Watch Dogs 2 – game review.

Aiden Pearce has failed everyone. Players, journalists, and probably even developers. It was the poor reception of Watch Dogs that made Ubisoft change its policy, and at the same time decided to completely refresh this still fledgling series. In the second part, we get to a new city, we control a new hero, and the atmosphere is definitely looser, but do these changes save IP so loudly promoted?

Watch Dogs 2 – game review

The biggest problem with Watch Dogs for me was the asexual hero. I couldn’t understand Aiden’s intentions, I didn’t feel like helping him, and I was tired of his attitude. As a consequence, I exhausted the story, the game hit the shelf, and now even a second copy of it is wrapped on the shelf. This is why I was excited to announce the sequel, in which Marcus Holloway came to the fore. The 24-year-old is the mirror opposite of his predecessor and for this reason Watch Dogs 2 deserves a chance. The French took a risk by serving players such a great revolution in such a young IP, but in this case it is difficult to complain.

A bad corporation, a funny hero, and a power-taking app

We get to know the young hero during the “trial of strength”. Marcus breaks into a building, pats a few guards, deletes his file from the database, and gains respect among the other DedSec members. The protagonist very quickly convinces a group of hackers of his skills, becomes their representative, thanks to which the team can plan activities together. The formation does not intend to turn off PlayStation Network and Xbox Live during the upcoming holidays, and their goal is the well-known organization Blume. It is the employees of this company that created CtOS 2.0, an even more powerful system that controls the activities of all San Francisco residents. Have you farted at work, your wife is making ice cream with your neighbor, and your kid is eating bullfinches while playing Minecraft? They know it. Hackers, noticing the total surveillance of residents, decide to show their true face. Of course, this is not an easy matter, because the corporation controls every little bit of social life, but the team came up with an interesting plan. An application has been prepared that anyone interested can install on their device, and the program provides all information about the activities of DedSec, while using the power of the hardware at the right moment to be able to attack CtOS 2.0. Hackers know that they do not have the right power, but it is Kowalski, Gruszczyk, or another Trump who will help with their gadgets. Every person downloading the application agrees to such a maneuver, because among the residents you can hear more and more indignation at Blume’s actions. This is where DedSec sees its chance, showing the American women the problem with effective actions and at the same time encouraging them to support the initiative.

Watch Dogs 2 – game review

This is how the general assumptions of the game are presented – in Watch Dogs 2 our task is to collect followers, i.e. people who want to help defeat CtOS 2.0 and Blume. Each of our activities, completed missions, completing an additional task, taking part in races, attacking other players, or even playing in cooperation – everything is based on one pattern and this integration is one of the better created systems, because every side activity makes sense here. And the main plot itself does not disappoint either, because the missions are divided into stages and it is difficult to get bored here each time. The main tasks are to break into a designated location, steal data or install a virus. Although we take part in similar activities all the time, the prepared story motivates us to play every time. It is similar with side tasks, which are not designed for one hoof like “go, kill, bring, sweep”, and we always have the opportunity to learn a modest story that fits into the realities of production.

Undoubtedly, these positive impressions from contact in the skin of Marcus are in my case supported by the game itself. The developers put at our disposal two robots – a small car and a flying drone. Both devices are necessary to sometimes get to the designated place, trick the guards or just solve a puzzle. The game brings back the puzzles known from the first Watch Dogs, in which we have to bring the current from point A to point B. The system has been working before, and here it simply does not disturb and integrates well with the whole.

Watch Dogs 2 – game review

The hacker shows power and then pulls out a rifle

In the case of Aiden’s stories, I had a lot of problems with the hacker’s skills, because they were not properly used in my opinion. Here, the developers draw conclusions and give players more abilities that significantly affect the gameplay. Skills are divided into several categories – vehicle hacking, social engineering, urban disruption, DIY, botnets, shooting, remote control, and each group is a separate tree with several powers. It’s been a long time since I had such pleasure in developing my character, because in the case of the second Watch Dogs, Marcus learned something new each time, which I could use during the mission. My favorite ability is to send a forged arrest warrant and thus call the police to a designated target – after a few seconds the cops appear on the spot and often end up with quite a shooting. On the other hand, you can call in gangsters who just pull their guns out and start a riot. Always in this situation, I stood somewhere to the side, switching the view to individual cameras, and even to embellish this chaos, I remotely fired cars that were run over by running guards. At the end, I gracefully rushed into the location and quietly eliminated the survivors – the hero has a pool ball hanging on a string at his disposal and with really great grace he knocks down his rivals. At the same time, I was hoping that the game would last and last, but from a certain point the hero has to pull the gun out and shoot himself – the system does not fail, but it disturbed my perception of the adventure. Here, the prepared toys are asking for action from hiding and killing rivals with the phone, but from some point it is too tiring. The error threshold is so low that it’s just more effective to pull out the rifle and fire everyone in the building. Detriment.

