Review: Watch Dogs 2 (Multi-platform)
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Watch Dogs? Yeah that was a thing, my brief encounter with the first instalment of Ubisoft’s new IP left a sour taste in my mouth. I was excited I mean who wouldn’t be after the massive push in pr and marketing Ubisoft had affixed Watch Dogs with. Inevitably it was a massive flop and could never live up to the expectations bestowed upon itself. I really wanted to like the first instalment, there were some really cool ideas, but to be frank, I just found it dull and drab. I have however completed Watch Dogs 2 [WD2], my opinion of which could not be more in the opposite direction. It’s fun, fresh, never takes itself too seriously and provides a lot of fun scenarios for you to demonstrate your hacking prowess. I can honestly say that I was really surprised when I first booted the game up, the city looks fantastic, a stunning, picturesque and serene recreation of San Francisco that is both fresh and exciting and a pleasant departure from the depressingly tedious recreation of Chicago back in the first.
Out of all the open world games I’ve managed to play over the last 12 months, WD2 is the only one that managed to keep an interesting flow surrounding both side and main quests. I am guilty of becoming exhausted with side quests and often there is a point where I just get fed up and just start ‘main-lining’. This was not the case with WD2, there was such variation and interesting ways to complete the missions, it kept me entertained from beginning to end, there was not a side quest that I had left unfinished prior to heading to the main quests. The narrative itself was enough to keep me captivated throughout, though there were times where I felt the script was too self-aware and at times felt too current for its own good, this was balanced out with humour and a satirical and ironic approach of current events, particularly how it reflects the culture surrounding social media and the development of communication with smart devices. The opinion of the entire game left me largely positive, in fact I’ve struggled to really find many negative aspects, I feel Ubi are heading in the right direction with this IP and can see that a different direction has really made a huge difference. The future is bright for Watch Dogs and I look forward to seeing what changes and directions are taken in the next release.
Gameplay is really well fun, I love the hacking perks, there’s nothing quite as entertaining than sending the mob or police to attack your enemies, I actually don’t think I directly killed one enemy, if things got a little heated, I’d find some cover and decide if I wanted my pursuers to be heavy under the heat of police officers or have a mob assassin do my dirty work. There was just so many options, playing with people’s mobile phones causing them to heat up and explode, setting a vast array of equipment into overload to attract or disable. Many of these were present in the previous iteration, but they have been much improved on and refined, including the perk system. It feels like the development team have taken a complete u-turn, the idea of Watch Dogs was always appealing, but how it was implemented just wasn’t right, WD2 on the other hand, this felt more than right, I was having fun, a creative and encapsulating landscape with more than enough uses for the hacking tools that are at my reach. Not only that, but it felt like Mr. Robot was a huge inspiration here, and I refuse to believe that the team were not influenced in some way by the tv-show.
I really cannot recommend WD2 enough, it feels like Ubi might be back on their game, which fills me with promise with the likes of Ghost Recon just around the corner. I have to say this might be the end of my ‘Open-world’ genre binge for a while, it feels like its the only type of game I’ve played other then Overwatch and Doom. Anyway I’m gonna bring this review to a close, parting words of advice from a sage, Watch Dogs 2 is wicked, you should definitely pick this up and play it if and when you get the chance. Peace out brethern.