A few months ago, we pondered if Watch Dogs 2‘s Marcus would be the hero that blerds have been waiting for. But now after an election where emails, foreign sponsored hacking, wikileaks, and social media played a role, it seems like it was the prequel for V for Vendetta. Maybe Watch Dogs 2 is the game the world has been waiting for.
Dropping November 15, Watch Dogs 2 is the sequel to its critically acclaimed and often criticized 2014 predecessor that allowed the player to be a part of a technological vigilante in a future Chicago. The city had adopted a new system — dubbed ctOS — that collected everyone’s data and used it for dubious reasons. But while you were previously using your hacking skills to take advantage of this info in the hunt for the person that killed your niece, in Watch Dogs 2 your goals are a little more in line with hacker’s ethos.
This time around you’re more Hack The Planet as the scene switches to San Francisco and the ctOS that you manipulated in Chicago makes another appearance — and it’s being used much more aggressively. You and the hacker group DeadSec are going to get a little digital justice.
What makes Watch Dogs 2 so compelling is that you can tell Ubisoft pays attention to feedback. Watch Dogs 2 is in sunny San Francisco as you take on the role of Marcus, a hacker from Oakland. He’s teamed up with a diverse group of hackers who are all varying degrees of interesting. They’re not only are fighting the good fight, but they’re also enjoying causing a little chaos in the process.
Authenticity was another area they put effort into. San Francisco feels real, the conversations aren’t forced, they paid attention to the hacker lifestyle, the environment breathes, and that gives the city its own character and makes the game even more immersive. Hacking, which was an interesting part of the original game, has been retooled and beefed up with more tricks added to the arsenal. You can drive or fly drones, and hacks are now more controlled. They can explode, stun, or just be shut off.
Stealth and combat make returns as you would expect from an Ubisoft game, but don’t expect Enzio-like reflexes; the combat gets a little cumbersome at times, and Marcus is definitely no Enzio in the stealth department.
Watch Dogs 2 is an improvement on many of the things that ailed the first game. It has better characters, a better storyline, better gameplay, a change from the stereotypical tropes, and a more modern look — including addition of 3D printed weapons and drones, which make it feel real and robust.
But while many things have changed, there are still some weak points. It is a hacker game, but the sneak in, hack the computer formula gets repetitive. Also, while gameplay is improved, sneaking and combat is definitely a little more cumbersome in this iteration. But Watch Dogs 2 is an overall great game and worthy of the 2 in a long line of 2’s that were better than the firsts: Terminator 2, Godfather Part 2, Star Trek 2.
Read our interview with Watch Dogs 2’s creative director, Jonathan Morin.