Preview: Watch Dogs 2
5 Oct 2016   Home » Previews » Preview: Watch Dogs 2 Share

Preview: Watch Dogs 2

Marcus comes with a whole bag o' tricks.

There’s a big fuss made about Watch Dogs 2’s new style and robust hacking tools, but that pales to its sense of humour.

Getting two hours of hands-on time ahead of EB Expo, Stevivor was let loose in San Francisco to do as we pleased. I opted to first explore DedSec HQ. Conveniently located in the Castro district (LGBTQI, represent!), the headquarters of San Francisco’s digital warriors is accessed via a secret entrance at the back of a tabletop games shop. An underground playground, Marcus and his allies look like they truly hack in style – my first stop was to DedSec’s 3D printer to fabricate a new stun gun.

I want one. If that can’t be arranged, I’d settle for the Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon arcade machine at the back of the joint.

[Please note: Do not adjust your video player of choice; sound unfortunately didn’t flow into our gameplay capture. Good thing we had subtitles turned on, eh?]

After that, I almost lost my mind. I took Marcus to a nearby ally – a man with an LED-laden facemask that emoted through digital eyes and a modulated his voice to presumably protect his identity. I’ll admit it – the dude intimidated me. I wasn’t expecting Marcus to pretty much instantaneously launch into a conversation that could only be called Star Wars’ fanboy’s dream. Yoda. Skywalker. Lando Calrissian. Chewbacca and a weird diversion into a rather creepy porn genre.

I laughed so hard, developers from both Ubisoft Toronto and Ubisoft Montreal came to see if I was okay. Marcus has as much of a personality as San Francisco itself does.

While the original Watch Dogs promised much and delivered nothing but a bland knock-off, Ubisoft’s really listened to feedback to make things fleshed-out and awesome. A subsequent encounter with my new friend had Marcus questioning his relationships with electronics. Bright, neon flourishes litter DedSec’s environments and the apps they use. Hell, the objective of the damn game is to do stupid sh*t like take selfies with Castro Drag Queens in an attempt to gain more followers.

[Please note: Do not adjust your video player of choice; sound unfortunately didn’t flow into our gameplay capture. Good thing we had subtitles turned on, eh?]

Watch Dogs 2 might have lofty, heavy goals, but it’s achieving them with style. That rings true when playing story missions. In my playthrough, I started up “Haum Sweet Haum” and used Marcus’ two drones to infiltrate a facility to steal a truck. There seemed a million ways to do it – run in with guns blazing, hover from above to hack into the truck and drive it remotely, or use electronic hacking grenades to lure baddies out of the hotzone. Far more creative types than me could devise even more plans, I’m sure.

That whole laid-back nature extends into multiplayer offerings. Bounty Hunt, the game’s newest multiplayer mode, isn’t a one note game of cat and mouse like in the original. Instead, you basically want to be found, causing havoc in an effort to bring up your wanted level. With risk comes reward; you want to put yourself out there in order to increase your returns.

Thankfully, Marcus makes great use of the numerous tools at his disposal. In addition to the drones, quick hacks are great for clearing cars out of your way (they always pull to the right, FYI). Group hacks can also be employed on both cars and personal phones – cars on the road will go haywire, causing chaos and potentially eliminating those after you; group phone hacks cause group paranoia — those around you will freak out, becoming quite agitated. It’s neat to pull off the group hacks, and it’s great to take advantage of the circus that soon follows.

Creativity will go a long way in Watch Dogs 2, and I’m looking forward to hearing stories of how friends choose to tackle situations.

Look for Watch Dogs 2 from 15 November on Xbox One, PS4 and Windows PC.

Steve Wright

Steve Wright

Steve's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, freelance journalist, owner of this very site, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally.