A bigger more hackable world
Watch Dogs 2 is Ubisoft Montreal’s latest entry in the open-world action-adventure series Watch Dogs. In this thrilling story, you’ll step into the shoes of a new protagonist, Marcus Holloway, and explore a vast San Francisco Bay area as a member of the hacking group DedSec. Hack your world in new and exciting ways, including using flying and wheeled drones to hack remotely, or hack into a nearby parked car and cause some mischief.
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Action-adventure, third-person shooter
Modes: (single-player, multiplayer)
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A new protagonist
Following the events of the original game in Chicago, San Francisco is the next city to install the ctOS, which connects everyone with everything. Marcus Holloway, a hacker from Oakland, California, is punished for a crime he did not commit by San Francisco’s newly installed ctOS 2.0. After realizing the system underhandedly brings harm to innocent citizens, he joins a team of young hackers knows as DedSec.
As much as I adored Aiden Pearce from the first Watch Dogs, Marcus Holloway, instantly struck a chord with me. It’s easy to see that Ubisoft Montreal set out to make Marcus a more relatable character that Aiden was. His personality is very likeable; he is tech-savvy and represents the internet culture, while on the other hand he has a rebellious feeling to him. His charisma, charm, and the way he carries himself gives him depth that Aiden Pearce lacked.
Set out to expose corrupt organizations and right the social wrongs of the world, Marcus works DedSec to take down San Francisco’s ctOS 2.0, and Blume, the company behind it.
Much like Watch Dogs, Watch Dogs 2’s gameplay is centred around the ability to hack into various electronic devices connected to the ctOS system by using Marcus’s in-game smartphone. We are notified of the upcoming missions and their location, the latest uploaded music and points of interest nearby. The world in which Watch Dogs 2 takes place is more than twice as large as its predecessor. The Bay Area consists of four different areas: San Francisco, Oakland, Marin, and Silicon Valley, all of which have different characteristics and aesthetics.
You make your way around the city on foot or by any of the number of vehicles that you can drive. The driving mechanic has been overhauled and has been designed to be more accessible. Each vehicle has its own unique feel, which makes it easier to find the right ones for certain missions. Strangely enough, I found myself wanting to try every car, truck, bus, motorbike, quad bike and boat that I could get my hands on. Driving down San Francisco’s iconic hills at a hundred miles an hour has never been so much fun! Oh, did I mention that you can now shoot your weapons while driving?!
Unlike Watch Dogs, Watch Dogs 2 doesn’t have any towers in the game, thus giving you full access to the streets of San Francisco from the get go. Missions involve several stages ranging from infiltration, stealing confidential data, searching for information by people who will be questioned, and high action car chases. By using the quadcopter drone you can locate the position of key personnel before taking them out—allowing Marcus to stay away from potential danger.
Simply gorgeous visuals
The attention to detail in Watch Dogs 2 is amazing! San Francisco is full of rolling hills with vibrant colours, and full of life. From the Golden Gate Bridge to the San Francisco Bay to the hustle and bustle of downtown San Francisco, it is clear that San Francisco is bigger, better, and has a level of detail that is unmatched in the previous game. Character’s faces look more realistic and the cities population is more varied.
On the PlayStation 4, Watch Dogs 2 runs at 1080p resolution and targets 30 frames-per-second. While on the Xbox One, Watch Dogs 2 runs at 900p and targets 30 frames-per-second. For the most part both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One maintain a constant frame rate. On the PlayStation 4 Pro, Watch Dogs 2 features a superior image quality over both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with 1800p checkerboard rendering and a smoother frame rate.
Integrated online multiplayer
Much like Watch Dogs, Watch Dogs 2’s multiplayer mode is seamlessly integrated into the game. You can meet and interact with other random players, and complete missions together. Watch Dogs 2 has an emote system, which allows your character to communicate with others via basic gestures.
There are several different competitive multiplayer modes in Watch Dogs 2. One of my favourite competitive multiplayer modes makes its return, online invasion—a player versus player competitive multiplayer mode. In this mode you covertly join another player’s single-player game and steal data from them. As the invading player you must stay hidden while stealing the data, and escape once successful, while the defending player must identify and kill the invading player.
My favourite competitive multiplayer mode by far is Bounty Hunter. In this brand new mode, if you cause too much chaos in the world, then Bounty Hunter mode is activated. Police, alongside one to three other players, join your game and must kill the hunted and claim the bounty. As the hunted you can either attack the hunters and take them down, which produces greater rewards, or escape from the hunters until the bounty expires. Of course, you always have the option of turning the online multiplayer mode on or off.
Watch Dogs 2 is bigger and better than its predecessor in virtually every way. It takes what was so much fun from the first game, expands it and cuts away what gamers didn’t enjoy. The new protagonist, Marcus Holloway, gives the game life and character. If you enjoyed Watch Dogs, then you will love Watch Dogs 2. Those new to the series can jump right in and enjoy the best game in the series.
+ The missions are varied and offer a good challenge
+ The city is beautiful and lively
+ Solid gameplay
+ Relatable main character
– Inconsistant frame rate
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4.25/5 (85%)
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I remember when the first game came out. There was a lot of excitement about what it could be. I never had a chance to pick it up. From all appearances, this game seems to have gotten a lot of things right that the first game didn’t. I might have to try and pick this one up.
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