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Watchdogs 2 Review (Xbox One)

Watchdogs was one of the early titles in the life of the Xbox One and was alright I guess. I enjoyed it, even if it was a bit tedious. Others weren’t so forgiving. So how does the second title in Ubisoft’s hacker title fare?

Well, with its new main protagonist it takes itself far less serious this time around but still has its fair share if ‘interesting’ quirks. So grab your smart phone, make sure you have a decent firewall and lets go exploring the beautiful city of San Francisco.

Our old mate Aiden, along with his trench coat, has taken a back seat to our new main man, Marcus. With a love of dogs (well at least in my game) and a much more diverse dress sense, Marcus is our latest up and coming hacker to be recruited by Dedsec, the covert group of hackers determined to take down ‘the man’. And with life becoming more reliant on technology and almost the entire city wired to the net, it makes it very easy for those who want to mess with the powers that be. The thing is, even every day citizens can be targeted using their latest gadget, so transferring money from peoples bank accounts to your own is an easy way to make some money. Got to keep that wardrobe up to date some how.For a group of underground hackers, Dedsec sure have access to a decent array of firepower. This is the biggest problem I have with Watchdogs 2. While playing Aiden in Watchdogs had you in a more dark, direct action role, playing Marcus has a much more tree hugging, won’t hurt a fly feeling to it. So going on a mission armed with rocket launchers and assault rifles seems really weird. At this point it actually feels a lot like GTA or Saints Row. It all works well but just doesn’t fit the characters at all. Now that I have mentioned GTA, I may as well say that Watchdogs 2 has an  overall look and feel much closer to GTA that the original Watchdogs.

Technically Watchdogs 2 is excellent. Visually it is colourful and detailed with plenty of great San Francisco landmarks to visit and take a selfie with. And the soundtrack is varied enough to keep everyone happy. Some of the phone conversations you hack into on the street do start to get a bit repetitive  though. Load times are pretty painful on occasions, especially if you are continually dying or failing to get an objective, I’m looking at you eKart racing! The ability to slip the cops by jumping in the harbour and swimming to boat or hiding under the pier is a bit lame too. Then again it is balanced with the relentlessness of pursuits on land I guess.The hacking itself is fairly straight forward, even monotonous at times. One of the biggest frustrations can actually be finding the hard point to hack in to. Having both a drone and RC ‘jumper’ car (that little messenger bag of Marcus’s carries a LOT!) makes finding things easier but needing to physically get to some points doesn’t become easier just because you know where you want to be, and hijacking a scissor lift isn’t always the answer…

Closing Comments.

I’m still enjoying Watchdogs 2, but it is a game with a bit of a personality disorder. One minute you are cruising around all inconspicuous, hacking technology to your benefit being an otherwise nice guy, but then with the aid of a 3D printer you are toting a grenade launcher and destroying the very civilisation you are trying to save. Either way it is a big game and you can veer of the righteous path every now an then to indulge your destructive side without upsetting the balance too badly. And don’t forget to show all the dogs in the game some love, after all you are there to watch dogs right?