The atmosphere that causes the most controversy in the case of production from the very beginning. Ubisoft decided to take a very loose approach to the story, and no doubt this decision will divide players. I had no problems with getting to know the adventure of the “loose hacker” because this story is presented in a very accessible way. Sure there are dry jokes at every turn, characters still swear curses, and some missions are just ridiculous, but I definitely prefer this approach to the boring, empty and stupid-heroic Aiden. In this case, the concept was presented from above and you either buy it or skip it. However, it should be taken into account that the realities fit well into the city. San Francisco does not present the largest map in the history of sandboxes, but this place cannot be denied its charm. Beautiful sunrises, changeable weather conditions and memes, pink elephants, or other elements that represent society that are still appearing on houses. The creators are clearly not afraid to tackle topics that are difficult for many, but they do it in a very accessible way.

Watch Dogs 2 – game review

DedSec is also presented in the game in interesting colors – next to Marcus there are a group of colorful characters, in which Screw comes to the fore. The hero in the mask spends funny jokes from the very beginning, can relieve tension, and even has the opportunity to show his abilities several times. I have small reservations about Marcus’s initiation itself, which basically… doesn’t exist. The hero immediately becomes everyone’s best friend and together the team intends to destroy the secret organization controlling the lives of the inhabitants. This is far-fetched, but it is clear that the authors did not want to waste time on the next stages of initiation. Before the game, it must also be assumed that the topic of hackers is presented here very loosely – just such a concept was adopted from the beginning that some will like, and others will be totally exhausted. The creators combine reality with fiction in a very interesting way, serving players with references to, among others, the almost legendary Anonymous – it’s hard for me to imagine this team fighting in CtOS 2.0 in this way, but the French present their vision of reality.

Watch out for passers-by and enjoy the city’s charms

The “living city” system is also a big advantage. Several times I had the opportunity to experience an action created by artificial intelligence. For example – I tried to infiltrate the place, but each time I was noticed by the security, until one time a guard was released from the fence, he was noticed by a pedestrian who called the police to the place. After all, the armed gentleman posed a threat. In another situation, the guy was destroying his slutty ex’s car and he was doing it right next to the mission site, so the officers who wanted to overpower him became involved in my task. These events are completely optional in the game, so if you are unlucky (or lucky) you will never experience them.

There are interesting side activities in the game. In addition to performing missions in cooperation, we can, for example, take part in a drone race, drive mini-cars, fight for the best time on a motorcycle, or even play the role of a taxi driver. These are nice additions that make your time more pleasant and are a nice springboard from story missions. However, the developers have overdone the driving model that is too dexterous, which makes life difficult. Cars react to the slightest movement and can often behave quite unnaturally. Due to their operation in the game, you can come across small glitches through which the vehicle flies a few meters above the ground or bounces unnaturally from another. The creators must definitely work on the driving system, but fortunately, the game features a fast travel option – from the very beginning, we can teleport to, for example, clothing stores or pawn shops, reducing the time of the ride to a minimum.

Watch Dogs 2 – game review

When playing on PlayStation 4 Pro, it is not difficult to admire the setting. The game actually looks great in many places, and especially the developers need to refine the facial expressions, the character’s animations, or all cutscenes. The title presents very warm-colored colors and you can admire the views many times. During the game, I also did not encounter any major problems with the smoothness of the animation, but I regret to say that the authors still cannot offer interesting gameplay on the Internet. Is multiplayer mode needed for this title? Definitely not, but the creators allow invasion again (we fall into another player’s world and hack or defend ourselves against such action) or take part in the hunt (we fall into another player’s world and have to kill him with the help of the police or defend ourselves against such action) . These variants of the game are in my opinion completely unnecessary, and in addition they do not work at the moment. Ubisoft is already working on the appropriate patch, so I’m not going to judge them, but I had the opportunity to check both variants of the game at two events and I can confidently say that I do not buy it. This still isn’t an option that could pull me to the screen.

The foundation for something really big

Watch Dogs 2 doesn’t reinvent the genre, but presents a completely fresh approach to the hacker theme. The creators cut themselves off from the prototype with their arms, legs and even heads and offer their clients an interesting approach to the subject. Here, the gameplay (main plot, hacking, side missions, additional activities) does not disappoint, but you have to take into account unusual realities (relaxed atmosphere, curses, pink elephants, often ridiculous tasks). If you don’t mind the atmosphere that emanates from every trailer, you won’t be disappointed. It’s still not a perfect title, but I can confidently say that the French learned a severe lesson from the original. It’s different and it’s better for me. I am counting on the development of the title, because in the future we can get a really strong competitor to the largest representatives of sandboxes. With this title, Ubisoft created the foundations for a really specific brand. We forget smutas-Aiden, welcome the marsh-Marcus.