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Watch Dogs 2 (PS4) review

On November 14, 2016 by Aaron Meehan

In a world where companies share your personal data on a whim, it takes a team of hackers to make the world open their eyes.

Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 2 is a marked step up from the first Watch Dogs game released in 2014. Watch Dogs 2 has a cast of interesting and fun characters and a story that doesn’t take itself too seriously, even though it does jump the shark on more than a few occasions.

Watch Dogs 2 takes place in San Francisco in the heart of Silicon Valley; the game sees you take control of Marcus Holloway who joins DedSec after Blume’s new updated ctOS, ctOS 2.0 flags him as a potential liability in the future. Basically, ctOS 2.0 has a predictive algorithm that looks to spot criminals before they commit a crime, think of the plot of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and so to stop this Marcus joins DedSec and leads them down a path to take out Blume and let the whole world know what they are doing. However, as the story evolves DedSec discover there is something even more sinister beneath the surface.

Despite it dystopian tones of corporations using personal data to control people’s actions, there is a lot of levity in the game. The main character and the supporting DedSec characters have fun with what they are doing, sure, they are on a campaign to show the world the truth but it doesn’t mean they can’t have fun taking down corrupt churches and social media sites. As things get dark in the game you can almost expect one of the DedSec members to bring it back down to earth with a pop culture reference. Seriously, there is nothing more fun than a tense situation being dampened by an Aliens vs. Predator debate.

With the humour and characters in mind, let’s talk about them. The main DedSec members are Marcus, Sitara, Wrench, Josh and later Ray. Each character is well fleshed out with each character having their own unique style, and most importantly of all they feel and look like hackers. My personal favourite character was Wrench who wears as a digital mask that shows his expressions through digital emoticons and a distorted voice. Wrench is a bit of a tragic character, but despite how difficult things get he shows that he wants to have fun. I believe what made me enjoy all the DedSec characters was the fact that Ubisoft gave them time to grow and develop.

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Moving away from the story and characters, let’s talk about the gameplay. In terms of completing operations, Watch Dogs 2 offers multiple play styles: aggressor, the ghost and the trickster, and frankly they all work brilliantly. Personally, I loved playing the trickster as I would hide in a location and send in my RC jumper to hack a server right under the enemies’ nose. Of course, there are times when you have to move past your hacking skills and get involved in a fight. When it comes to gun control, it is simplistic as I found it easy to take down enemies, although the game did like to throw in the occasional bullet spongy enemy.

Regarding the hacking tools, they are the relatively similar to those in the first Watch Dogs game, although they did feel toned down, but that could have been my imagination. With that said you can still perform fun stunts such as blowing up manhole covers to slow down pursuing vehicles and use the cameras to gain important objects such as a key access code for a building you need to infiltrate. Regarding how you gain new hacking abilities, you need to spend research points, which are mainly gained through operations. Unfortunately, some powerful hacking skills such as “Blackout” are hidden behind key data items. Also, if you were worried about running out of hacking capacity (BotNet) don’t worry as you can recharge it by simply hacking a passerby.

Other hacking additions include the fact that some operations give you a special hacking mini-game where you have to direct the power to certain sections. There is also the NetHack mode that allows you to locate rewards and help you find operation required objects such as a server you need to physically hack or to set some nice stun based traps.

Before talking about issues, let’s talk about the online component and side activities. Watch Dogs 2 offers seamless online play that allows for a natural feeling co-op or player versus player experience. While I didn’t experience these too much, the tech behind the seamless play was an interesting experience. Regarding side activities, you can take part in various races and search for hidden items such as the all-important key data items.

Regarding issues with the game, I did notice frame stuttering while driving, which varied in intensity. It didn’t make driving, which is fun, impossible, but the shuttering wasn’t pleasing on the eyes. Hopefully, this issue will be fixed once the game is released.

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Finally, before my conclusion let’s talk graphics and audio. I honestly don’t have much to say on either one of these topics as they were both well within my expectations.

Conclusion

Watch Dogs 2 is a fun hacking focused open world game that offers a light-hearted and interesting story that is tied together with an entertaining and diverse cast of characters.

Score: 9/10

Pros Cons
+ Interesting story – Some frame stuttering
+ Great cast of characters – Some hacks are locked behind special items
+ Multiple effective play styles

 

Developer Publisher Genre Rating Platform Release date
Ubisoft Ubisoft Action-Adventure 18+ PS4, XBOne, PC November 15, 2016

*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*

For more information on Watch Dogs 2, visit http://watchdogs.ubisoft.com/watchdogs/en-gb/home/.

 

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.


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