Preview

Watch Dogs 2

Initial Impressions – Review Coming Soon
by Elise Favis on Nov 14, 2016 at 04:00 PM
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Release:
Rating: Rating Pending
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

Watch Dogs 2 is out tomorrow, and you may be wondering where our review is. Unfortunately, after encountering a game-breaking bug that has halted our progress, our review has been postponed, but it will be posted in the next few days.

While I haven't yet completed the game, I have some impressions to share. For the most part, Watch Dogs 2 builds on much of what lacked in the first game. Hacking is less surface-level than it was in the original, giving a more playground vibe in terms of your abilities. Two of the best additions are your drone and tiny remote-control car, which can access high or tight areas that you can't by foot. Shooting mechanics handle well and are similar to the first game, though stealth continues to be fundamentally more entertaining because of its emphasis on hacking.

Side quests are substantial, fun distractions from the main missions, such as a quest where you have to solve environmental puzzles by finding your way up tall ledges and rooftops in order to make your mark in graffiti. San Francisco is teeming with things to do, such as races with sailboats, drones, and karts. The city itself is vibrant, colorful, and a joy to explore, and overheard dialogue as well as profiling random civilians is amusing.

Watch Dogs 2 has a seamless online experience, meaning you can meet other players in your game and play through co-op missions with a friend or someone you encounter in-game. However, Ubisoft took multiplayer offline because of lag and crashes, meaning that I haven't had as much time as I had hoped to form a well founded opinion on it.

Ubisoft is confident the issue will be fixed by launch, but as of right now the problem persists. Hacking invasions return, meaning that other players can hack into your game and you have to stop their attempts at stealing your data. While these moments can be fun since other players can use hacks against you too, you are forced into this mode when it initiates, and can't exit out of it until it's completed. You're unable to start other missions while this occurs, which hinders the experience if you didn't want to be part of a hacking invasion to begin with. You can, however, opt out of seamless online in the settings, such as turning specific modes on or off.

Watch Dogs 2 also has some big flaws. A game-breaking bug like the one I encountered is a major problem, with the only option being to restart the game entirely, since Watch Dogs 2 does not give you the option to manually save or have more than one save at a time. To have an issue like this at launch is far from a good sign, and one that I found incredibly frustrating. I also saw framerate drops on the PlayStation 4, which can make driving an especially jarring experience when it dips. As for the story, Watch Dogs 2 leaves much to be desired, with a cast of unlikeable characters that seem more concerned about popularity than they do hactivism.

Marcus Holloway is a step up from the empty personality of Aiden Pierce, but he still doesn't feel well-rounded. As someone who was unjustly profiled as a criminal by the ctOS system, Marcus takes on the daunting task of shutting down the ctOS altogether. Although his motivations are meant to be noble, his choices are often too juvenile and delinquent to take seriously.

Stay tuned for our full review, and in the meantime, you can find out what this sequel is attempting to do differently this time around.