WHEN Watch Dogs came out in 2014, it was known to adapt Grand Theft Auto’s open world, Assassin’s Creed movement and modern world technology. However, the game fell short as main character Aiden Pearce was boring and the tone of the game was too dreadful.
Now, Watch Dogs 2 is out to improve things — the core gameplay from the first game, but with an all new cast.
Marcus Holloway replaces the previous protagonist and he is no loner. With a close crew comprising Sitara, Wrench, Josh and Horatio, they call themselves DedSec.
Together, this hacker group fights for privacy and justice against the likes of FBI and social network companies.
Already, the game’s upbeat tone is a vast improvement. While there are some serious issues tackled, you won’t be too bored as you progress through the story.
The cast is also fun as the game fully embraces geek culture — your headquarters, for example, is underneath a comic book store.
It won’t take long before you warm up to the characters. This sense of camaraderie showcases some of the game’s best writing especially with your character’s cheeky nature.
True to the open world platform, the game lets you do what you want.
Using your hacking abilities, a lot of the environments can be manipulated.
For example, you can make cars on the road turn a certain way or cause two rival gangs to fight. Yet, the missions’ duration is a problem as each mission feels like it takes mere minutes to complete. The game’s design forces you to go through repetitive patterns.
In order to broaden your abilities, you need to collect Research Points and Key Data, which you use to work your way through a skill tree that branches off depending on your playing style.
Alternatively, you can diversify your skill as the story mode gives you enough points to do so. There are even useful tools such as a remote control car to go through vents and a drone for scouting environments.
Given the game’s jovial tone, it feels odd to shoot guns. This is where the game falters because the mechanics make stealth difficult.
With enemies that range from too smart to incredibly dumb, there are endless ways for you to be discovered. When that happens, they become more alert and it will eventually turn into a gunfight.
The main character — a morally stable guy — and armed combat does not gel at all.
It begs the question of why such a talented hacker needs to resort to firearms when he can do great feats from behind a computer.
And after slaughtering so many, it feels weird to see him joking around with his mates in the base.
Watch Dogs 2 could have been a better game if it forces players to only use their hacking skills. Without the combat, it could provide a fresh game mechanic that is different from other combat games.
Multiplayer mode seems problematic as when the game launched, it was turned off. Now that it finally works, the transition from single player to an online playing field is seamless.
You will have fun trying to hack other players without being noticed or pursue participants on the run.
One common issue that pops up is the slowdown in framerate. It can be quite bad, causing lag in visuals and unjustified deaths.
Still, the game is definitely a step up and beyond compared to its predecessor.
The beautiful world makes you want to explore more and the characters are lovable thanks to their unique personalities.
But the inclusion the combat mechanic is jarring as it contradicts tone of the game. Despite that, it is still an entertaining game to spend hours on.