There’s a whole city to play with in Ubisoft Montreal’s Watch Dogs – a massive urban sprawl that chock full of humans to hack and privacy to invade.
There are also hours of side missions – from investigations to tackling local crime and rooting out gangland bosses as well as numerous minigames to enjoy, including poker and a QTE-based drinking game. And that’s in addition to the 20 or more hours of story in the single player game and the infinite activities of multiplayer.
There’s a lot of Watch Dogs to go around and the combination of pleasing hacking mechanics and a gentle level of difficulty make it an agreeable place to spend your time. But when I tasked myself with deciding what the most enjoyable aspect of this large, open world cyber-thriller was the answer was very simple. Spider Tank!
There are a number of ways to distract yourself from the main campaign in Watch Dogs and one of them is to take a Digital Trip. Street vendors will offer their wares on dodgy street corners and invite you travel away from the central game on a flight of fancy. You can drive the streets like a maniac, hide from terrifying robot killers or bounce around in a psychedelic wonderland.
These moments provide a great break from the dark and serious nature of the rest of the game – and they also allow you to bask in carnage without effecting your reputation meter. And the best example has to be the Spider Tank game.
In it, you’ll be transported into the cockpit of a building sized arachnoid, languishing in metallic splendour atop a skyscraper. Your mission consists of causing as much havoc as possible in pursuit of a point score while also satisfying certain criteria – like destroying a dozen cop cars at a time.
You’ll never experience this level of violence in the main game and it’s presented beautifully. The tank sports chain guns and an enthusiastically splashy cannon which rains fiery death on all and sundry. You can also jump incredible distances with legs spread waiting for its next prey and basically wreck the gaff for your own amusement.
It’s such a breath of fresh air after hours of listening to Aiden Pearce being all dour and endless somewhat turgid car and foot chases. Spidey’s animation is superb, with real weight to the character’s every movement. And Ubisoft has put still more effort in by adding a progression tree, giving you the chance to upgrade your attacks and specifications for more mass slaughter.
A stiff difficulty level and bruising time limits add replay value and you can access the game at any time from your phone screen. Honestly, if Spider Tank was a real game, I would buy it. And it’s just one tiny element of the extraordinary open world that Ubisoft has created in Watch Dogs.
Watch Dogs is available now – read our full review here.