Watch Dogs 2, the successor of the 2014 original game keeps the core elements of the gameplay and expands upon it making it far superior and what I wished the first Watch Dogs was like. The skill trees, mission structure and living, breathing open world environment is what makes Watch Dogs 2 the best crime open world game since Grand Theft Auto V. Despite the game being all so great with it’s gameplay and it’s beautiful San Francisco sandbox, the story is a far afterthought and is not something that will keep you enticed.
You play as a hacker named Marcus Holloway and you are a part of a hacker group named DedSec. Your main goal is to alert the people on how ctOS 2.0 is a terrible thing for the citizens of San Francisco because of how it can be used against them. The plot itself isn’t something amazing, it is rather the weakest part about the game. I found myself in some parts skipping the cutscenes because it was so boring and uninspired. The characters weren’t anything great as well, I ended up not really caring for any of them, they all seemed just so dull and uninteresting. When I played it I payed attention to the story beats and that’s about it. Watch Dogs 2’s story is not good by any means but that doesn’t detract much from the games experience.
The beautiful and truncated San Francisco is a jaw dropping experience. Personally I’ve never visited the city but this game makes me want to despite everything I’ve heard about it from the internet. The city feels like it is living and breathing. The game is populated with civilians, law enforcement, and gangs throughout the streets and it is filled with activities and locations. The only activities you can really do are racing events and these span from drone racing, eKart racing, sailboat racing, etc. I kind of wish there were a bit more to do, it would have been cool if there were arcades that you can go to play some mini games. The locations include clothing shops, restaurants, bars and some other places; so it’s pretty much your typical open world places. Also laid out across the city are research points and key data which are used to upgrade your characters hacking abilities. There is a plethora of things you can do besides the main and side missions to keep you busy for hours.
Main operations, side operations and online operations are the main missions you will be doing throughout the course of the game. Most of these missions are similar in terms of structure. You activate your mission, go to an area considered “restricted”. A restricted area is a location controlled by either law enforcement or gangs. Some areas are really open, letting you choose your strategy in completing the task you are given. Every mission is sort of like a puzzle, you need to complete one task to get to the next. Sometimes you will need to hack into a certain mainframe first then this allows you to hack into another area. These missions have thought to each one and sometimes they can ramp up in difficulty if you do not upgrade your abilities often. The stealth mechanic in this game is not it’s strong suit and is probably my least favorite part of this game in terms of mechanically. There are moments when you are spotted and even if you eliminate them before they tell their friends, you are still engaged in combat. Then after that it turns into a war zone in which everything is all out of whack and simply not fun. In some mission I had issues with checkpoints being to few and far between. I played this one mission which took me around a half hour then at the very end when I was making my escape, I accidentally fell off a crane and died. This transported me all the way back to the beginning of the mission. Even with frustrating instances such as these, the gameplay is more fun to play than not. Upgrading the skill tree makes the game exponentially easier if you choose the right abilities. You start off with the basics that you pretty much had in the original. Later on you can upgrade to trigger blackouts, mark people as wanted by the police to cause distractions, you can upgrade to have new gadgets and the list goes on. There are a ton of upgrades and it gives a nice RPG type feel in that regard.
The multiplayer has three different modes you can choose from. They are online co-op, bounty hunter and hacking invasion. How and what are these modes? I have no idea since the multiplayer is broken. Ubisoft said that “Seamless multiplayer is offline until we fix an issue that caused lag and crashes”. This in itself is unacceptable in this day and age of gaming. If multiplayer was not ready to be ready for the day of launch then they should have delayed it to a later date. The single player alone is enough to keep be occupied for a while since there is so much content there. Apparently in the multiplayer you can invade another person’s game and hack them while they try to find the source and stop it. If you don’t want people to join your game abruptly you can change it through your options. Theses modes sound promising and I am interested in to see how they pan out when Ubisoft fixes this mess.
There is something that brings great joy when you are travelling through the streets of San Francisco and are causing havoc everywhere from the ease of your own cell phone. Blowing up pipelines throughout the roads, steering vehicles off the road, and marking people on the street as traders to gangs is some of the most fun I’ve had in a game in awhile. Watch Dogs 2 story fall flat just like it’s predecessor but makes up with superb and intriguing gameplay elements. Although it is quite disappointing that multiplayer is broken at launch I am excited to see what else this game has to offer. Packed with some interesting and unique missions, it is a good game that you should play if you are a fan of crime open world games.
Our First Take on the Game:
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