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Monday, 28 November 2016 20:08

Impressions: Watch Dogs 2 – L337 Hax0rz GTA


Watch Dogs 2 is a good game. Its much maligned predecessor suffered from a significant investment of Ubisoft marketing dollars leading to a pre-release hype level that the end product could not meet.

For its second outing, Watch Dogs is now leaning heavily on what has become the Ubisoft open-world iconic structure.

We see elements here that we have seen in franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, The Crew, The Division and more. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if we saw an open-world Just Dance release in the near future.

Okay, there are no towers to climb to unveil new missions here, instead, in this digital age, missions — both story and side — are beamed into your mobile phone.

As Marcus Holloway you are a top cracker of computer systems, living on unknown means, you infiltrate the well-known underground hacker group DedSec whose sole aim seems to bring down big tech corporations that are selling your personal data.

The DedSec crew were bound to get on my nerves, I’m old, they’re cheeky and very full-of-themselves, and there is a real (for those that played it) Sunset Overdrive feel to the characters presented in Watch Dogs 2.

However, despite not really laughing at any of the jokes, the presentation of personalities, and the story (ludicrous as it is) is not too bad. Certainly, this second iteration of the franchise has kept my attention far longer than the first game.

Generally speaking, you need to pick the missions well, because successful missions, whether they consist of infiltrating a heavily guarded religious cult’s compound, or racing eKarts around a very well (but a slightly too clean) realised San Fran, means followers.

Followers means a better BotNet, a better BotNet means more hacking options and that means great success.

Dishonored 2 is the better sneaking simulator. Watch Dogs 2, however, can be a lot of fun once the skill tree begins to be unlocked.

The developers have put a great deal of side content into the game, listening in on phone calls, or text chats is entertaining, and hacking security-camera systems to set up traps for guards is enjoyable.

What is not enjoyable, if you are playing Watch Dogs like a Splinter Cell game, that is, as much stealth as possible, is when you are located by the AI, because of a mistake. You can escape, or fight your way out, but usually it is reload time.

Typically, however, you can avoid this, and at times watch the AI do some whacky things. My favourites are, climbing over open doors, or when you call the cops in on a false report you have laid on someone, watch the rather clumsy, violent fun that can ensue over a slight misdirection in the walking path.

At the time of writing, the “seemless” online play was not working too well. But getting invaded by another player, or trying to tee-up some co-op action is really only a distraction from the relatively good fun of the single player game of Watch Dogs 2.


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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