Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
I’d forgive you if you haven’t. My review of Watch underscore Dogs found plenty of reasons to criticise the game, from its action to its mission and level design and its piss poor characters. But then I kept playing it, because the multiplayer was really good.
Borrowing the idea of unknowingly invading other people’s singleplayer games from Dark Souls, Watch_Dogs had two interesting modes: one, in which you had to hack another player by remaining within a certain area for a period of time; and another, in which you had to tail a player across the world without them spotting you.
Both modes are tense and force you to consider your environment in new ways. Is this intersection the right place to initiate your hack, when you know that by doing so you’ll need to hide within that area for a few minutes while your opponent hunts for you? Or is it better to wait a few more blocks, hope the opposing player crosses a bridge and gives you two levels upon which to hide?
It’s no less tense if you’re the person being hacked, especially if you happen to try to initiate a singleplayer mission while the invasion is in progress. Do this and the game tells you that you can’t, because you’re being invaded, which turns the tables on your attacker: they don’t know that you know. The modes ride the ambiguity between a situation being hostile and not, similar to the unknown strangers you come across in DayZ.
I imagine it’s more difficult to get a game of this going today, when the community has likely dwindled, but I hope it makes a return in future Watch underscore Dogs.