We’ve been busy in San Francisco. Here’s our Watch Dogs 2 Review

Watch Dogs 2I’ll be honest I wasn’t a fan of the first Watch Dogs game but as of late I’ve come to realise that many of my favourite games at the minute are from Ubisoft and with the trailers all impressing me I thought that Watch Dogs 2 might be worth a punt. Many of the Ubisoft games I’m playing had issues, Ubisoft are somewhat renowned for it, but the developers seem to be going to great lengths to put things right. So what’s the verdict? Have they learned from the feedback they received from the first game and is this worthy of a place in your game library? Let’s take a look.

Right let’s get the story out of the way first and foremost because the first game I thought had a really dull story that took itself too seriously. Watch Dogs 2 has a pretty ridiculous story and I really like it. The fact that Watch Dogs 2 doesn’t take itself too seriously is a breath of fresh air. I find myself thinking back to the film Hackers a lot when I’m playing this, an equally ridiculous story but one that for some reason you can’t help but enjoy.

Watch Dogs 2

The characters too are just as crazy and much more likeable and easy to connect with than the last game. There’s plenty of laughs to be had and the main protagonist is a big improvement in my humble opinion.  In Watch Dogs 2 we play as hacker vigilante Marcus Holloway, who rather than being motivated by revenge lets his ideology guide him. I like Marcus a lot more than I ever did Aiden Pearce. Marcus teams up with the Hacker gang Dedsec who are fighting against the surveillance state  that America has become in the Watch Dogs 2 world.

The personalities of the Dedsec characters even influence your approach to the game, I thought. You can, if you wish go on a killing spree to achieve your objectives but I don’t find this approach in keeping with the characters’ personalities and so I try to use non lethal force which seems to make the whole game much more rewarding.

Watch Dogs 2

I found myself reacting differently to say the Police than I did to hostile gang members. That the game gives you the option to approach the game in different ways is testament to the thought and care the developers have put into the game.

One of the things I didn’t like about the first Watch Dogs was the character movement and especially the driving mechanics. Watch Dogs 2 does refine both these areas to an extent but I still find the driving to be rather sluggish. You may find that this minor issue melts into the background if like me you find yourself distracted by the beautifully recreated city of San Francisco. The hacking features are back in abundance and you now have some toys to play with in the form of a drone and/or a quadcopter. Both can be upgraded and the drone especially becomes a hilarious tool when it starts shouting insults at guards in order to distract them.

Watch Dogs 2

San Francisco in Watch Dogs 2 has been recreated in stunning detail. It’s a gorgeous game world that is yours to explore from the get go. It’s packed full of content that will keep you busy for hours. The online aspects are very similar to the first game and seamless in my experience with the game. You may find yourself working with an ally trying to stop a target or you may find someone appear in your game trying to steal data from you. These occurrences don’t feel intrusive or too frequent and add to the experience. You can of course tailor the online experience to your liking if you wish but I’ve not felt the need or desire to do so yet.

So Watch Dogs 2 finally delivers what the first game failed to but how about the PC port? We’ve seen far too many poor ports to PC in the last few years and being Ubisoft I was naturally cautious (hence why I bought the console version first). After hearing positive things on Steam I bought the game for £30 (you can use 100 of your Ubisoft rewards to unlock a 20% discount) and I don’t regret it at all.  The console version is fantastic and the PC version has had a lot of care and attention put into it.

Watch Dogs 2

You may think I’m mad for buying a game twice but if I like a game I will happily buy it when I can on console and PC. I bought GTA V on 3 different platforms and Elite Dangerous on two because the platforms offer me different experiences. Watch Dogs 2 on PC, with its beautiful visuals and silky smooth frame rate really make the game even more of a pleasure to play.  The slight delay in the release of a PC version has paid off and I must congratulate Ubisoft for their hard work.

Watch Dogs 2

There are plenty of settings for you to tweak to find your machine’s sweet spot and the game world looks stunning. Don’t get me wrong it’s not the most beautiful game on the market but this is a well made port that plays very nicely if you have a PC that can handle it. If you are lucky enough to be able to ramp up the settings to the maximum then you are in for a treat but even on mid settings you will be getting a very nice gaming experience. The minimum and recommended specs are as follows.

MINIMUM:

    • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64bit versions only)
    • Processor: Intel Core i5 2400s @ 2.5 GHz, AMD FX 6120 @ 3.5 GHz or better
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 with 2 GB VRAM or AMD Radeon HD 7870, with 2 GB VRAM or better – See supported List*
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 50 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX compatible using the latest drivers
    • Additional Notes: Periphericals: Microsoft Xbox One

RECOMMENDED:

    • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 (64bit versions only)
    • Processor: Intel Core i5 3470 @ 3.2 GHz, AMD FX 8120 @ 3.9 GHz
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 | AMD Radeon R9 290, with 3GB VRAM or better – See supported List*
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 50 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX-compatible using the latest drivers
    • Additional Notes: SUPPORTED VIDEO CARDS AT TIME OF RELEASE: • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX600 Series: GTX660 or better / GeForce® GTX700 Series: GTX760 or better / GeForce® GTX900 Series: GTX950 or better / GeForce® GTX1000 Series: GTX1060 or better. • AMD Radeon™ HD 7000 series: Radeon™ HD7870 or better / Radeon™ 200 series: Radeon R9 270 or better / Radeon™ 300/Fury X series: Radeon™ R9 370 or better / Radeon 400 series: Radeon RX460 or better.

In conclusion then whatever platform you decide to buy Watch Dogs 2 on you will be getting a quality game with few draw backs. There’s plenty to keep you going back into the game and you will find yourself wanting to and you won’t find yourself wanting for content. It’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is just great fun to play through. Definitely a surprise highlight release of 2016 and I’m pondering whether it may even be in contention for my Game of the Year along with a few other titles. What Watch Dogs 2 manages to do is give you a good old fashioned fun-to-play gaming experience and it does it extremely well.

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