PS4 Review: Watch Dogs 2

Can San Francisco improve upon Chicago?

Despite a somewhat lacklustre lead character, I really enjoyed the original Watch Dogs. I loved the overall gameplay, but also the humour that was woven into the game, watching groups just tear into each other and taking out a bunch of enemies without actually firing a bullet was something special, but can the sequel up the ante?
You play as Marcus Holloway, the newest recruit to hacker group Dedsec, which is determined to bring down ct0S 2.0, the main operating system used for everything in San Francisco, as well as other cities. Chicago proved that the original ct02 program was vulnerable to attacks, but the 2.0 seems harder to crack…or is it?

If you played the original, you’ll feel like you never left…with the exception of some new hack exploits and gadgets at your disposal, it’s very similar to the original…except Marcus is a much more likeable character than Aiden was, but I like how they didn’t completely ignore his character and he even makes a small cameo for the sequel. The open world of San Francisco is much brighter and full of life than Chicago was, plus it’s pretty big…luckily you can fast-travel to most locations through the game’s menu, which is set up as a smartphone.
How you complete missions is really up to you, you can decide to go in guns blazing and risk getting mowed down…or you can scan the area for enemies, hack objects to knock out or blow up enemies, or even better…send the police or rival gangs to the area to arrest or kill a fake target that you’ve assigned…which usually ends up in a huge gun battle between the two factions, giving you the chance to sneak through and grab what you need.

The game has an online element to it, for instance you will sometimes randomly be hacked by random players who have hidden to avoid detection, much like the original…but there’s also modes where you work together to download data from a enemy outpost or even one where you work with the police to take out a high-value player who has a 4 or 5 wanted level. San Francisco also is home to collectables, side missions and races for karts, bikes, drones and boats.

On the whole, the game may seem similar to the original…but it’s improved in every conceivable way. Watch Dogs 2 also takes use of the PS4 Pro, which makes it look truly special…which it already did before…I mean, sure it doesn’t support HDR, but it looks amazing in 4K. The character models are amazing and the game suffers no framerate issues, the only thing I noticed was the odd glitch where a NPC was floating in mid-air while talking to another NPC, but other than that…it’s solid in terms of performance.

The Verdict

I wondered if they’d be able to top the original Watch Dogs, but I can safely say that they have done just that. Watch Dogs 2 surpasses the original with it’s improved setting, characters, story and activities. Even if for some crazy reason you weren’t a fan of the original, you still need to add this to your collection.

Score: 9.3