One of Ubisoft’s big fall titles is Watch Dogs 2 and its lands tomorrow. But we have our full review for you now, and I can confidently say that it is better than the original. Watch Dogs 2 comes almost two years after the first, which was delayed for quite some time. There was a lot of hype for the title, and it didn’t necessarily live up to it. The game had many bugs and driving was not a high point, but it was a unique game.
Watch Dogs 2 changes up the city from Chicago to San Fransisco and continues where Aidan Pearce left out. This time you get a whole new story line and a new protagonist, Marcus Hollaway, who is an intelligent young hacker. San Fransisco has more to it, and it looks better than the way Chicago was envisioned in the original game.
Campaigns and Missions
The original WatchDogs was a dark and dreary one– while it was alright, it was nothing to rave about. Ubisoft did a complete 180 with Watch Dogs 2. You are presented with a happier and full of life story, which allows for social interactions between characters and moments that will put a smile on your face.
Marcus Hollaway doesn’t have a dark past, but you see him as setting his record straight in the beginning. The first mission introduces you to San Fransisco and shows of ctOS 2.0, which is the new internet system that is all around you. The idea is not that far-fetched, as connected cities are beginning to form. Marcus is sneaking into the ctOS headquarters in an attempt to wipe his profile.
This first mission or rather introduction will remind you of the controls and will soon have you realizing you can go about completing objectives in lethal or non-lethals routes. But the game will try to mold you into use hacks and technological ways of completing a task. For instance, you hack a smartphone to have it explode, like a Galaxy Note 7, or have it release a stun to knock someone out. You can even hack into a camera then connect to a computer to upload a backdoor or to get a key.
These tools outlined in the first mission will help you very much in later missions. There are 15 missions to the main story line and several other side missions. The main story line will take you throughout all six parts of San Fransisco, in fact, the first one after the introduction has you exploring the city for a clothing store. This will let you find your bearings with a new city that resembles the real one it is modeled after quite a bit.
Marcus joins the DeadSec crew in San Fransisco, and the primary goal is to shut down ctOS 2.0 and Blume, the company behind it, for several reasons. Privacy is a big one of them, and Ubisoft does a great job of showing this. Like the idea of a smart city is a cool one and they highlight some real life concerns. It also doesn’t make the idea to far fetched and is very easy for the player to connect with.
Most missions fit in with the goal; you will be breaking into smart homes, learning about the latest technology, and even hacking into Noodle which is Watch Dogs 2 variant of Google. There are only a few missions that don’t directly fit in with the story line or at least have parts of the end objective that don’t necessarily fit. But for the most Ubisoft has done a solid job of creating a storyline, that has sides missions that add to it. But the primary campaign can certainly stand on it’s on and is leagues better than the Watch Dogs campaign.
You get a 3D Printer
Traditionally you may go to a store to get weapons and gadgets. But the Hacker Space, which is a main point of the game, has a 3D printer. And hear you can make guns and upgrade previously bought ones, as well as get some gadgets.
For starters, you can get an RC car which comes in handy for missions, as it allows you to be more hidden. Plus if the RC Car gets noticed, it doesn’t compromise Marcus. But the cooler gadget you can make it a Drone. Yes, you can 3D print a Drone, and it is very cool as it helps with missions quite a bit and lets you take some cool selfies.
Mechanics, Graphics, and Driving
I’ve been reviewing and testing Watch Dogs 2 on a PS4, and it has been performing well. The mechanics and controls of the game do take some time to get used too. For instance, R2 is how you climb, or vault and you holster a weapon by pushing the up directional arrow. There are little quirks like these that will take some time to get used too. But after a few minutes of gameplay, it does become more natural. You will also want to learn L1 and become natural with it, as it’s your primary tool for hacking.
The graphics are more realistic and are happier looking too. Ubisoft’s vision of Chicago was a dark one, and San Fransisco is represented happier. And the detail is pretty remarkable– For instance Alcatraz looks like the real thing, as does the Golden Gate Bridge. Heck, even the Noodlers on the Noodle Campus have buses to drive them to and from, plus you can find the Noodle Car. There is a lot of detail, and it increases the enjoyment of the game a lot.
Driving was not a strong suit of the original Watch Dogs, in fact, you could call it one of it’s biggest faults. Ubisoft has fixed this in Watch Dogs 2, and the result is an excellent driving experience. Awkward camera angles are gone and the camera now correctly follows the car, and you can quickly flip to see what is behind you. Speed is more realistic, as is handling and braking.
During my review period, the seamless world experience was not always 100% fully working. So I will be updating this section in the coming days, as it will operational once the game launches on the 15th.
My brief time with the seamless online experience working was good. Although when you do meet another player, which is cool, it did slow the experience down a bit. It is kind of like the promise of No Man’s Sky provided. You will find other players, as they have their name floating above them. You can team up with them for missions or complete a common goal. These tasks occurring when players are seamlessly merged into one session are Dead Sec missions. They fit with a common storyline but are not part of the primary campaign.
Hacking Invasion mode is when you try to hack another player without noticing, this is most similar to the online features of the original title. The another online option is Bounty Hunters, in which you hunt down other players who have a wanted level. For instance, if you consistently are hurting civilians or causing accidents, you are more likely to have a bounty put out for you.
I will have more to say on the online experience of Watch Dogs 2 in the coming days, but I am quite impressed with my initial experience.
I like Watch Dogs 2, and it is much better than the original. Ubisoft has come a long way with the series since it’s the first adoption and I have high hopes for it in the future. The story idea of a future smart city is a cool one, and it builds off the adventure, action, and mystery style of games. It merges all of these together and through in some puzzle like features.
If you had a not so good experience since with the original title, I think Watch Dogs 2 will leave you refreshed and wanting for more. And this is true even if you liked the original, the game is quite fun and will keep you wanting to play it. San Fransisco is a fun city to explore, and it looks and feels like the place in real life. The campaign is a good one, and Marcus is a solid protagonist.
I think Watch Dogs 2 is going to be a very popular title and I highly suggest you check it out. While I only had a brief time with the online portion, it is promising, much more so than it was in the original title. Stay tuned for an update review and review score after I have more time to check out the online experience. However, I don’t see it changing my score or thoughts on the title too much.