Watch Dogs 2 is an open world action-adventure video game published by Ubisoft and is the sequel to the 2014 game, Watch Dogs. Set in the fictional version of San Francisco, the game is played from a third-person perspective as players take on the role of Marcus Holloway, a newly recruited hacker working with the up and coming hacking group, Dedsec, to take down the city’s surveillance system. As stereotypical as it might be, Dedsec is made up of a group of social outcasts who take pride in their superior technical skills.
Despite being a sequel to the original Watch Dogs game, Watch Dogs 2′s narrative involves a new location and a host of new characters unrelated to the first game, as well as, taking on a more light-hearted approach compared to the serious tone of the original game. However, the core focus of the game remains largely the same, that is, the open world, hacking aspects of gameplay defined in Watch Dogs.
The first thing players will notice is the beautiful and well crafted visuals in Watch Dogs 2. Being set in the San Francisco Bay Area meant for plenty of iconic landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, which looks simply magnificent in its glory. The city itself is marvelously constructed with intricate details lining every nook and cranny, not to mention the realism the game manages to portray by filling the city with noticeably real life locations and average people going about their day.
The game consists of main story missions, which is undoubtedly the most popular part of Watch Dogs 2, as well as several side missions to choose from too, including cultivating Dedsec’s social media following to amplify the group’s popularity. Due to several gameplay options at hand, the game can see, to be a little overwhelming at times. However, this also means that gameplay consistently feels unique and new, which is perfect for someone like me, who dislikes doing the same things over and over again. For an open world game to not feel repetitive, Watch Dogs 2 has certainly done a great job.
Where Watch Dogs 2 really excels is in its open world missions, in which the game’s hacking mechanics can truly be appreciated. From environmental manipulation to remote hacking and scouting environments from a high vantage point using a drone, the mechanics in Watch Dogs 2 surpass those in its predecessor in every way. Hacking in this game is immensely cool, in my opinion, and is such a defining feature that it is incorporated into almost every aspect of the game. Almost every object with a computer chip can be hacked into using a mobile phone, including the city infrastructure.
The game can be played in a number of ways, be it guns blazing and going on an epic killing spree or taking on a more stealth approach. Despite the option, the initial part of the game encourages stealth, though upon confrontation, Marcus does possess a taser which can be used to temporarily disable enemies without killing them.
As with any game, there are some downsides and technical issues that make for a very frustrating experience. One of these is the game’s delayed load time, which, when you’re like me and die often, can really be infuriating. When it comes to the game’s AI, it can be rather annoying when random Non Player Characters (NPCs) pop up randomly and in your way, as well as their unpredictability with what they are likely to do.
Like in Watch Dogs, multiplayer is available in this game, however this isn’t an essential part of gameplay. Introducing a seamless cooperative mode, Watch Dogs 2 allows players to interact with other players, such as exploring the world and completing missions together. However, the possibility of being killed by other players through sneak attacks is high as this is a rather silly, yet fun part of the game.
I was especially surprised by how much I enjoyed Watch Dogs 2. As a nerd, who thoroughly enjoys fictional stories about cyber-security threats, hacking and all things digital, I really found myself enjoying the hacking mechanics of the game. Despite the slow load times and other small issues, Watch Dogs 2 was fun to play, especially with such stunning visuals and a storyline that was simply intriguing. While, I can’t say much for the multiplayer, the singleplayer missions were solid and the game’s characters were all likeable, funny and easy to connect with. Ubisoft did a good job with this game. Here’s hoping for more.