"We are the modern magicians," one hacker quips during the opening sequence of Watch Dogs. But there’s little magic here.

Set in a fictional version of modern-day Chicago, one overrun by technology and crime, the game puts you in the role of hacker and self-styled vigilante Aiden Pearce. After losing his niece early in the game — a standard and not particularly compelling action-movie setup — Pearce becomes determined to avenge her death by any means possible. This turns out to be a lot of drawn-out shooting sequences and plenty of driving away from cops. Pearce has some amazing tools at his disposal — he can hack into security systems to spy through cameras, or manipulate traffic signals to disrupt pursuers — but most of the time he’s just engaging in what feels like busywork. Watch Dogs tries to be Grand Theft Auto with hacking, but it's nowhere near as cool as that makes it sound.