Back in 2012, Ubisoft revealed the first next-gen game – Watch Dogs – and it looked like it was going to be incredible. And then they didn’t release it because it wasn’t quite ready.
Since then, it’s pretty much become the Chinese Democracy of video games, hit with delay after delay, after delay, completely missing its original release date.
But now, it’s finally here. We got the chance to play the first three hours of the game in Paris, to find out whether it’s been worth the wait.
Here’s what we learned…
01 What it lacks in an original storyline, it makes up for in groundbreaking gameplay.
You play as Aiden Pearce, a brilliant hacker and former thug, whose criminal past led to a violent family tragedy. In standard dramatic fashion, you’re now on the hunt for those who hurt your family armed with an array of hacking skills that let you pretty much control and manipulate the entire cyber world that you inhabit.
02 It’s all about the hack.
Hacking is core to the gameplay. You use your smartphone to profile people, hack security cameras, change traffic lights and even steal money from ATMs – but, like a smartphones, the battery is limited so keep an eye on it.
Ubisoft worked with real hackers to ensure that the hacks are as authentic as they can be, meaning it’s probably going to do for cyber crime what GTA did for drive-bys. Maybe it’s time for you to change your password?
03 Think Person of Interest meets The Equalizer.
Aiden has the opportunity to help those in need, even those that don’t know they need help. As you are profiling passers-by with your smartphone you are alerted to possible crimes and can decide if you want to help or not.
04 The potential to steal and smash an array of awesome vehicles makes it a serious GTA contender.
With a city the size of Chicago to roam around in, you wouldn’t want to walk everywhere. Fortunately for you there are 65 different vehicles littered around the city, including cars, motorcycles, trucks and police cars.
05 Spider Tank, Spider Tank!
If you get bored of the main story, or the side missions, you can go on a little digital trip and play some mini games including poker, gold run, and our favourite Spider Tank! That’s right, you take control of a spider tank and you have to destroy everything that moves. This could easily be a separate game release in itself.
06 You can be (un)sociable.
You can grab some of your friends and play online together, and you can even download the free Watch Dogs companion app for your tablet. This allows you to either help, or hinder, other players, depending on what kind vigilante mood you’re in that day.
07 It’s bigger than a James Cameron film.
The city of Chicago is huuuuge and there are lots and lots of people that need your help. If you decide to help everyone in need then you're looking at around 100 hours of gameplay. And if you buy the PlayStation 4 version of the game there is an exclusive extra hour of content, too. Start booking in your sick days now.
Check it out yourself…
Watch Dogs will be released on Tuesday 27 May 2014 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.
Words by: Andrew Edney. Follow him on Twitter: @Aedney