UBISOFT REALLY LET THE DOGS OUT
The moment Ubisoft announced Watch Dogs 2, speculation and anxiety filled the air. The mixed reviews and seemingly wasted potential of the first Watch Dogs, prompted a real challenge to the Ubisoft Montreal team to deliver on the promise of a completely unique gaming experience. After a few dozen hours of playtime, I can comfortably say we got the game we were waiting for.
WD2 takes place in and around a condensed open world replica of San Francisco, California. You play through your crime filled hacking adventure as a young hacktivist named Marcus Holloway. Marcus is just like you and I, he likes Star Wars, enjoys long walks on the beach, and likes to bring corrupt, immoral, and otherwise awful organizations to justice via mad hacking skills. Marcus was raised in Oakland and wrongly red flagged in the ctOS 2.0 predictive algorithm system (advanced system seen in the first Watch Dogs) sparking the fire in Marcus to clear his name and stop the unconstitutionality of said system.
Early on into the game you are introduced to a “ragtag” hacker group named Dedsec. After a brilliantly designed tutorial mission that smoothly introduces you to the game’s mechanics, you become a member. Once you are introduced to the small Dedsec crew, you are set free to explore the beautiful and diverse map. The San Fran model looks outstanding with colorful graffiti placed about and quality graphics. With hundreds of things to do and see you won’t find yourself running out of things to do anytime soon.
WD2 takes a much more light hearted approach than the first installment did. Some of the main complaints of the first game included, bland characters, overly serious plot, and a dark tone. Ubisoft thankfully listened to fan feedback and gave us a fun, light hearted, and colorful game. WD2 also does a good job at giving you a viable motivation. Unlike the first games cliche revenge focus, it is mostly based on trying to take down the evil and corrupt corporate giant called “Blume”. The story is engaging and fairly unique. Most missions I felt like I was doing something completely new and different, the lack of repetition really was refreshing. Ubisoft cleaned house by kicking Chicago’s Aiden Pearce to the curb, and replacing him with a new, relatable, and lovable character in Marcus Holloway. However in doing so, at times I felt they went a little too “teeny bopper” for my taste. Maturity and sometimes even common sense partially lacked in the writing of some of the main characters.
As far as the gameplay goes I was very satisfied. Hacking felt smoother than ever. From the get-go I found it easy to understand and felt comfortable in any situation. There were a fair bit of bugs in the game like disappearing NPCs and some random invisible walls, but nothing that can’t be fixed a simple post launch update. With a variety of different ways to manipulate different objects I quickly came to realize the multitude of different ways I could go about doing things. The possibilities felt endless. You can send in your little two wheeled drone in to do your dirty work, sneak in through the back, come in through the roof guns ablazing or even take control of a forklift and run over all who oppose you. I found myself taking 20 minutes to do a 5 minute mission simply because I enjoyed sneaking around and wreaking havoc.
Aside from horrendous driving mechanics that make driving a hassle, and a few cringe worthy moments, I found many more things that I liked about the game than disliked. Voice acting, graphics, map layout, and story all were fairly solid. I found myself emotionally engaged in the story and had plenty of laughs between dialogue and NPCs.
The Verdict: 8.5 out of 10
Simply put I was impressed. Even though I feel Watch Dogs still has untapped potential this was a leap in the right direction. The Ubisoft Montreal team really rose to the challenge. I would without hesitation recommend Watch Dogs 2 to one of my friends. Once many bugs are fixed and issues addressed, like the lack of multiplayer at launch due to tech issues, I believe this game can keep gamers busy for hours on end.
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Jeremy LeLaCheur is an Associate Writer at MONG and excels at loving his mom and at video games with a dash of sarcasm and charisma