Ubisoft announced the return of online hacking and a new PvP mode, Bounty Hunter at Gamescom 2016 for their upcoming open world action-adventure third-person shooter, Watch Dogs 2.
“Bounty Hunter is a PvP mode that lets you hunt down your fellow hackers when they attract too much police attention, and whether you’re a hunter or the target, it’s a frantic experience.”
Ubisoft’s Mikel Reparaz goes in detail about the Pvp mode: “The object of a Bounty Hunter, as a hunter, is to take down the target by any means available. If you’re the target, meanwhile, your chief goal is to survive long enough to break your pursuers’ line of sight and escape.
Doing so gains you new followers – who in turn are your key to progressing through Watch Dogs 2, powering your hacking abilities, and unlocking new missions – as well as a multiplayer score, and you can rack up bigger rewards by taking down your hunters.
If you’re feeling up to the challenge, you can even dig in and eliminate wave after wave of rival players for an increasingly better payoff, but be aware that dead hunters will just be replaced by new players, and escape is the only way to get the biggest rewards.
Bounties can be triggered two different ways: First, causing a high level of chaos can cause the resulting police chase to spill into other players’ games , giving them the opportunity to join in and help the cops chase you down.
Alternately, you can start the hunt manually (using the Contacts app in protagonist Marcus Holloway’s phone) by hacking your own wanted status, which lets other players join the hunt. (You can also turn multiplayer off entirely or shut off the modes you’re not interested in playing , so being hunted is only a threat if you want it to be.)
So what’s it like to be hunted? Our first experience with Bounty Hunter began on a quiet skyway at San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center, where we partnered up with another player for co-op and then triggered the hunt manually.
While entirely optional, having a co-op buddy along designates them as your defender, and tasks them with keeping any pursuers off your back. This also limits your hunters to two (whatever their roles, up to four players can participate in a Bounty at once), and gives you a considerable edge.
You’ll need it, too, because while the police are persistent and deadly, other players are a different kind of threat entirely. Not only are they smarter and tougher than computer-controlled characters, they can hack everything in the world just like you can, meaning you’ll need to be wary of exploding scenery and deliberate traffic pile-ups.
More than once, we lost control of our vehicle, and the telltale icon floating above it let us know it was because another hunter was hacking our ride to slow us down or swerve us into a wall.
There’s no immediate counter to these moves apart from speed, gunfire, and hacking them back, although the latter two can be tricky to pull off if you’re driving. Having a partner who can ride shotgun and worry about that stuff while you slam on the gas (or who can smash unsuspecting hunters off the road in a support car) makes a huge difference.
Also, while escape is your ultimate goal, you don’t need to make a run for it right away. As we mentioned above, you can dig in and take down waves of hunters, so we dashed for a nearby parking garage and laid down a perimeter of defenses.
Our main resource here was Marcus’ stash of grenade-like iEDs, which can be tossed out and then hacked to give them a proximity trigger, creating a dome-shaped tripwire that instantly cut down anyone who crossed it. Our battle to defend the garage racked up big score bonuses, and the growing pile of wrecked cars at the entrance eventually slowed our pursuers to the point that we could make a getaway out the other side.”
The Hacking Invasion mode introduced in Watch Dogs is returning but with some tweaks, “Hack and data download now begin at the same time (where in the original there was a delay between them). Also, the addition of drones makes camping in a hiding spot – particularly one high up off street level – a potentially disastrous idea if you’re the hacker, as the target can use Marcus’ flying drone to find and drop taser bombs on you.”
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