Watch Dogs 2 Review

Watch Dogs 2 Review Darryl Linington
Storyline
Gameplay
Graphics
Sound
Lasting Appeal
8.5
User Rating: 8.6 (1 votes)

Developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft, Watch Dogs 2 is the sequel to 2014’s Watch Dogs. While the first title in the series was a stellar, yet serious outing, Watch Dogs 2 attempts to lighten things up with a great, new cast of characters.

The original and rather bland protagonist Aiden Pearce has been ditched this time around, which allows Watch Dogs 2 – which is available on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC – to introduce players to a new, more vibrant protagonist named Marcus Holloway (Ruffin Prentiss) who is an intelligent twenty-four-year-old hacker who hails from Oakland, California.

Watch Dogs 2 takes place in a fictional, open-world, version of the San Francisco Bay Area where the latest version of ctOS – an Internet of Things based system – is installed. While the system is essentially used to connect every individual to every device they own, much like the Internet of Things would, it also falsely accuses Marcus of a crime he did not commit. Bent on clearing his name, Marcus breaks into a facility in order to clear his record. It is here where Marcus finds that the system is actually harming the citizens rather than helping them… It’s at this point where Marcus joins a quirky group of hackers called DedSec in order to take down the system as well as the company behind it.

When it comes to storyline, Watch Dogs 2 has a simple, yet entertaining one at that. It’s not as serious as the first title in the series, which essentially makes it a lot better as well as more  entertaining and engaging. The group you join up with – which includes Horatio (Michael Xavier), Josh (Jonathan Dubsky), Sitara (Tasya Teles), and Wrench (Shawn Baichoo) – have great personalities as well as well-written and performed scripts. I especially liked Wrench, who sports a rather interesting mask that really added to his overall character and humour.

As mentioned above, the voice acting is this title is top-notch, which adds to the overall experience. Apart from the storyline, which is great, Watch Dogs 2’s main and side missions are a blast to playthrough. The reason behind this is there are multiple ways that one can complete the objective. You can either go in guns blazing, which I don’t recommend… or approach the mission in a stealth style fashion. Alternatively, you can hack your way through missions… or use drones to navigate the world in order to complete various missions. This allows players choice, which is something that is most welcomed when it comes to open-world titles such as this.

As stated above, I would not recommend going in guns blazing as it does not really suit the main character. Marcus always comes across, during cut-scenes, as a hacker with a good heart, which makes equipping him with weapons and live ammunition feel out of place. I mean one minute you are tearing through the San Francisco Bay Area with 3D printed weapons… and the next you are happily cracking one-liners in the next cut-scene with your crew. While this does not destroy the overall experience, I do believe that a full set of non-lethal weapons would have suited this protagonist far better.

Hacking, this time around, is a little too simple to be honest. Granted, most hacking skills need to be unlocked via the skill tree; however, once unlocked, players can unlock doors and access cameras at the click of a button. Additionally, most puzzles can be overcome rather easily in the early stages of the game; however, the further you dive into the story the harder they get. This amps the challenge, especially with the main hacking mechanic being as simple as it is.

If you are not playing side, or main missions you can hack the citizens of the Bay Area in order to reveal some rather comical tidbits such as raunchy text message conversations as well as entertaining mobile phone conversations. Additionally, you can empty out the bank account of various citizens too. To add to the experience, Marcus can, once unlocked, control vehicles remotely or distract entire crowds by sending out messages to each NPCs mobile device. This really adds to the overall experience and quirkiness of this title. For those looking to play online, Watch Dogs 2 also offers online co-op as well as access a variety of multiplayer activities to take part in.

When it comes to visuals, Watch Dogs 2 is a stunner. The San Francisco Bay Area is beautifully designed as well as filled to the brim with a plethora of NPCs going about their daily routines. The Bay Area is a fantastic setting overall and most definitely a great piece of eye-candy for those looking for a visually impressive title.

Conclusion:
Watch Dogs 2 is a great title with a fantastic, yet simple, storyline. To add to its accolades, it features a great cast of characters as well as a fantastic script. While this title does excel when it comes to visuals, just be warned that the frame-rate does suffer when too much is happening on screen.

Overall, Watch Dogs 2 rights the wrongs of its predecessor. This is done by improving on various gameplay mechanics as well as by replacing the bland Aiden Pearce with the fresh and funky Marcus Holloway and his band of quirky DedSec hackers.

Watch Dogs 2 was reviewed by Darryl Linington

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Editor of Tech IT Out. Former radio host of Cliffcentral.com. Former Editor of IT News Africa and ITF Gaming. All round techie, gamer and entrepreneur. For Editorial Enquiries Contact: Darryl@techitout.co.za or via +27788021400.