Watch Dogs 2 Review
By: Thomas Riccardi
In this modern day and age, we are all connected. We talk to each other via our phones, computers, and tablets to keep in touch with work and friends. We share events online and our tastes and preferences are being monitored. The first city that was run by the ctOS (a central operating system) was so popular that other cities starting adopting it. In 2016, it has spread to more than a few cities; however, there are some that are using this network for more vile deeds. Companies can profile your habits, track what you buy, and manipulate you like a puppet on a string. This is the backdrop for the new game from Ubisoft, Watch Dogs 2. But is this a system you will want to overrun?
Gamers will play as Marcus Holloway, a bright, young hacker who wants to prove himself and make a difference. He teams up with the hacker group known as DeadSec for the first mission: hacking into a giant technology firm called Blume that monitors and creates profiles. As you make your way through the systems, you find something troubling. Marcus is flagged for a crime that he did not commit and right then and there, he vows to take down Blume and everything it stands for. However, he cannot do this alone and he will need to gather an army of followers and their computing power to take down Blume.
Watch Dogs 2 is simply amazing. There is a slogan that goes along with the game: hack everything. And they mean it. You can hack people that pass you by on the street and steal money, info, and other resources. There are cameras that allow you to see into areas that you would not be able to access. You can hack into vehicles remotely, trigger electrical shorts to stun enemies, and hack robots that are on the city streets. You will also have remote access to drones – a quadcopter and a remote-controlled car – that can help you out of tight situations.
Not all situations can be resolved by hacking; sometimes you need to resort to violence. There are a few weapons that you can use in the game, but the one you start with is awesome. Marcus carries a stun gun that can knock a person out from range and can also be upgraded. Imagine engaging enemies with a stun gun that can fire and reload quickly while you simultaneously steal their weapons. This makes for some amazing gameplay as you can play the game how you want to. You can use stealth and take out enemies with melee attacks, stun them from range, or go in guns blazing.
Another cool aspect for me personally is that the game is set right in my own backyard, which makes me want to get out and explore. Granted, I live in Sacramento but San Francisco is not that far from me and I used to live in the Bay Area. The Ubisoft team really went above and beyond with it by including iconic locations and familiar layouts of the area. The game is split up into four different areas: Oakland, Marin, San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and each of these areas has their own unique look and feel to them. Believe me, if you have even visited the Bay Area, you’ll be looking at this game and shouting, “I know where that is!”
Additionally, there is a multiplayer component to Watch Dogs 2 that integrates seamlessly. For example, you could start a mission and someone from online can join and assist you, which is great if you have a hard mission. However, for some of us who want to play the game on our own, you can turn that element off in the options menu. You can also start an Online Invasion where you search for a hacker and try to steal his data or prevent your data from being stolen. Speed, stealth, and ingenuity are your key tools here as you try to keep your wits about you. If you commit too much chaos in the world of Watch Dogs 2, you might find a contract on your head. This is the Bounty Hunter mode, where you try to evade three other players as they attempt to take you down. If the players manage to defeat you, they are given a bonus but, if you take them out, you receive an even larger bonus.
I have been playing Watch Dogs 2 for days on the PC and I’ve barely scratched the surface, which is why that is also the case with this review, but I can tell you it is simply wonderful. If you haven’t checked it out for consoles or PC, you definitely need to. For more information on this great game, head over the official website. Are you ready to hack everything?