Over the past week I’ve been playing with the newly released Watch_Dogs 2. I’m one of the few people who actually enjoyed the first game despite the controversy about it being overhyped and having misleading promotions. I didn’t have high expectations for the original Watch_Dogs, so maybe that could explain why I enjoyed it. Unlike many people, I wasn’t overly exposed to the trailers and behind-the-scenes videos on it. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the game, it still had issues that could have been improved. Now, here we are a couple of years later and we have the second game. I’ll be giving my own thoughts and impressions on a couple of things that Watch_Dogs 2 did right, and other things that it could have improved.
I’ll start off with the positive aspects.
Driving: One vast improvement that Ubisoft did was redoing the driving mechanics and physics. Driving in the first game was a pain in the butt! Missions that focused on driving were the most challenging that I had encountered in the game, and they weren’t challenging in a good way but in a irritating and loathing way. It felt like you were driving on a road that’s covered in ice. Watch_Dogs 2 definitely has better controls with the vehicles. Everything is smooth to handle. One little drawback to the driving in this game is that some cars are really slow to drive with.
Stealth: The game focuses more on stealth this time around. There are more hacking abilities and different devices, such as the RC Jumper and Quadcopter, that helps bring variety in the missions. A common complaint that the first game had was that players could carry many weapons and use them anytime they wanted to, which led to the hacking abilities on being useless to them. Watch_Dogs 2 allows players to only hold 2 weapons instead of 20+ weapons. While this layout is drastically different, it does make players think and make them plan out a strategy on different situations.
Characters and Environment: Watch_Dogs 2 not only has more characters, but they’re more vibrant and unique than the ones from the first game. Ubisoft made a complete turnaround by taking this game into a more fun and bizarre route than continuing the serious tone that the first Watch_Dogs had. Not only are the characters more enjoyable to be with, but the city is more lively than ever. Marcus Holloway, the main protagonist of Watch_Dogs 2, can interact with the NPCs in several ways. In the first game, the player had the option of going around the city and locating tourist attractions and “check-in”, which was kinda lame and didn’t felt rewarding. This feature was modified in the second game by allowing players to take a selfie. Sometimes cool or weird things happen during the selfies. A good example is that if NPCs are in the camera shot, they can actually photobomb you (it’s even considered an achievement/trophy if that ever happens)! While these features does not greatly improve gameplay, it definitely gives a more charismatic atmosphere that the first Watch_Dogs lacked.
Now onto the bad aspects.
Story: The storyline for this game is pretty straight forward. Marcus gets recruited into the hacker group known as DedSec. They try to take down the Blume Corporation, along with its CtOS. The issue with the story is how it’s presented. In the game, players have the choice on choosing which mission they want to conduct. In many instances, there are several main story missions that appear before the player, and that kind of disrupts the narrative timeline on the events that occur. The first game was more linear with the story missions. While the story in the original Watch_Dogs was lackluster, the players would still see how the story unfolded with the linear missions. Watch_Dogs 2 provides more leeway on how players want to play the game, which is great, but it definitely affects the presentation on the storyline. I haven’t finished the game’s storyline, but I’m honestly confused on where I am. Hopefully Ubisoft fixes this in the next sequel. That is if there is another game coming out later on.
Shooting and Weapons: The shooting mechanics are a bit iffy. Since the focus is more on stealth and hacking, I think Ubisoft didn’t put much emphasis on the weapons. The aiming can sometimes be a challenge to control, especially when you’re dealing with enemy fire. As I mentioned earlier, the game allows players to only hold 2 weapons. Frankly, I think that’s not enough weapons for a game like this. The maximum amount of weapons should have been 5.
Artificial Intelligence : Somehow the A.I. in this game is worse compared to the one in the first game. Enemies walk in areas that have no solid meshes. Sometimes whenever I’m spotted by a group of enemies, they seem to just hide out from my sights. Other times the enemies just stand still while I’m shooting them. During car chases, I will try to outrun the cops and appear to have escaped successfully, but then the cops suddenly appear and stay on my tail for an extended amount of time. While the actions that the A.I. does can result in final things, it sometimes ruins the experience of the gameplay.
While Watch_Dogs 2 does improve a couple of things, it still has flaws that can be disrupting to some players. If you enjoyed the first Watch_Dogs, or like playing open world games, then you should check out this game. However, if you disliked the first game, then I would recommend on avoiding this game, or get when it is on discount. Anybody else played Watch_Dogs 2? What are your thoughts?
NOTE: I never mentioned the multiplayer/co-op aspect of the game and for good reason. The online component of the game has been having issues, and some players have reported that it disrupts their offline gameplay. In addition, none of my friends have gotten the game, so I can’t really play co-op with anyone else, and I don’t really care about since I’m more of a single-player kind of guy. But if you want to see what co-op looks like, check out this video!