2009

        Otherwise, we get the Book of Spells demo. :P

        Comment posted on 01/01/2013 at 03:40.
  6. wonkey-willy
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    hey i watch my dog every day and basically she is off her chuff!
    crazy Labrador witch lol retriever my ass dumb dog couldn’t find the exit from a carrier bag

    Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 19:19.
  7. wonkey-willy
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    my bad watchdog is a really bad bbc 80s programe

    Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 19:19.
    • tonycawley
      Pint! Pint!
      Since: Feb 2009

      Watchdog is still on to this day. Legendary programme. Nothing crap about it!

      Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 20:03.
      • wonkey-willy
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        tony i merely expressed my opinion lol
        didn’t say it was crap just said it was bad…
        do ya reckon anne’s patch matches her thatch…
        mmmm ginger pubes…believe me nothing wrong with rusty wire wool… i’ve had some between my teeth on more than one occasion

        Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 20:18.
      • cc_star
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Forever

        A programme based around idiots not knowing what they’re buying, before they hand their money over? Or taking queues from whatever fuss is whipped up that day by a Twitter-like hivemind.

        Does some good stuff, I suppose but it’s mostly an awkward convergence of Twitter hivemind & poorly thought through Daily Mail-isms

        Yep, literally nothing crap about it.

        Comment posted on 01/01/2013 at 13:53.
  8. wonkey-willy
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    H
    A
    P
    P
    Y

    N
    E
    W

    Y
    E
    A
    R

    Comment posted on 31/12/2012 at 19:21.
  9. Kennykazey
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    This could be really, really great, but it currently seems too early to get proper excited. Oh, and Happy new year!

    Comment posted on 01/01/2013 at 00:04.
  10. rht992
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    After Ubisofts winning run this year I’m very excited to see what they have up their sleeves. They are great at keeping secrets. Even with far cry, a game with massive publicity, they kept the co-op hidden.

    At the very least this is basically a modern assassins creed and as far as “at the very leasts” go, thats a pretty big one.

    Comment posted on 01/01/2013 at 02:28.

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