Watch Dogs 2 Review

Oh noes, not fist pumps! The cut scenes are a bit cheesey, but the characters are complex and likeable enough.

Watch Dogs 2 is a game about hacking, it’s got a really fresh young vibe going on, the game tackles current affairs and it’s overall been a really fun (not so serious, scary, or full of doom and gloom) game to play.

I’ve watched just about every hacking related movie and doco there is to watch. Ghost in the Shell, The Matrix, The Internet’s Own Boy (Aaron Swartz’s story on Netflix, must watch), so I was instantly curious about Watch Dogs 2; a game about hacking, and just how would the developers make hacking the primary part of the game (and how would they make it fun?).

Ubisoft has done an awesome job of re-creating San Francisco. I hope that one day Sydney will feature in an open world game of this quality.

Lots of graff all over the city.

Some worth taking a selfie with.

On loading, the game throws you into the deep end right away (Metal Gear Solid’esque action scenario), and the movie intro actually begins a fair bit later. Refreshing change from games which have much slower tutorial style intros. You’re Marcus, a chill dude who ends up hooking up with DedSec, a bunch of hacker mates. The enemy is tech company Blume and their ctOS computer system and the world is set in the Bay Area of California, which is absolutely huge, and looks amazing in game (I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and was sold).

Meet the crew.

There’s a real fun, neon punk graphic design aesthetic which carries throughout the short videos which support and break up missions.

To me, Watch Dogs 2 instantly feels a little bit like The Division; familiar HUD graphics and action mechanisms, but graphics are even better in general, especially in regards to the main character’s detail and movement. The characters you meet are quite developed (more like characters in Fallout 4) and stealing cars, bikes and exploring the streets feels a lot like playing Grand Theft Auto V, which isn’t a bad thing, right?!

Cars are pretty cool in the game (I love the in car first person mode), hardly any traffic means you have much less to hit (and cars are super easy to control so driving is never frustrating).

All sorts of clothes shops to visit!

Marcus’ phone is his primary weapon and tool to launch apps which control all sorts of stuff like starting new missions, taking selfies and playing tunes (as you’d imagine). He’s also got an RC car and Quadcopter to play with (which is essential and super fun but also crazy expensive so you’ll have to do some driving side missions and hack people’s accounts in order to cash up to buy it). Marcus can also hack terminals, cameras, cars and more. Failing a mission a few times helps a lot in getting familiar with the hacking tools, which are an essential part of the game, but then there’s shooting too.

Selfies, gaining followers and making guns with the 3D printer. How very “now”!

Watch Dogs 2 primarily focuses on moving stealthily and hacking, but Marcus can use a 3D printer to create various guns. I’m not sure the game becomes more convincing when a hacker starts shooting his way through missions, but hey the option is there to play the game how you like, and that’s a good thing I think (as I really enjoy shooting games and running in guns blazing is always more my style).

PS: I got a pre-release retail PlayStation 4 copy of the game provided by Ubisoft. At the time of review the PlayStation 4 version of the game has a major multiplayer bug. Ubisoft are well aware of this bug and expects to have it fixed by the time the game launches for the public (it’s now available!). I’ll be buying the PC version of the game when it launches at the end of this month so I can test out the multuplayer with Ved!

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4 Responses to Watch Dogs 2 Review

  1. lemmiwinks says:

    If you like real hacking stories (not like the scene in Swordfish where they show a ls on the root directory as hacking lol!) then check out Takedown by Tsutomu Shimomura. It’s not coke, hookers and fast cars type stuff because it’s real life, and Shimomura comes off as a bit full of himself (but then again he did track down one of the most infamous hackers of the time) but it’s still a good read.

  2. Richard Ma says:

    Games are just off the hook now, should totally get a PS4 lol.

    Playing Titanfall 2 Justin?

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