Backlog To The Future is a new series in which I have decided to go into my slightly chaotic backlog and write about either why I want to finish it again, why I didn’t finish it before or why I still haven’t touched it. If I haven’t touched it I will play it and then talk about my feelings on why I perhaps didn’t jump into it right away and either confirm my thoughts or maybe even discover a new favourite. Today’s game is Watch Dogs 2, a game that I never seem to be able to finish.
Watch Dogs 2 is an open-world game similar to the likes of Grand Theft Auto and the Saints Row Series. The unique twist with the Watch Dogs series is the ability to hack many different things in a world run by the CTos system, a system that monitors everyone 24/7 and is installed on most electrical devices. In the second game, you are Marcus, a man who is fed up of the system and wants change, like all in the Dedsec hacking group. While setup of the story is fantastic, I often didn’t enjoy the theme of this one as much as I did Watch Dogs 1, it isn’t bad at all it’s just the humour and theme didn’t hook me in. I didn’t ever feel connected to the characters due to my preferences but I do love the overarching story-line of the corrupt companies using tech and commercialism to control everything.
The gameplay is where I just keep losing interest in it, while some features are fantastic, some of the main ones are severely flawed for me and it makes me lose interest. I’ll start with the positives.
Hacking the Watch Dogs Universe is fun, the way you can take on each mission, each hideout and the side missions is really fun, it gives the player so many choices, stealth it, use tech, go in loud or even call the cops and other gangs to do it for you by causing all-out war. The side missions are varied and there are plenty of activities to do and the online side with the hacking other players, hunting them down is a breath of fresh air from doing just main missions. The world feels truly alive, each person has a unique name, job and income and it makes you feel like each individual in this Universe has personality. Some of the stuff you’ll see just adds to that living World feel, from little arguments about what direction the couple were supposed to make to a dance group messing around in an alley in the poorer parts of San Francisco, I loved it.
Now the bad, it’s two main points that kill it for me, unfortunately, the shooting and the driving. The driving in these games I feel needs to be fun, weighty and due to spending so much time in them, it needs to be good. Watch Dogs 2’s driving mechanics never really improved on the first games, it feels floaty, like the car barely has any reactions and most of the time you’re driving on ice and it just becomes a chore. In GTA 5 mastering the driving is the fun part and it feels so satisfying, going from point A to B is a pleasure in those games but in Watch Dogs 2, I just get bored, unfortunately. The gunplay and shooting now, I watched a review years back and they mentioned how in the story there is no mention of you ever killing to get the job done, Dedsec in San Francisco aren’t killers, they’re just hackers wanting to be the good guys and show everybody the truth. When you’re introduced to weapons you do see this through-out, you’re the good guys trying to gain followers so that the people question the wrong-doings of the companies using these predatory tactics to get richer. Not once does it say go kill them, go kill these and honestly it feels quite dumb to be told Marcus is the good guy but I’ve just killed some innocent security firm for a script but wait I’m the good guy the ones using tech to get rich are bad. While some will say I’m nitpicking, to me it makes sense and using weapons feels a bit wrong. Sadly though even if you don’t care about that and using guns is your thing, the combat just holds no weight to it, it isn’t satisfying and often feels a bit rushed. I feel bad for talking bad about these features but truly it’s the one thing that makes me get a bit bored halfway through and ends up back in the backlog of shame.
Watch Dogs 2 is not a bad game, it looks beautiful and feels like they truly listened to the complaints of the first game and they impressed many in doing so. What Ubisoft has set up, in my opinion, is a good series and I do want to see more of it. Personally, after the Watch Dogs 3 videos, I can’t wait, it looks like they’re trying to make this series hold its own and not get compared to everything else out there with its unique NPC hiring system and whatnot. Though I do hope the improvements to the car handling and gun-play are improved. I do often enjoy browsing the world of Watch Dogs 2 but I’m afraid this is going back on the shelf again as I always hit that brick-wall of not wanting to go on. If you enjoy open-worlds and can get used to the game-play mechanics then I can’t recommend it enough, if you’re a bit nit-picky like me then this might not be for you. If I had to give it a review score I’d give it a 6/10, I admire what they’ve done but for me, it needs more polish.