Watchdogs 2 is my UBISOFT most anticipated title of the year, since there is - unfortunately - no Assassin's Creed coming. The predecessor, Watchdogs, was released in May, 2014 it was riding a huge hype wave. Fortunately it got a fairly positive reception. So can it get better? Is this one better?
The game is starting with the player logging into the system as "RetrO" - the main character. Difficulties to pick from are: Easy, Normal, Hard and Realistic. The game difficulty cannot be changed after starting a new game.
The fist mission is the tutorial mission. It shows RetrO breaking into a "ctOS" building. Here you get familiar with the controls. Those are straight forward and pretty standard. L3 to sprint, x to cover, R2 to climb, jump or vault over an object. O to melee attack. Cameras can be hacked with the square and so forth.
The first 10 minutes were very enjoyable. The cover system works smooth and goes around corners as it should be. Sneak attacks with melee are non leathal. Same with the gun that only puts enemies to sleep.
Like in the predecessor, you can hack other people's devices. Either directly or via a camera. You can get either money or a "Botnet Recharge". AI descriptions while hacking are normal like "Soccer fan" to amusing like that this person nudles (googles) "Penis Warts".
Some doors can only be opened by finding and eliminatig the power source. To do so, you need to "Profile Objects" with L1 and then follow the red line to the power source. With R3 you'll activate the NetHack feature. Once activated, you will see the enemies, hackable or accessible devices like cameras, laptops or electronic doors.
Some hackable objects offer more options. Next to the standard Trigger function (X on PS4), you can create a proximity trigger (square on PS4), shut it down (triangle) or attract people towards it (circle).
With those abilities RetrO should master the intro mission.
Once the "Nudle Maps App2 is installed on the phone the map can be accessed. It shows 4 big areas: Marin, Oakland, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. Little orange dots (shops, restaurants, kiosks) show even a shop at the isle of Alcatraz.
World & Activities:
Activity: Drone Races
Visit a Drone Race location to engage in a flying drone tryal on neon-lit tracks around San Francisco
Activity: Motocross Races
Visit a Motocross Race location to engage in off-road motocross trials in and around San Francisco
Activity: Sailboat Races
Visit a Sailboat Race location to engage in sailing competitions around San Francisco Bay
Activity: Motocross Races
Visit an eKart Race to engage in an electric car competitions against universities and tech companies.
Download ScoutX from the App Shop, take the best possible pictures with landmarks
There are 57 landmarks to make a selfie with. It's a nice activity to get to know the San Francisco area better and collect followers.
Purchase new vehicles and paint jobs for your private collection.
All purchases are available iin the Car on Demand app.
Bars, Coffee Shops and Restaurants are at the center of San Francisco's local life
Those are Fast Travel locations (when available)
Clothing Shops & Kiosks
Purchase and change Marcus' outfits.
Access all purchased clothes from any clothing shops or hackerspace HQ
Access the Premium Store.
Visit the Sailboats Shop to purchase sailboats which can be used in Sailboat Races.
Sell valuables for extra money
Buy ammonition for weapons
Valuables can be found as random loot, in vehicles, and in money bags.
Meet with DedSec teammates, use the 3D Printer to craft the Jumper and the Quadcopter, or to manage Marcus' weapons. Customize Marcus' outfits, RC devices and weapons. Use the couch to save progress, change time of day or remove heat.
The Phone and the Apps
Your phone is accessed with the options button. Here you can access the game options and the help system called "Know-It-All" - Which provides written game guides. Also, there is the camera to make cool selfies to upload to the ScoutX app.
Available Apps and costs:
Research APP - Story Related
This app is the skill tree and level up app for your abilities:
DedSec App - Story Related
Car on Demand - 5$
Tired of climbing San Francisco's hills? Order a ride from Car on Demand, the best app to get you around!
Driver SF - free
Become a driver in the City by the Bay. Get paid and gain followers for every ride you complete!
ScoutX - free
Explore the world around you with ScoutX! It's the favorite urban scouting application to find famous landmarks and earn followers!
Nudle Maps - free
Find your way around San Francisco with Nudle Maps, the smartest way to navigate the city without getting lost!
Media Player - 3$
Listen to music, create a playlist of your favorite songs or tune into local radio stations while on the go with the Media Player app!
Song Sneak - 4$
Identify music from your surroundings and add it to your collection in seconds with SongSneak. The fastest sond recognition app around!
Gallery - free
Gallery organizes your pictures and lets you manage them easily in a fast and simple way!
Director's Cut - 4$
Star in your own movies with Director's Cut, the app that lets you experience your life through a lens!
Driving initially felt a bit sluggish but that was because I wasn't used to the controls' reaction yet and also each car has a different drive feeling. Of course, how it should be in real life, a truck feels heavier on the road than a small car or a sports car. - The car gets dirty and damaged easily, which I like. It gets silly when keep crashing into things and the car looks as good as new. Not the case here.
Apart from driving, you can of course hack in the car and shoot. No Nethack in the car, so you can't drive around and discover interesting spots by car.
With the down button you can trigger various views:
First person (no car visible)
Behind the wheel (the inside of the car is slightly blurred, which I don't like)
Behind the car
Behind the car (zoomed out)
Story and Mission Setup
There are 3 types of missions: Main Operation (Main Story Mission), Side Operation and Online Operation (Multiplayer that require 1-2 players to solve)
Missions can be accessed through the Dedsec App on the phone or directly on the map.
The Main Operation is a drive down to memory road straight to the 80-ties with great humor and character. Knight Rider becomes "Cyber Driver", Michael Knight is "Devon Von Devon" and they also hosing the most famous celebrity "church"...
Side Operations have to be discovered on the map. Either you drive past a person that triggers an item on the map, or you find them with Nethack, showing an orange cloud, when one is near.
Online Operations are flagged as hard and that more than one player could be required. They grant a very high amount of followers at success.
Watch Dogs 2 is a thorough open world action adventure that will keep you busy for hours. Mission can be approached stealthy or streaming through with a big loud gun.
You have various possibilities to advance and upgrade your skills. You like sight seeing? Go do ScoutX that takes you sight seeing in San Francisco? Or are you more of a driver / racer? Try Driver:SF or competing at the various races on the map.
Dont buy when:
You are a member of mentioned celebrity "church" - you will be disappointed