A new character and a new story, that’s what Watch_Dogs 2 is all about. Set in the same world but with a separate story from the first game, in the beautiful city of San Francisco in the Bay Area is a young man named Marcus Holloway, a vigilante hacker and a member of DedSec. They are against the evildoings of the government that removes the privacy of each citizen with its statewide surveillance program CTOS. Different from the seriousness of the first game with Aiden Pierce, Watch_Dogs 2 has a story with a sense of humor. Because of its new character’s personality and the funny members of DedSec, it feels like you’re playing Saints Row The Third, and it’s an incredibly fun game.
In the cut scenes, Marcus Holloway is portrayed as a happy-go-lucky guy who breaks computer systems, helps people in need, and rants against the government’s misuse of individuals’ information. It seems like he is a passionate and good man who is true to his word. However, that still depends on how you play the game – whether you break the law, take advantage of other people or simply follow how Marcus is portrayed in the story, the decision is in your hands.
In combat and getaways, Marcus can do parkour like in Assassin’s Creed. Though not literally jumping from the edges of buildings, it makes it easy for you to jump and fall from higher buildings. Rather than a baton, Marcus uses a Paracord Thunderball as his melee weapon, which gives him a ninja style of fighting. You can also engage in combat in 3 different ways; either by Ghost, which relies on stealth and subterfuge to avoid confrontation; Trickster, where you can use a remote control device; and Aggressor, where you can use a hands-on approach to attack enemies.
In the first game DedSec were portrayed as dangerous and serious guys, but here in Watch_Dogs 2 it seems they’re not, and their story is kind of exciting and funny. The members of DedSec gang have different specialties in their fields of hacking. For example take Josh, a socially awkward guy who builds drones and helps get most of the codes for DedSec. Then there’s the funny guy Wrench, who is good at breaking things apart and is the one who manage the mobile apps of the team. Their graphic designer Sitara makes most of the posters and murals for DedSec, and Horatio is their one and only Tactical Coordinator or cat herder that makes DedSec go where it has the most impact.
Some missions in Watch_Dogs 2 are based on real-life events; for example, in the initial mission you are targeting a rapper artist named Bobo Dakes, who got a deal from a Pharmaceutical CEO Carcani Gene to purchase Bobo Dakes’ exclusive music album. This is similar to the story of Martin Shkreli minus the hacking from Marcus. Also, there’s plenty of side missions you can play in the game with different stories, and you have an option to repeat the mission anytime you like.
With a bit art style for their graphics, and an old-school UI interface that is well executed and consistent with the rest of the game, the game feels like you’re really in a hacking world. The in-game virtual phone also feels like a fully working phone, on which you can do almost everything. You can install apps, open maps for fast travel, as well as listen to music and even be an Uber driver. You can also take a selfie using the camera and see the picture in the gallery. Additionally, the mobile serves as a tool to unlock your skills and see the progress of your mission.
If you run out of guns, you can simply go back to DedSec headquarters and print more out. The new 3D printer in Watch_Dogs 2 is one of the surprising features in this game, from which you can print your drones or guns as well as add a paint job to them. However, printing is not free; you still have to pay for it, just like buying guns in the store. For getting money, there are many ways to do so. You can hack other people’s phone, take a side or main mission, or take on a bounty mission with other players. There’s also the bad way of killing cops and civilian. What’s more, you can collect all collectibles on the map in exchange for money as well.
Using drones and jumpers is one of the alternative ways to finish a mission – yes, you can complete a mission using drones. They call it Trickster, which is using robots and a Taser to go to dangerous and narrow areas to manipulate objects and other remote-controlled device. You can even use these drones as a decoy to distract guards and enter the most secured areas. You do need to be closer to the drones for it to work or else it will self-destruct, though the distance of the radio signal is just right to do the task.
There is also improved AI that acts like real humans. NPC characters in the game have different kinds of personalities that make the game feel like you’re in a virtual world; there are travelers looking at their maps, tech guys bragging about their apps, people taking selfies in the street and even beggars asking for food, as well as a bride and a groom taking their pictures in the palace and a lot more. You can also make other people fight each other with gangs or cops.
The co-op capability in Watch Dogs 2 is one thing you should try. You can invite your friends to play the dedicated co-op mission that has lots of missions to select from and fun stories to explore. Unfortunately, you cannot play the co-op game in the main mission.
Since the world of Watch Dogs is adequately controlled with the CTOS program, you can hack almost everything. If you need quick money, you just have to wire transfer the funds of other people to your bank account.
You can also intercept phone conversations and text messages from other people, send a botnet recharge to distract them, control traffic lights for your getaway, or even send criminal records to someone else.
The driving has improved a lot, especially the physics and the different selection of cars. However, it has the same problem with other open-world games – the driving mechanics of the cars move so much, it wiggles a lot when pressing left and right at a high speed on your keyboard. Although this is a common problem, it lies in the keyboard’s keys, because they have no pressure sensor to calculate the movements. Regardless, you can use a joypad instead to fix it.
Watch Dogs 2 has an excellent story to offer, and the added humor of the game makes it enjoyable. You don’t even have to do a mission in order to enjoy the game – just roaming around the great city of San Francisco or stalk other people is enough to enjoy the game; it’s like your playground. The missions could be repetitive, but because of how they differently approach each of the missions, it’s actually fun, and you can even repeat the missions a couple of times without the feeling of boredom. The only problem I encountered is Ubisoft’s P2P connection that still they haven’t changed, and other people from other countries couldn’t connect to each other because of the restricted port forwarding.