I have finally beaten the Watch Dogs 2 campaign, so it is about time we get our official review for this game. It was definitely a fun ride that took me 35 hours from beginning to end, keep in mind, I didn’t go for a 100% completion, but I played quite a bit of the game to know what it is about, how to play (of course) and to beat the main campaign, which is all I needed.
Watch Dogs 2 takes you to San Francisco, where you play as Marcus Holloway, a brilliant young hacker living in the birthplace of the tech revolution, the San Francisco Bay Area and team up with Dedsec, a notorious group of hackers, to execute the biggest hack in history; take down ctOS 2.0, an invasive operating system being used by criminal masterminds to monitor and manipulate citizens on a massive scale.
I won’t go into many details about the story; however it is totally worth saying this: the story is really well crafted. Over the top, of course, but it talks about different situations that may be happening in the real world, and some that are definitely happening. Corporate espionage, political corruption, authorities working on illegal stuff on plain sight. Those are some of the situations Marcus will get to see throughout his journey.
When it comes to the gameplay of Watch Dogs 2 I have to say that it is pretty much the same as its predecessor, Marcus goes around with his handy phone (which must have Avengers’ like powers…and battery) and his formidable water resistant laptop. Yes, a “water resistant” laptop. Why do I say this? Because he carries his laptop in his bag, and Marcus can go for a swim with it and even use it while in the water to hack cameras and other hackable objects. Am I overthinking this one?
In this game, Marcus has to level up in order to unlock different skills, obviously. The thing in here is that leveling up happens thanks to getting “followers” in social media. Basically, everything you do gets shared online and virtual people like it, from completing missions/side missions, to going around taking selfies in “points of interest” around San Francisco. It makes the game sort of fun, actually, as I found myself spending hours going from place to place just to find these almost 60 points of interest just to take a selfie there. Believe me, it is more entertaining than it sounds.
Besides your awesome phone and laptop, you have weapons. Of course you have weapons. Going from a taser, to a sniper rifle, anything you want. It is possible to customize them with different colors and such, I never really got to do that because I couldn’t care less about how a weapon looks like, I rather have the one that makes the most damage and then, I’ll be happy. I’m a simple guy.
Besides your handy guns and special grenades, you have a small drone and what looks like a mini controller-managed robot that you can use to go through air ducts, and at the beginning of the game, you can actually finish a few missions without even having Marcus do anything other than sit around while watching through this device’s camera, as it has a electronic arm so good that it can plug a USB drive into a computer, or disarm the security of a building. These can also be used to distract enemies, but I either tried to be as stealthy as it was possible, or went all Rambo on my enemies, so I never used these devices to distract anyone.
The good thing for this game is that, even though some places are swarmed by enemies, you have two skills that help you take down a few of them -if not all- without even having to get involved, as you can either get gang members to go in and kill people for you, or forge false evidence against someone and send the police to get them arrested. I exploited these two skills as much as I could, and most times I was able to get the whole building cleared -after calling gangs and police a few times- so that I could go and finish my objective. Sometimes, they were too busy dealing with their own enemies as to pay attention to me as well.
I have to admit that some of the missions in the game are really amazing. There’s one in which you have to figure out a way to reach the penthouse of a building just to steal some information, get in there from the ceiling, get the required data, and get out of there. I got swatted so many times in that mission that I was getting frustrated, but it was always fun to have every kind of police officer shooting at me while a sniper was aiming at my head from a helicopter. Those were my Rambo times in the game, until someone completely destroyed me with a shotgun, of course.
There’s also the security stuff hacking, which isn’t too much of “hacking” as it is a “get the pipes right simulator” which sometimes could be a challenge to get right due to timers going off on you, but throughout the whole game I just encountered a couple that were a bit challenging, the rest were quite straight to the point, as all you had to do was place the pipes in the right position for them to let electricity through.
The last mission of the game, though, was really entertaining and full of action. I had to repeat that mission quite a few times, but it was challenging at times, so I am pretty happy about it.
Being honest, I didn’t find much to talk about these characters; we do have a team as Marcus joins Dedsec, and a team formed by Sitara (Tasya Teles), Wrench (Shawn Baichoo), Horatio (Michael Xavier) and Josh (Jonathan Dubsky), then being joined by a character we met before: Raymond “T-Bone” Kenney (John Tench), but even though they keep talking and playing music and so on, there isn’t much about them to talk about, just know that Wrench is awesome and Sitara has great taste for music.
For this game one interesting-yet-annoying fact is that you have to unlock the music your player will be playing while you play the game, it isn’t hard to do it, but at times it feels like you have too few songs, and there isn’t a whole lot of variety. The best music, ironically, plays in certain missions where Marcus “asks” his teammates to “play something fresh”.
The graphics of Watch Dogs 2 are awesome, even when my PC didn’t cover all the requisites to run it at ultra or sometimes even high settings, everything looked awesome for me, with the obvious situations that I had to turn off certain settings such as “motion blur” as it was causing my PC to have minor strokes.
Overall, the visual experience of playing this game is awesome, and you get to feel like it is a live city, given the way in which it seems like every building is occupied by people, even if these buildings aren’t open to the player.
Of course, the performance is based on what I experienced playing the game on PC. Sadly, for me the experience wasn’t as smooth as I would’ve want it to be, since at times, the game just stuttered without any apparent reason at all, costing me quite a few missions as I kept getting killed, and sometimes, it happened while I was driving, and I ended up crashing against the police quite a lot. If this would’ve have happened, I would’ve been happy with it, but it was really annoying, and happened quite often.
Besides that, sometimes Marcus simply decided it was too much for him and instead of jumping from one place to another, he simply decided to kill himself jumping to the ground. Poor Marcus was tired of all the shooting and hacking, I get it.
Watch Dogs 2 is a worthy successor to 2014’s game of the franchise, bringing some new concepts to the table and a whole new world to explore. I loved when I had to visit Alcatraz, and I felt like Lincoln and Scofield when I had to leave the place. I visited the always awesome Golden Gate, and a lot of different places that were really cool, at times I even got surprised like when I found a garden where everyone were naked, and when I took a selfie, they even posed for the photo, I have to admit, that was pretty awesome.
If you like third-person shooters, open world environments, and want to experience a good story, I definitely recommend playing this game, as it will cover all of your gaming needs for a few hours.