As only a casual observer of San Francisco, I have no clue whether the city scape of Watch Dogs 2 is accurate and quite frankly my dear I don’t give a damn. Whether driving through the city streets or running on foot this game brings me the feel of San Francisco, or at least what I assume it would feel like. It’s a far cry away from the original game with it’s dreary rain filled streets and a trench coat wearing protagonist and instead gives you a skinny jean wearing hipster to roam the streets. But the game of course is not all rainbows and butterflies, it tackles corruption, political intrigue and how Uber is stealing jobs from the taxi drivers of America. Honestly that last part is true, there is a driving app that you can us in game and roam the streets giving people rides…check it out for some good Uber Vs. Taxi hate.
You play as Marcus, recent inductee into a hacking group called Dedsec, who’s goal is to tell the American public the truth about some of their favorite companies that collect data and sell it to the highest bidders. In truth Marcus is sort of the antihero, a digital Robin Hood, with good intentions but he doesn’t always go about getting the public the answers without bloodshed. Apparently Marcus is gifted in gunplay, free running and hacking to boot and has no moral quandary with using his skills to get Dedsec’s agenda to all that care to hear it.
To aid you in your mission, you have a sort of Assassin’s Creed eagle vision that allows you to see network devices that you can hack, civilian threats, and objects in the world that you can use to cause distractions or outright murder someone. You can also use drones to allow you to get to some hard to reach hacking locations but even with all these tools at your disposal there are times when gadgets aren’t enough. Many mission and locations require you to sneak past guards or try to take them on head first. But to make sure the truth is heard, sometimes there is collateral damage.
Here is where this game meets an unfortunate stumbling block. The cover mechanics leave a lot to be desired. Study a layout of a building and one slipup with have guards on you in no time. Once spotted even hiding doesn’t break line of sight enough for the AI to pass you by. You might kill the last person that saw you and duck into cover, just for the next guard to run into the building and immediately start shooting at you even though they shouldn’t be able to see you behind cover. Lucky for you Marcus can run for days and can typically scale buildings with relative ease. However there doesn’t seem to be a dedicated jump button for this game, you have to run toward objects and Marcus—if he can get up there—will preform some sort of acrobatic trick and make his way up.
You could also attempt to flee by car but the driving mechanics are clunky at best. Many cars take wider than necessary turns and others feel almost as if there is no weight behind them. The game does offer a hide in vehicle option but doing this while trying to escape normally results in you being discovered and starting your escape all over again. Motorcycles on the other hand feel great to drive and should be your escape/recreational vehicle of choice.
So with all this in mind is the game worth your hard earned money or is it just another dud in the world of gaming. I say this one is truly worth it. It offers enough substance to make it worth your time. Don’t feel like doing main missions, then you can do some PvP hacking in another person’s game or be an Uber driver for the day. If that’s not your cup of tea, then you can drive around the city and take selfies at designated locations to gain followers—the experience system—or shop for new vehicles and clothing. Whatever your poison, I’m sure you can find it here in Watch Dogs 2.
- Great Cast that you want to hang out with
- Fun combat and covert ops
- City looks great and is fun to explore
- Lots of clothing options (even if it’s not my style…)
- Cover system isn’t great
- No dedicated jump button was a little rough at first
- Driving isn’t ideal
- AI isn’t consitent