“A Millennial’s wet dream”
Following up on the moderate success of Watch Dogs, developer Ubisoft Montreal, and publisher Ubisoft released the sequel Watch Dogs 2 in 2016 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Gone was Aiden, and replaced by Marcus Holloway a hacker based in San Francisco. I enjoyed the original Watch Dogs, but Watch Dogs 2 put together a terrible cast of characters that ruined what could have been a solid second step in an up and coming franchise. What else could Watch Dogs 2 improved and were there any good qualities?
The original Watch Dogs focused on Aiden, a veteran in the bank-robbing business as a hacker. He gets mixed up with a few other hackers and has his niece kidnapped in a story where he must fight and hack his way to rescue her. It was dark, mature, and kept me playing to see what would happen to Aiden on his quest for revenge. The pacing was adequate and the characters were interesting and kept my interest in what would happen to each of them.
Ubisoft decided to throw all of that out and introduce us to a cast of very wimpy, pathetic, and cringe induced moments with their conversations between each other. The characters they created are the people that are extremely mentally weak, offended by everything, and claim that everything is “problematic”. In short, the cast is Millennials, which is bad enough but these Millennials are angry and upset at the “man” and politicians so they do what they do best! They use their phones for revenge!
All of this takes place in San Francisco, a very fun city to explore but I didn’t see any of the homeless population or doped up subway stations filled with human feces that I’ve read about and watched on various news stories. Come on Ubisoft, commit to making the game realistic!
Anyway, the game takes place a year after the events of the first game. San Francisco has been chosen to be the next city to install ctOS which is an operating system that is quite intrusive to everyone that connects all devices together. Our protagonist is Marcus, who has been accused of a crime he did not commit from the ctOS system. Realizing that this system probably isn’t perfect, he teams up with a few other hackers that have formed a group called DeadSec. Let’s take a look at these…unique characters.
Marcus – He’s about the only character that I liked. He does all the dirty work for the crew and has a strong sense of getting stuff done. I can at least admire him for his hard work.
Sitara – Her parents are from India and she just wanted to be an artist but instead she takes her terrible fashion sense and begins the DeadSec blog and creates the logo for the team. She is also a DJ on the side. Rolls Eyes
Wrench – He’s the worst character out of the whole group. He’s so mentally weak that he hides behind a mask that he bought from Hot Topic because real people scare him and he can’t handle the real world. He comes off as that kid from school that tries so hard to be cool but yet no one likes them.
Horatio – Cool name, and an okay guy. I don’t mind him as he appears to be one of the more “normal” hackers of DeadSec. Too bad for Horatio, he gets stabbed to death in the mission Eye For An Eye.
Josh – He’s quiet, weird, and very socially awkward. So much that they reveal that he has Asperger’s Syndrome.
These characters just seem like the developers pictured what liberal Millennials look like and created them making it a dream come true for these people to play as themselves as they take down the man.
Okay for the actual story, once Marcus joins this crew they decide that they need to take down the company that created ctOS (Blume) by hacking into their servers and recruiting more hackers to join their cause through social media. The gang takes a break and hides in the desert at a festival where they meet “T-Bone”, yes that T-Bone from the first game. With help from T-Bone, they continue hacking into Blume servers and expose police officers and politicians who have become corrupt.
DeadSec discovers that Blume is trying to manipulate the entire world’s finances and create a monopoly in which Blume runs every single electronic data for every person. Marcus decides to take matters into his own hands and infiltrates a Blume office, hack into the system and turn over all the crimes to the police. In the end, Blume goes under investigation from the police putting an end to their plot for world domination.
While Watch Dogs 2 completely changed the cast and tone of the story, they, fortunately, didn’t change too much when it came to gameplay. I liked the first Watch Dogs and was happy to see that many of the elements that made it fun were included in the second game. The world is still very open and explorable with tons of little hidden content to find. You’ll still be able to hack just about every electronic device and if you so desire you can still go on a rampage shooting up the streets of San Fran, although they shoot up plenty there, just in a different way.
Marcus can swim and apparently is an avid parkour enthusiast as he can hop and crawl up small objects. When Marcus isn’t running about the city he can hang out at DeadSec headquarters. I tried to stay away from that place as much as I could so I didn’t have to interact with the lame cast but I did enjoy the 3D printer. You can print out guns and other cool things that will help aid Marcus for a price. Perhaps the best upgrade is the fact that Marcus has numerous gadgets at his disposal including a remote-controlled car and a quadcopter.
Unfortunately, because of how much I hated the cast of characters, the overall theme and tone of the game, and the objectives like “increasing your follower count” on social media, I just was turned off by this whole experience. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I’m sure there are tons of people out there that loved everything about Watch Dogs 2, and that’s great for them but for me, I never connected to it and it was disappointing after enjoying the first game.
I played this game a few times with my wife who enjoyed causing trouble. She’d free roam around and become a serial killer on the beach hunting hippies and party-goers who were cozying up around a fire. She became a sort of a mystical killer who hid in the shadows and stalked her prey when they least expected it.
I assure you most days she is quite pleasant in real life, but it was fun to watch her cause chaos when she played.
Watch Dogs 2 was a critical step in making the Watch Dogs series a respected franchise but Ubisoft swung and miss. Its overall theme and tone are directed at angry Millenials who want to stick it to the man through social media. The weak cast of characters and the poor story would have been better made for a DLC spin-off than a full game. There are still plenty of elements of good gameplay in Watch Dogs 2 but the cringy cast makes it hard to enjoy.
Watch Dogs 2 scores a 5 out of 10.
Do you remember when Watch Dogs 2 first came out? Did you hate it or did you love it? What did you think of the cast of characters? What was something that Watch Dogs 2 did better than the first? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments.
If you’d like to own a copy of Watch Dogs 2, you can purchase a used copy of it for the PS4 for over $15 on eBay.