When I found out that Ubisoft were bringing out another Watch_Dogs I just had to grab it before anyone else did. I have played the first one and completed it about five times, now. I am a big fan of Ubisoft mainly because of the Assassin’s Creed games but I was really excited to be reviewing Watch_Dogs 2, especially because there is no new Assassin’s Creed this year.
When the trailer for Watch_Dogs 2 was released I kept myself from taking a look at it because I felt it would spoil the game for me. I like to go into a game blind not knowing anything about the storyline or characters. Starting the game, you meet Marcus who works for the hacking group DedSec along with his fellow friends, but one character instantly stood out - Josh who is a shy and quiet autistic. I was very surprised that they put a character that's autistic in the game which I thought was a nice thing to do. Autistic people are clever and what’s the best way to show they’re clever? By making them a hacker.
The story follows DedSec’s plans to overthrow the CTOS 2.0 system, which controls all electronic equipment in San Francisco. They fear it’s being too nosey, and want to warn the people. This results in you getting Followers, which DedSec need to process the information they hack from CTOS - more missions completed, more followers.
The map is made up of four areas. San Francisco is the biggest part with many missions here but that's not stopping us from taking a trip to one of the other parts of the map. Marin is the smallest town to venture around, it's easy to get in and out and is a quiet little area. Silicon Valley is at the bottom of the map where you can find Nudle (which is basically Google), and finally Oakland is the next size up to the right of the map where it has green grass and a lovely spot to race your boat or quadcopter.
I do like that they have improved the driving since Watch_Dogs with the cars much easier to handle. For instance, I’ve not flipped my car once, and I did try this multiple times. Braking slows you down quicker, too, for people who drive fast and forget how to stop.
The RC car and Quadcopter you can get from a 3D printer in your HQ along with a few weapons (you can also pick these up from enemies) and you can customise the paint work. They are also ideal for reaching tight spots or flying high to see your surroundings. With the RC car you can get to places Marcus can’t to hack doors or pick up moneybags and paint jobs. The Quadcopter is perfect for detecting enemies up high or for dropping bombs on them (once you upgrade it).
Where Watch_Dogs had experience points, in Watch_Dogs 2 followers are given after completing main missions, side missions or when taking photos of landmarks. After getting certain amounts of followers, you get what are called research points to level up different things like hacking forklifts to help you reach higher spots.
I have been playing the game now for four days (over 50 hours) and have fully completed it which means there are a lot of things to do in the game alongside the main missions, side missions and finding hidden collectables like money and paint jobs. You can also do missions from the Driver SF app on your phone, which basically makes you become an Uber driver doing things from being a taxi to racing smart cars.
With Ubisoft owning Assassin’s Creed games what better way than to put a poster of an Assassin’s Creed in the game itself. The game is similar in a few ways, such as using your Nethack ability, which is an invaluable tool that allows Marcus to see all of the hacking opportunities the environments have to offer. It also lets you see enemies through walls just like Eagle Vision in the Assassin’s Creed games.
There are a couple of always-on multiplayer mode (unless you deactivate it in settings). When I was on my way to one of the main missions, it came up telling me to be a bounty hunter. When the player commits crimes, the police will respond and pursue the player until they can escape - but there’s a chance that a police chase can turn into a player-versus-player (PVP) event called Bounty Hunter. When this occurs, up to three other online players (Hunters) join the pursuit and try to kill the player (Target) for as long as the chase lasts. However, you can be the target and your goal is to escape the police and enemy. I noticed a green arrow on my minimap, which started to follow me on the way to the bounty. I then saw another - both were online players and together we tracked down the enemy hacker who was being chased by the cops. In the end I got out of my car and beat him with my melee weapon, winning the event.
Another online event that you can do is Hacking Invasion where the player’s goal is to hack into another player’s game while remaining undetected. This is a returning activity, since it was first introduced in the original Watch_Dogs. The hacker’s goal is to complete a download while remaining undetected, which can be hard to do seeing as other players also have drones that can detect you. If you are detected, you need to escape. On the other hand, as the target you must locate and eliminate your enemy hacker, who is hiding in the purple download zone. Nethack can reveal the hacker’s identity, and once located you have to kill them before they escape.
The graphics are very smooth and a lot better than Watch_Dogs. The water is clear, the world is bright and colourful and even the faces look more realistic. There is plenty of music to enjoy, and the voice acting fits everyone perfectly.
The only downsides I have are that you can’t really pause the game unless the online options are turned off, and there are a few bugs that stood out. For instance, I keep having a waypoint show up at random times in one specific place on the map, even when I place a waypoint somewhere else. Also, when going around Nudle on a mission the frame rate was really erratic, and it happened across the map on a separate occasion.
I enjoyed this because it’s much better than the first in lots of ways. I like that you can use scissor lifts and cranes to get you up high on to the top buildings, where in the first game they were pretty much stationary. The little RC car is funny when you're driving it around and you can taunt any enemy or citizen and see them get angry at it - then they either throw things at it or kick it. The Quadcopter is also pretty good, as it lets you do things such as races, drop bombs or even use it as a distraction.
Watch_Dogs® 2 (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
While I was reviewing this, Ubisoft had to take the multiplayer servers offline saying that it was causing problems. It might have been the reason for the bad frame rate at times, because it seemed to be better when it was turned off. Hopefully they get it sorted, because it’s going to be tight. But despite this, I can only recommend Watch_Dogs 2.