Watch Dogs: Eat, sleep, hack, repeat

Click click, hack, thwack.... SCREEECH! This car is whack

Business security measures using SSL

Driven to distraction

Alas, it isn't all good news, with Watch Dogs' driving experience being far from the equal of its hacking. Cars tend to handle like canal boats might on a river of ice and, though persistence will eventually hone your driving skills, more work should have been done to tighten this substantial part of the game.

Watch Dogs

Cruising: the cars handle like boats

That said, there was one idea that I did warm to that makes its presence felt when you're behind the wheel. If you manage to get out of sight of the police, it's possible to pull into an alley and kill the engine. Pearce will then hunker down in his seat to give a confused police force the slip. Small beans perhaps, but neat nevertheless.

Thankfully, the driving is just about serviceable enough to not ruin the other elements of the game. A good thing too, as the diverse options you'll unlock through Pearce's various skill trees soon produces a genuinely varied, even bespoke, experience.

Watch Dogs

Driving engines need refinement

As you might expect from a sandbox, there's an overwhelming heap of superfluous missions to attempt. These will be highlighted on your mini-map once you've hacked an area’s CtOS terminal – an event that reveals an area’s secrets, much like "synchronising" does on Assassin's Creed.

Missions fluctuate from yet more driving to bizarre nightmarish battles against drug-induced enemies. While there's further chaos to be unleashed in missions that pitch you into a walking spider-tank. Fun, if hardly the most subtle means of transport for an anonymous hacker.

Watch Dogs

Chicago: my kind of town

Multiplayer is a further variation, even it does feel somewhat tacked on. Best of the lot is Decryption mode – a variation on a theme on capture-the-flag. Here, you'll face off against a rival gang as each tries to decrypt a secured file before the other.

Interesting too is the chance to invade another player's game. When it's done right, the cat-and-mouse type tracking down of your would-be hacker can be a tense affair, though the experience depends much on the invading player. And that’s if you can get online at all, with the service patchy at best as Ubisoft irons out some gremlins.

Watch Dogs

Old tech still has its uses

The Reg Verdict

There’s no doubt that Watch Dogs offers a clever, fresh twist on the sandbox formula. While it could have been improved in certain areas – most notably in driving and its unremarkable lead – the hacking dynamic is as impressive as was first promised in a darkened room back at E3 2012.

As we gird our loins (at least that's what I do) in anticipation of another E3, it will be interesting to see if Ubisoft has a sequel up its sleeve. There's certainly plenty of untapped potential and areas that would benefit from a polish. For now though, this first foray represents a reasonable return for your outlay. ®

Score 4.0/5.0

Tested on PS4, available on PC, PS3/4, WiiU and XBox One/360, prices start at £43.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster
4 Minute Mile project hatched to speed up tired troops
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Apple's ONE LESS THING: the iPod Classic disappears
RIP 2001 – 2014. MP3 player beloved of millions. Killed by cloud
prev story


Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.