On the second day of E3, I went to the Ubisoft booth to play the game that made the most noise this year; Watch Dogs 2.
To be totally honest, the first game was really disappointing for me and so I took the PlayStation 4 Controller with much doubt and apprehension. I didn’t want to get my hopes up just to see them crash down in flames like with the first iteration of the series. I even told the developer that was with me about my so-called fears. Anyhow lets break this hacking down.
For those who didn’t already know, Watch Dogs 2 is set in the city of San Francisco and you play as Marcus Holloway; a young hacker from DedSecs. Your goal? To Prevent the new ctOS 2.0 to fall in the wrong hands while you try to clean your name from some false accusations that made you public enemy number one. The ctOS 2.0 system could be a big problem in a city as big as San Francisco since it can control nearly everything.
The demo starts with an easy mission; Marcus needs to hack a ctOS station to find a data base stocked in a guarded facility. The goal of the mission is to show off the liberties you have while playing. The player will have a better autonomy on what objectives he want to get first and how he want to tackle it; the game is not as linear as the first one. There are many co-op and solo side quests. A cool concept they changed was the online play as now you are not trying to take out other players, you play WITH them to hack the enemy. The game will be more social and more ”friendly”.
You could see the game as an open world where online users can help each others in four player co-op missions. A welcomed change! Another interesting fack would be that you can hack mostly everything; even cars. You can now throw gadgets to get control of a car until it goes out of the range of Marcus’s phone. The side quests can be discovered while hacking random people’s phones and finding clues on secret locations, strange meetings or anything that DedSec would find interesting.
Marcus now has a new ”special vision” in which he can see abnormal energy waves or ”hackable” things in the distance. They appears as red in the game. If, let’s say, you see electronics waves coming out of a big tower, with a red glow, you can deploy your drone to hack it from the air while Marcus stays on the ground, unsuspected. The drone (and many other hacking gadgets) have a 20 seconds cooldown but they are now reusable (that’s a big plus).
Once the tower is hacked, you can go get the information that DedSec want so much, then you would have to get a car and get out of there. Again, it’s easy with hacking! You can hack any car parked, or that is already on the road. Then, still in the demo, you can infiltrate the location either by brute force, or get the more stealthy approach. So you choose; Ak-47 or teaser gun, it’s up to you!
You now need to get out of there, If you want to do like me and escape unseen, I suggest the stealth approach again. Any path you chose will have locked doors that you can hack at a distance, like in the first game. You can now deploy your remote car (now equipped with a robotic arm) and hack the boxes without raising awareness of your presence. The car can now ”taunt” guards with the new »troll » functionality and while they are looking at it, you can go pass them.
Next you have to go get another data base but this time it heavily guarded, so I needed the help from a friend. One of the developer came to my game and so we could see what the co-op mode was all about.
Before we tackled our objective we went shopping to look better while attacking our enemies; a hacker needs to look fresh while hacking man! This time Marcus has many more option then Ethan in the first game. Not just slightly different trench coats. Each shop has its own style of clothing (which adds a bit of realism in the game) and yes, you can actually wear neon green Crocs. Nothing says ”biggest hacker in town” than green Crocs and a pink hoodie. With our new swag we went to get the information we needed. The demo then stopped. Short but sweet. By the way, once the game lunch, I would like to warn future gamers; try to take down the dogs first while playing. Using stunt cartridges of course. They are by far the most annoying enemies of the game; they can see (and smell) you from really far and they call out guards that will call out the cavalry. Bad time.
Is the demo enough to adequately judge the game? Nope. But we can see the potential. I can’t tell you that the game is 100% awesome and that the game will be a success at launch. The first game was looking really well at first but repetitions killed it. The new map is big, there are many side quest and the main character is not a cardboard cutout. The general ambiance is really interesting and the urban theme of San Francisco is great.
We should wait and see for official review before getting it but it looks promising. Easy for now but nearly every demos in E3 were easy. The one thing we need to keep in mind is that the game is letting you do what you want more easily. The freedom is there.
You can pre-order the game on their website now and the game is due to release November 15, 2016