20 minutes of open-world Watch Dogs 2 gameplay show a much improved sequel

3 min read


I’m one of the seemingly few people who actually enjoyed the first Watch Dogs, and that’s largely in spite of the game itself. Its protagonist had the personality of prefabricated melamine kitchen cabinet, it had a story that didn’t really seem to go anywhere, and its much touted hacking was effectively reduced to contextually pressing a button or two.

Watch Dogs 2 is coming soon, and it’s supposed to be everything the first game wasn’t. For starters, it has an exciting new protagonist who isn’t the same old cookie cutter, middle-aged white guy with a gruff and gravelly voice. It also takes a look at counter-culture, featuring a young, black hacker named Marcus Holloway who joins hacktivist group Dedsec in an attempt to upset the status quo.

With more focus on stealth and hacking this time around, players will have to use their wits to tackle the game’s myriad missions in ways that Aiden Pierce could only dream of.

Here’s what we said of the game when we got to try it at E3:

“Marcus though is a lot more capable with an overly powerful smartphone and laptop, and it’s here where Watch Dogs 2 instantly grabbed my attention. For all the complaints of the first title forgetting itself too quickly, Watch Dogs 2 seems to be making up for it with a robust and well explored version of its aggressive hacking. No more was it restricted to simple on/off functionality. Using nothing more than line of sight, I was able to remote control cars, forklifts, traffic signals and civilian phones with finesse and precision.

It’s not just a simple button tap anymore either. Watch Dogs 2 wants to make you feel like you’re in control, and a new interface for these hacking abilities does just that. Holding down L1 brought up a contextual menu for each of my dubious deeds, offering up to a maximum of four options with regards to the object I was attempting to control. With a nearby car, this meant accelerating it forwards of backwards, or outright leading the police off a wild goose chase with a series of sharp, remotely controlled swerves and turns.

This level of hacking control only amplified the closer I got to the objects I was taking control of, and opened up some interesting opportunities in my first small side quest. I steered Marcus towards a nearby pier, where a group of armed guards had taken up shop around a small building. Inside was a file I needed off a computer, and it presented me with numerous ways to approach getting it. Guns blazing is always (and still is) an option, but Watch Dogs 2 implores you to think beyond simple violence. And think I did.”

Of course sometimes it’s easier to just see these things for yourself. Here’s a new 20 minute video from Ubisoft showing how the game is better than the first in just about every conceivable way.

It’s worth reminding you though that this video is likely highly scripted, but I think it shows the different ways you’ll be able to take on the game’s challenges.

Last Updated: August 30, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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