The Watch Dogs Experience in Real Life
Author: Jayson Goetz | Posted: 2 November 2017, 08:14
 
 

For those who don’t know, Watch Dogs is a thrill-seeking action-adventure game developed by Ubisoft. Players engage with main protagonist Aiden Pierce, a vigilante who is gifted with some serious hacking skills. As Aiden, players will be tasked with many missions that involve hacking into the city’s central operating system via smartphone. It is through Aiden’s smartphone that players can perform other tasks such as hacking into another person’s phone to steal banking information, unlock cars, and even hacking into traffic signals to cause traffic pileups.

In this game, almost anything can be hacked and can be used to provide cover, to offer a distraction, or even serve as a weapon. Additionally, because game developers recognized the importance of acknowledging different player styles, there isn’t one right way to complete a mission. This gives a player a lot of flexibility with the protagonist.

After a failed hacking mission, a bounty is placed on Aiden’s head and, as a result, his niece, Lena, was accidentally murdered by hitmen who originally targeted Aiden. This jumpstarts the main plot of the game, where Aiden is actively searching for the men responsible for his young niece’s untimely death. During his journey to avenge Lena’s murder, Aiden must also protect his surviving family members: his younger sister, Nicole, and his nephew, Jackson. Aiden teams up with a colorful cast of characters who assist him in infiltrating the city’s gangster-operated underworld.

Placed in the heart of Chicago, Watch Dogs allows players an intimate look at the city. Unlike other games, this one allows you to explore Chicago’s different neighborhoods and experience each sector’s original flavor. Those familiar with the streets of Chicago can probably even recognize which real-life neighborhood inspired certain areas in the in-game Chicago. However, if you aren’t from Chi-town and you’ve never seen the Windy City, there’s no need to worry. Luckily for you, because Watch Dogs’ interpretation of Chicago is spot-on, we’ll be able to take you around town in this article to see how some of Chicago’s most iconic sites compare to the game.

In Chicago, there’s always something to do and always something to see. That’s what makes Watch Dogs such an exciting game to play. One of the coolest features in Watch Dogs is the ability to freely explore the city. In this game, it feels as if you’re given a virtual tour of Chicago as the game’s developers were able to perfectly capture the city’s architecture and layout.

Though the Chicago in the Watch Dogs is significantly smaller than the real thing, the developers have managed to give each area a flavor of its own, mirroring its real-life inspiration. For example, in the game, the Wards is a neighborhood that very obviously takes after Chicago’s South and West Side streets. These impoverished and blighted communities were recreated in the game with an accuracy that was almost alarming. In the Wards and much like its real-life counterparts, Aiden will encounter blue-collar workers, gang members, condemned houses, dilapidated vehicles, and pawn shops. The Wards even features old, run down corner stores.

Another familiar location featured in the game is Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which is referred to as Bram Steffon Pavilion in the game. This choral shell in Millennial Park can be spotted to the east of Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard. Standing as the centerpiece of Millennial Park, the pavilion proudly houses the Grant Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in addition to the Grant Park Festival, which is America’s only free outdoor classical musical festival. In the game, the Bram Steffon Pavilion serves as a City Hotspot, which is where you (as Aiden) can hack data by infiltrating a city router. Similarly to its real-life counterpart, the Bram Steffon Pavilion is well-known for its classical music festivals and is a landmark within the city.

35 East Wacker Drive, also known as the Jewelers’ Building

35 East Wacker Drive, also known as the Jewelers’ Building, is featured both in the game and in Chicago. Once considered the tallest building in the world outside of New York City, 35 East Wacker Drive was established as a national landmark in February 1994. In the game, the building, also a landmark, serves as another City Hotspot where Aiden can stop to access information by hacking.

Willis Tower, sometimes called the Sears Tower, was regarded as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere up until 2014 when One World Trade Center in Manhattan was completed. If you gain access to this tower in the game, you will be awarded an Architectural Marvel badge, which is also available at other buildings such as the Vault Tower, John Hancock Tower, and the Triomphe Tower.

The Chicago Theatre is a swanky landmark located on North State Street in the Loop area of Chicago. Its in-game replica, the Ambrose Theatre, is a popular venue in the city, which hosts a plethora of different social events. Ambrose Theatre exists in the game as a City Hotspot, and also holds the Theater Buff badge.

Soldier Field is a baseball stadium that was recreated in the game as May Stadium. In the game, May Stadium stands as a City Hotspot, as well as the place where a major plot point occurs during one of Aiden’s missions.

While Watch Dogs offers players a smaller view of the Windy City, it is so detailed that it will make you want to visit the city yourself.


Jayson is a recent graduate from Arizona State University who lives in Phoenix. Being a lover of video games and travel, he’s always ready to bust out a PS Vita and visit new places. He started writing in hope of sharing his experiences with fellow gamers and travel bugs.

 

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