– Andrew Charlton
A lot of people were very excited when Watch Dogs was first revealed. A hacking sandbox playground? It sounded like something many gamers had been wanting for a very long time; it sounded like the perfect culmination of the GTA-style of game.
Watch Dogs didn’t live up to that hype: it was flawed, didn’t have the vibrancy it needed, and its main character was a dullard. It was far too broody and no-nonsense for the sort of things you got up to in the game.
Watch Dogs 2, however, does live up to the hype. Every last bit of it. It’s got a cast of loveable characters, all wonderfully wild. It’s full of pop-culture jokes and wild humor through hacking and words alike. What you can do with the hacks is better than ever, and best of all, its story is actually interesting.
Playing as Marcus, a young African American hacker, you’re already off to a better start than we were with Aiden. Aiden was a grim, sad bugger, whereas Marcus is almost the direct opposite. He’s clever, likeable and witty. Though Marcus is leagues ahead of Aiden in personality, it’s the whole of DedSec that makes this game as great as it is.
You’ve got Sitara, the group’s emotional lead and graphic designer. Josh, is easily the smartest of the group and is probably the character with the best representation of Asperger’s I’ve ever seen in a game. Horatio is the team’s tactical coordinator. Saving the best for last, Wrench is an oddball character, a genius demolitions expert who always wears an animated mask to hide his crippling shyness.
It’s the way these characters come together that make the game feel so much more fun than the previous one. They’re friends, comrades and family to each other and you can feel it through every interaction. Whether it’s Wrench and Marcus talking about movies, or Sitara harping Marcus to get in better shape the group always has something fun to talk about.
The hacking of the game is stellar, at least the stuff you can do at the touch of a button. Change traffic lights, trigger phones, set off grenades. What hacking option you take decides your style of play.
For me, being able to take control of nearby cars was the basis of how I played. Cops turn up? Wait for them to get out and reverse their car. Guys taking cover behind a car? Reverse it into them. I need cover? Drive a car through them all to me. Little you couldn’t do with that ability.
Though that does bring me to my two big gripes about the game. First, the hacking where you have to turn nodes back and forth to complete a circuit gets miserable fast.
Now, I think this wouldn’t have been as bad if it just took place on a laptop screen or something, but the fact that you have to run back and forth makes it so much more irritation. That and they overuse it to the umpteenth degree, as a filler and towards the end you feel like it’s all you’re doing.
On that same note, for me the game outstayed its welcome. But I think that was more exhaustion than anything else. This is a very long game, especially if you want to enjoy all the content it has to offer, so don’t be afraid to put it down for a while and refresh yourself.
I found myself getting frustrated at hard to beat missions, or putting the game down after I was forced to restart the same mission for the umpteenth time since there were no checkpoints.
That doesn’t depreciate the value of this game though. It was a magnificent piece, and one you could spend months and months enjoying. With only a scant few flaws, this game easily outweighs them with its good points. It gets a glowing recommendation from me.
Photo Credits: Ubisoft, ModDB.com