Ubisoft had quite the bizarre little setup for Watch Dogs 2 at the EB Games Expo this year. With the game being scheduled for release on the November 15th I was expecting something playable to give people a real idea on what the new title is going to be like and how it’s differing from the original, considering the lukewarm reaction of the gaming community to Watch Dog’s launch.
Instead of something we could actually play, Luke and myself sat down with a bunch of other people, media and public alike, in a small sealed off room to watch one of the developers; who had been shipped over from Canada, play the game in front of us. It was running on standard PS4 hardware, which is great to know so we’re looking at what is very close to a finished version; but that just made the fact that we couldn’t play it seem even more bizarre.
That being said, I actually really enjoyed the original Watch Dogs. I didn’t buy into the hype and I found it pretty much exactly what I was expecting. My take away was it needed a far better narrative and could have stood to take itself a little less seriously… which is exactly what Ubisoft appear to have done with Watch Dogs 2! The game seems a bit more light-hearted and reverent, the protagonist’s motivations are something that could easily effect any one of us and line up far better with the world than the cliché “Death of a family member” motivation that was used previously.
The game introduces a ton of new mechanics including drones that are used to gain better vantage points, plan your angle of attack and solve puzzles. These, from what we saw, seemed quite core to how the game is going to play out, which I’m perfectly happy with. Being able to fly around an enemy installation; monitor their locations and movements remotely before making your move. Just using the drones to set up traps and ambushes seems super satisfying and fun!
The other major mechanic addition that we were shown was the ability to not only hack information from people, but to hack it on to them; players will be able to pin a crime or other event to a random citizen to have the police swoop in to arrest them or maybe a crime family raid the area to take them out. In the example we saw, this was perfect for creating a distraction from you and adding a whole other level of planning and methodology to how players can approach a situation.
I’m looking forward to Watch Dogs 2. I’m a natural cynic and nothing about it made me go “YES ALL OF THIS ALL THE TIME “, but I’m optimistic. Ubisoft seem to have really taken on board their critiques from recent years and have expanded on the world of Watch Dogs exactly how people wanted. Hopefully this will be the game that can live up to the hype.