Watch Dogs 2
I really enjoyed the original Watch Dogs, so I was quite excited at the prospect of playing Watch Dogs 2, because, you know, games generally get better. Watch Dogs 2 however takes better to a whole new level. Out with the revenge motivated white boy Aiden and in with a more relaxed, fun kinda of guy, Marcus. The location has also moved to a stylized San Francisco Bay Area.
Now Marcus and his DedSec friends are immediately more likable than any character in the original. And this flows through into the gameplay. Once you get past the first mission and start the game proper, everything is available to you – map wise anyway – your skills will have to be unlocked along the way. The entire map is now your playground. From just walking around hacking everybody’s bank accounts to boosting a car and driving right around the map, what you do and how you do it is up to you from this point forward.
Pretty much your in game life is controlled via your smart phone, this is where you get your missions, upgrades and other stuff. Main mission or side mission, it’s up to you. You can ever just create havoc if that’s your thing. There are plenty of things to do around the city, from raiding gang areas to grab a bag of money, to tagging billboards, the Bay Area is just teaming with life, and is beckoning to be explored.
Gameplay flows well, you have a few new devices, such as a drone, to help you access areas the need to be hacked, and the hacking mechanics are similar to the original. The same cool puzzle solving mechanics are in place and the cover a shoot mechanics work well should you decide that stealth is for pussies.
Driving is possibly the games weakest point, though once you realize that the best way to drive a car is fast and with the hand brake, things get much easier. Though this doesn’t work the same with motorbikes. In fact, unless you have a real hankering for riding two wheels, I’d suggest you avoid bikes. They are just total shit.
The Bay Area is such a distracting place, just the sheer beauty and detail are enough to distract me, but through it’s the random encounters, such as a bounty alert, or hack target alert, or worse, an alert that indicate you’re being hacked that will really distract you. Speeding on the way to a new mission, you’ll want to veer off any time the game tells you an event is happening nearby because they are fun, and will undoubtedly win you fans.
Fans is the currency of the game, the leveling system. As part of DedSec it’s your mission to reveal the truth to the unsuspecting public, and you do this through releasing videos and stuff online. Build up enough fans and you unlock more stuff. Side missions and random encounters all add to your growing fan base.
Online co-op will get you more fans and is a blast. But as fun as it is, it’s just another enjoyable distraction as there are now co-op elements in the actual main storyline. But online is a seamless experience and takes nothing away from the main game.
All in all Watch Dogs 2 is a great leap forward for the series and whilst staying focused on the main storyline might be problematic, it’s a game that never gets old or boring.
Rating: R18 Violence, offensive language and drug use.