1) Flexible hacking system
2) Marcus is better than Aiden Pearce
3) Stealth gameplay feels great for an open world game
4) The Bay Area is stunning
5) Lovable cast
6) Cool missions
1) AI acts dumb sometimes
2) Vehicles are still bad to drive
3) The promised seamless multiplayer is not that seamless
While the original Watch Dogs made you cry over its dull protagonist, Watch Dogs 2 revamps into a colorful environment with a least-caring antihero– Marcus Holloway. Watch Dogs 2 is different from other open-world RPGs. It’s beautifully comprised of various hacking activities and cars to ride around (better than the previous one) and also returns with the ability to interfere in others personal matters and then have some sympathy for them or to just steal them.
Watch Dogs 2 is something like a second chance for the series. Where the first one brought moody atmosphere and a sadistic Chicago to play with but promising players an extraordinary game before launch, Watch Dogs 2 played safe. To be brief, Watch Dogs 2 has a better protagonist, better friends, and better gadgets to roam around and cause chaos around the Bay Area.
The glorious Bay Area
Unlike the above mentioned Chicago, WD2 brings players a more vibrant Bay Area with all its residence intact. Even famous tourist spots in the real Bay Area seem to be here. The Golden Gate Bridge and the Fisherman’s Wharf to name a few. To say the least, the San Francisco tourism department doesn’t need to build a virtual map for its visitors while those who live there could happily say, “Home Sweet Home”.
The story blends in greatly with this place as Silicon Valley is just a few blocks away and the game is about hacking. Even some missions require stealing data from a Google-like company. But what’s missing from reality? The Bay Area feels less populated in the game. Where in reality, people could get crushed in traffic. But it serves the overall gameplay experience well as the less population and traffic makes your driving or a police chase more comfortable.
Story & Characters
Watch Dogs 2 doesn’t really care about the story so well. Marcus is a new recruit to the DedSec hacking community and they are trying to bring down the Blume corporation who is responsible for the upgraded CtOS which allowed Aiden to crack some walls in Chicago. The DedSec community wants to stop this from happening in San Fran and therefore needs a lot more supporters.
As to say for the character, Marcus is a least-caring, always happy, ‘did anything happened?’ kind of person even after killing a dozen police officers or wrecking the whole city in chaos. He makes jokes, he does a back flip while jumping, he carries a ‘yo-yo’ type melee weapon and he even has an RC drone, but still gets into a restricted place, kill few thugs, upload a virus in a high-security apartment or even blow it down completely and carries on his normal life again. It’s nice but also makes us think over a minute, does he ever get serious or we may even shout out like, “Dude, you should be serious now”. Because it sometimes spoils the reality as Watch Dogs 2 is not completely designed as a funny game. I wouldn’t be saying this if it is the next Sunset Overdrive or Dead Rising.
Everyone Needs Friends
Marcus’ three buddies- Sitara, Josh, and Wrench make a great combination. Sitara is a professional in branding and design, Wrench is a high-tech engineer and Josh, the programmer. So what are we? Marcus is the one who executes all the plans, which involves getting into a corporate facility unnoticed or straight away on their faces, discovering their secrets and escaping from there.
Watch Dogs 2 has some great missions. Each time we enter a mission, excitement arises. It even includes breaking into Ubisoft’s HQ at San Fran and also getting known about their secret Assassin’s Creed project and rescuing Tom Cruise-like actor from a cult. There are also some side missions which you can partake or why not be a Uber driver for a day? Yes, actually you can be a taxi driver, the system is named as Driver San Francisco (another Ubisoft open world game based in San Francisco).
Marcus carries the same tools as Aiden Pearce but the difference here is that Marcus has multiple options on each hackable item. For example, you can unlock a door or lock it so that no one enters or exits through it. At least more than one options are available for each item. As for his weaponry- SMGs, shot guns, stun guns are 3D printed by DedSec. Don’t worry, these work as normal weapons and as DedSec’s follower’s increase, more weapons will get unlocked. Marcus’ drone is another salient feature. It allows us to scan the enemy territory without getting noticed and also to hack items which are not in Marcus’ reach.
The same old system of lifting a crane, controlling the traffic and CCTV cameras marks a return too. But a noticeable and highly useful addition is the new distraction system which you can use against your enemies. Making an unknown phone call or a civil fight among themselves are all welcoming. The AI is dumb at certain circumstances but usually, they are quite intelligent, like when swarming around you if your cover is blown.
Each mission offers multiple ways for completing it. You can either go straight through the door killing anyone you encounter or go completely stealth. The latter is the most fun way of completing any mission. But too bad there is no option for hiding bodies which might make our ghostly trail disappear in a second. Also do notice that there is no extra points for completing a mission in stealth. Even if you become a ghost or turn everyone into a ghost, the game doesn’t care. It just want you to complete the mission.
Driving was so ridiculous in the first Watch Dogs but its now better. But we can’t say the driving mechanism is great either while comparing with similar games such as Grand theft Auto V, which provides one of the best driving experience. Motorcycles feel great to drive around than other vehicles, of which most cars are too slow for a chase. Gladly, car chases are less in the Bay Area but when the cops do swarm around, you need to depend on the wheels to get you out. Shooting also feels clunky, but its good in its own right. Again comparing the likes of GTA 5 and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, WD2 suffers from good shooting.
Watch Dogs 2 offer a seamless multiplayer experience where you can hack and steal another player’s data by keeping in their range without them spotting you. Or you could be the exact opposite– be the hunted. The multiplayer was so crashed during the launch that Ubisoft turned off its servers but now some part of the multiplayer has been fixed which includes co-op missions and hunting down targets for bounties. The cat-and-mouse type is the best of all which we can’t experience now. One player can hack the other one while staying in their range, and without getting found by the player getting hacked. But the difficult part is for the hunter who can’t just blend in with the crowd like in the last game as every player has a drone with them which can easily spot anyone under open sky.
Next is the Bounty Hunt mode where you can team up with the officials in stopping players who are causing great chaos among the Bay Area. But be aware that there is always room for you to get hunted.
Watch Dogs 2 offers great fun even in offline mode. Even exploring and sight-seeing the magnificent Bay Area will skip a couple of hours from your day and driving’s overall better than the first game. While Aiden was moody and had a Batman-like character, Marcus is a complete fun and energetic guy who doesn’t get serious even at required times. Going all stealth feels great and if any need for a gun arises, Marcus can handle it quite well. The multiplayer mode, when it works well, is one of the best.
Even if Watch Dogs 2 is not a recommended pick, it will give you a new way to experience the series and for the new players- a decent treat.