“Watch Dogs 2” imitates life


Courtesy of Ubisoft

“Watch dogs 2” accurately portrays the city of Sam Francisco, down to small details like having seals in Fisherman’s Wharf.

“Watch Dogs 2” delivers a pleasant overall single player experience, but with its multiplayer aspect unready at launch, it cannot fulfill its promises.

It is difficult to say how good the story of the game is. While being miles better than the previous title, too much is left missing to be “good.” Marcus Holloway, the main protagonist of “Watch Dogs 2” was exponentially better than the first protagonist, Aiden Pearce. Holloway also has some great supporting characters with different personalities to keep the story interesting.

However, Holloway’s goal is shallow at best, while Aiden’s goal was clear-cut and relatable. Holloway’s conflict with a hacking group is noble, but doesn’t have any real motivation behind it. The group isn’t obviously malicious, they just kind of do it for “fun” or to inform the people of what evil has befallen them.

There doesn’t seem to be any emotional attachment in most of the goals in the game either. There are a few exceptions, but once the mission is complete it is just swept aside. In terms of other character shortcomings, dialogue seemed to try really hard to sound “nerdy,” the downfall of most scripted “hackers.”

On the plus side, side missions are quite interesting and varied. It’s not quite “Grand Theft Auto 5” level, but some of them were fun and creative. Climbing and some drone puzzles that uses the simplified parkour mechanics in the game were challenging and satisfying to complete. These puzzles are similar to the Riddler trophies that you would find in the “Batman: Arkham” games, although not as complex.There are even go-kart and sailboat races which are fun distractions.

Being based in the San Francisco Bay Area, it is downright gorgeous and accurate. Although the Bay is understandably downscaled, the game was able to include the surrounding Oakland, San Bruno mountains, San Mateo, and even Palo Alto. Every notable landmark in San Francisco is recreated with astounding likeness.

Character models and various NPCs are better than the prequel. Interactions with pedestrians are quite impressive as they have better AI. Random people would often photobomb the player when taking selfies, sometimes get angry when you take their photograph, and players can even pet dogs with their owners appreciating it. Small details like this make the artificial world more life-like and immersive.

Some obvious improvements were made to gameplay as well, to accommodate the complaints and disappointment from the first game. There are more hacking options in game, the main story missions are heavily stealth-based, and the game does allow you to approach the missions any way you want. Electronic and explosive traps can now be set to proximity rather than just being triggered.

There are also a few cool tools for Holloway to use in-game, like the RC “Jumper” and a quadcopter drone. What is brilliant is that both drones complement each other instead of causing players to pick favorites.

You can also call in gang members or place a fake warrant for your enemies to be arrested, which is quite useful for whittling enemy fortifications. Vehicles and forklifts are now hackable for your personal use.

“Watch Dogs 2” retained the skill tree system with a few changes. There is no longer a crafting system, making explosives and other carry-on traps were put on a cool down system instead. Driving was tweaked from the original game, which was odd since there weren’t many complaints about it in particular. Nevertheless it is seemingly more accessible now, though it could take some getting used to at first.

The major fault of this release was that multiplayer was available for only about a day until Ubisoft decided to pull it out because it caused problems with the main game. In spite of the problems, I was still able to play some of the classic “Hack Invasion” multiplayer modes that were brought back from “Watch Dogs.” This game mode remained untouched and will probably stay a “go-to” for new and old players.

Unfortunately, playing other multiplayer modes causes the game to drop its frame rates, lag and sometimes crash. Co-op was completely unplayable and the “Bounty Hunter” multiplayer mode was untouched since Ubisoft pulled it before this review was finished.

“Watch Dogs 2” may have deserved
more praise if the multiplayer aspect was working because its campaign was
good, and a functioning multiplayer would only complement that. However, with
the current state of the game, you will be hard-pressed to receive a
recommendation. It is advised to hold off on buying this title until the
multiplayer bugs are fixed.