Watchdogs 2: Hack the Planet!

Watchdogs 2 is a very worthy sequel to Watchdogs and in general it’s bigger and more colourful and light hearted than the original.

Ubisoft continues the series in San Francisco and again you’re a hacker that fights the super surveillance company Blume by exploiting their product ctOS to manipulate the environment to your advantage.

The game does a good job at being an open world game with a few multiplayer (co-op and pvp) components along the immersive single player storyline.

Both story and visuals have received a ton of love, some characters return from the first Watchdogs and it doesn’t seem weird.

Gameplay: GTA & Script Kiddies

The gameplay mechanics have a lot of variety, a bit like Rockstar’s GTA series, but in a hacker world. There are races, armed combat, stealthy parts you can accept or instead pull out a big gun and riddle solving with the help of some gadgets and a different vision mode. The different “hack mode” shows cables, connections, vulnerable devices and even allows you to tag your enemies.

Your remote controlled devices like the little RC car and a quad copter allow you to fly around, plan your attacks or just finish a mission from afar. They are usually part of the stealthy solution, whereas you could just run in.

The weapons you can carry at once are limited to 3 and your gadgets on top of that, the first weapon you always have is the taser and you keep it throughout the game, both encouraging you to play stealthily and with a limited kill count.

Setting: Beautiful San Francisco

Going through the San Francisco actually took me back to the way I walked to work through Castro during an internship some years ago. It felt really good and very much like San Francisco with all the small houses, the weird and colourful characters and the different public transport vehicles.

The main character is generally likeable, the visuals of the game and glitchy animations of the DEDSEC (Anonymous) group are absolutely beautiful. The ASCII and C64 aesthetics are amazingly consistent throughout the game and your job is to basically slap everybody across the face that does “bad”. This includes giant tech companies like Nudle, a social network, hypocritical politicians and a sect manipulating their followers to believe in aliens.

Exploiting different servers, peoples smartphones, cars, traffic lights and much more happens at the click of a button, which is obviously extremely simplified. It’s still very satisfying, when you can hack a car into running your pursuer off the road or set a trap for a security guard to be knocked out by an exploding AC.

The general technical terms are usually well researched and used correctly, even if what happens in the game is not always plausible or possible in this or even in any way. You will not have too many WHAT THE FUCK moments, even when you’re an IT nerd yourself.

Summary

If you have enjoyed movies like The Social Network, Hackers or Mr. Robot, if you enjoy mostly action based open world games or stealthy games like Splinter Cell, Hitman or even Ghost Recon, you will probably enjoy this game.

Zone out, take down all the big evil players, get the DLC if you get it in some sort of bundle or offer and have fun in sunny, pleasant and mostly friendly SF!

Hack the planet!

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