As (one of few) fans of the original Watch Dogs game, I was a little hesitant to start the second game in this uncelebrated franchise. Despite all the changes that were promised; I still found it difficult to believe that this could be the Assassins Creed 2 of the Watch Dogs franchise.
Well… It is certainly 100% more fun than the original. With Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft even went as far as updating the Ubisoft open world formula.
They were definitely not lying about the complete shift in story type for Watch Dogs 2, instead of the incredibly plain (and fucking depressing as hell) Aidan Pearce, you are controlling Marcus: a hacker that goes by the name “Retro”. The opening level of Watch Dogs 2 has you breaking into a high security tech company in order to erase your criminal record to gain access to the hacker group “DedSec”. So far, DedSec are the only ties that this game has to the original, which is a good thing considering Ubisoft need to distance themselves Watch Dogs 1 as much as possible. (Besides that one *spoiler* mission involving the saving of Aidan Pierce)
As far as an overarching story is concerned, all I know so far is that I am tasked with taking down the giant tech company known as the “Blume Company” who, to me, seems like a hybrid version of Google & Skynet. Whilst this story was nothing to write home about, I found a hell of a lot of fun in the little side missions, one example of this was tracking down a CEO and CFO of an insurance company (they may be a bank, I wasn’t sure on the details) who were tracking all the purchases that someone would make in order to increase the insurance policies. Upon chasing these guys down and hacking their phones; I found one of them was a member of Ashley Madis… Some random dating site, so I proceeded to change the details so that his wife would receive a notification every time he had a hookup from this site.
Whilst none of this gives you an idea of what might have happened after your intervention, I still found myself having tons of fun with these side missions and even some of the story missions. This is exactly what the original was sorely lacking; fun.
Now, this bit of the review was incredibly difficult to write. Whilst you certainly can run in everywhere all guns blazing, you will only experience a small fraction of what the game has to offer. With this in mind, I strongly urge that you find other methods of playing Watch Dogs 2.
I feel that the intended way to play Watch Dogs 2 is what you only use a gun when you really REALLY have too and then only use your stun gun. 90% of the time you can use your range of drones and hacking abilities to hack your way through the mission. One bit that really stands out is that I had a hell of a lot of joy finding the money bags in the restricted areas without even having to set foot in this area.
With this suggestion in place, the melee combat feels a lot more fluid with the use of Marcus YOYO(?) being used to swing around and take down enemies. It is also far easier to take down enemies around you when trying to stealth an area. This is a very welcomed change to the Watch Dogs formula as the original often felt a little unfair when trying to stealth in.
The hacking is a damn sight better than the original Watch Dogs game as well, whilst nothing really FEELS all that better, I feel the general overtone of the game helps to rationalise it in your mind when blowing up holes in the ground or causing random cars to veer of the road in front of gangs and police.
Appearance, Setting & Music
As many of us will remember, the Chicago setting of Watch Dogs 1 was really boring and instantly stale with the standard “Go to this tower and do this to unlock this” formula of many Ubisoft titles. Watch Dogs 2 however, throws all of this out the window. Gone are the Ubisoft Towers and locked areas of maps and side quests, in order to force you to explore San Francisco Ubisoft have deployed the “ScoutX App” which encourages you to take selfies in front of the games monuments and random NPC’S. This is a nice little touch which I spent more than a good few hours on because I wanted to actually explore San Francisco, which is full of life unlike the Chicago setting before it.
The soundtrack is amazing, no matter whether I was driving in the city or walking around with my earphones in (seriously, why aren’t other free roaming games giving characters earphones?) I was delighted with an incredibly wide soundtrack range featuring classics like “Don’t Sweat The Technique” by Eric B and Rakim, right up to “Soup Is Good Food” by Dead Kennedys, this soundtrack purely had something for everyone. An eclectic music taste such as mine was very satisfied by the Watch Dogs 2 OST.
The multiplayer was only rolled out yesterday evening so I haven’t had all that much time with it yet, but all I will say is that it is certainly seamless. One moment I was driving around the city and the next I was being hacked by a random person online. I did like this; though it got quickly annoying when I was trying to move to the next story mission.
EDIT: I have now had a lot more time with the Multiplayer of Watch Dogs 2 and to me, this is really hit and miss in that it was really good fun when I was invading another persons world and taking their stuff and taking them down on the way to a mission – but this was the most frustrating thing I have ever played which incidentally took a lot of the fun out of invading people myself.
The coop missions are pretty fun but unfortunately, most of the people I ended up matchmaking with were not team-players and we ended running solo and someone would always cock it all up. With this in mind, I ended up tackling most of the coop missions on my own and after a couple goes was able to push through and get them done.
I was quite disappointed by the multiplayer aspect of this when I went back to it but ultimately this is not why I played Watch Dogs 2/
Whilst I have not ventured into the multiplayer very much mode as of yet (That section of the review will be coming soon!) I have found a lot to love in Watch Dogs 2. It is not a perfect game by any means but it is an incredibly fun experience with lovable characters and side stories which I highly recommend picking up.
Based on the single player alone, I give this an 8.5/10 just due to the shits’n’giggles I had whilst playing it.
Like the original, but way better. Hacking is fun. The Assassins Creed 2 of the Assassins Creed Franchise.