If you've ever wondered what it'd be like to be amongst the most successful hackers in the world, you can now slot right into that role without having to pay the price in real-life jail time, with the release of Watch Dogs 2. Now, we've held off a little bit to post our review and are coming to you later than most if not all other game reviewers, but that's because we wanted to review the game when it was out and available in its entirety - kinks ironed out and full seamless online mode activated. Now that all of that seems to be in working order, we've been able to take a PROPER look at Watch Dogs 2 and exactly what Ubisoft were hoping to present to gamers upon official launch.
Taking place in the Bay Area, there's a colourful and imaginative selection of locations to traverse throughout your journey in the game, with hundreds of NPCs all given their own hackable identities and the character you're playing - Marcus Holloway - given a relatable and charismatic personality. The team behind this title obviously listened to the critiques the first game got, leaving former protagonist Aiden Pearce - a boring and bland man - back in Chicago where he belongs.
An enticing and addictive 30-hour-or-so storyline means that you'll be playing throughout the campaign until you've reached its end right away. Don't let the brilliant writing here detract from your experience with multiplayer, however, as that's also something you should be checking out.
Whilst multiplayer missions are quite repetitive for the most-part and the difficulty level could be cranked up a notch to ensure a tenser atmosphere and logic-needed approach, there's still a brilliant feeling you get from running around the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and various other places of interest with your real-life friends - despite you both playing the same character. More customisation for your character would have been beneficial here - you can change the clothes Marcus is wearing, but when comparing this title to the likes of Grand Theft Auto V where you can pick your gender, facial structure and the like, it feels a little lacking. Saying that, it's always a good thing to see a black man as the lead in a video game. Something that still isn't common enough in the industry.
Seamless multiplayer is an exciting aspect now that everything is working the way it should be. Within a moment's notice another player from anywhere in the world could pop up in your area and try to hack information from your character. You'll then be given the chance to hunt them down and kill them in an allotted time, in a bid to earn more followers for your hacking group, DedSec. You don't really lose anything from not catching the hacker, which is a good thing when you're the one trying to rip information from another unfortunate soul online, but that doesn't mean as a player you'll be any less annoyed if your adversary manages to escape with your data.
Whether it's just me or this is the experience for everybody who picks up a copy of this game, but the charm of hacking vehicles and sending them flying into walls, hacking into cranes and swinging them around the city and generally just causing chaos never really lets up. Though you're able to print out a variety of different weapons using the 3D printer at DedSec's headquarters, the game is most enjoyable when you use your logic and skill to traverse your way through missions, stunning enemies if necessary but trying to make it by without leaving too many bodies behind.
The open world in which Watch Dogs 2 takes place is the best I've ever been a part of, bar none. It's fun and vibrant and full of life. There is plenty of things to do and it feels like a real, breathing city. Though some sections of the city are missing which could upset the real-life locals who live there, the game still manages to impress. The graphics here are absolutely beautiful.
Though it's not without its faults, this is a game that still manages to tick a lot of boxes. With a hugely-saturated video game market right now, it's hard to pick and choose which games deserve your attention - we'd say this is one of those that should eventually end up on your shelf.
Watch Dogs 2 is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.