How Watch Dogs Smashed Through My Fragile Gaming Reality

Watch Dogs Trailer

That Elusive Ingredient

I like feeling like a fish out of water in video games. A few months ago, when reviewing Starbreeze Studio’s excellent futuristic first-person shooter Syndicate, I commented on how thoroughly I enjoyed seeing the attention to detail put into creating the world I was blasting my way through, and learning the little intricacies of its fictional corporate super-entities, revolutionaries, and the history behind all of it in the completely optional log entries. I also, however, chided the game for investing a considerable amount of time into creating an interesting world with an interesting past for the game, and then failing to make it feel alive – where were the innocent bystanders, the random pedestrians, the traces of some semblance of people living life all around me? Alas, maybe that elusive quality could not be achieved by a cold, mathematical mass of numbers and coding.

And then, at today’s E3 2012 Ubisoft conference, came Watch Dogs, and proceeded to simultaneously blow my mind and explode the fishbowl of my sphere of gaming perception. Continue reading