After years of anticipation, Watch Dogs 2 has finally hit the shelves and loyal fans have been justly rewarded with the impressive sequel. Watch Dogs 2 moves players from the darkened streets of Chicago in the original game to the bright and massive San Francisco Bay Area, allowing for even more interaction with the playable world. Watch Dogs 2 follows the story of a brilliant young hacktivist, Marcus Holloway, who is hoping to bring down the Blume Corporation and the system that controls and monitors every citizen in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The concept behind the original Watch Dogs and its sequel, Watch Dogs 2, isn't that farfetched when you look at our current technology. Yet five years ago the idea that authorities could eavesdrop on its citizens to potentially prevent crimes before they happened would have been laughable. But then Edward Snowden revealed just how possible that state of absolute surveillance actually was.
That concept is where the Watch Dogs world comes into play: expanding on the idea of a fully immersive, technology driven culture that is constantly connected - and what it would look like to hack it all.
Watch Dogs 2 steps up the hacking game and gives you total control over what kind of hacker you want to be. So let's take a look at how far you can take your hacking in Watch Dogs 2.
Hacking Is Totally Customizable
The core aspect of the Watch Dogs series has always been hacking. It's the centerpiece of who your character is and how you interact with the world. In Watch Dogs 2, hacking is split between three categories:
- Trickster: Manipulating objects and people to accomplish your goal
- Aggressor: Overpowering enemies with brute force
- Ghost: Utilizing stealth and hacking to remain unseen
Every hack that you learn corresponds to a skill tree split between these three branches.
By splitting the hacks among these three categories, it allows players to define their own unique hacker and truly match their preferred playing style. The dev team behind Watch Dogs 2 didn't want to force players to play through missions or objectives a certain way, instead they sought to allow players to in a sense hack the game and make it unique each time.
Watch Dogs 2 retains the "one-button hack" system of the original game, but amps it up by adding depth to the system. For instance:
- When you hack a phone you can choose from secondary options such as stealing a specific amount of money from their bank accounts, distracting them with a message or even faking a call, or making their phone explode (thanks Samsung).
- When you hack vehicles you gain total control over the cars direction (forward, backward and lateral movements) without actually getting in the driver's seat.
The "one-button hack" system is pivotal in how you hack the world around you. By selecting the person or object that you want to hack, you then gain access to the deeper level of options and can choose your preferred action. It's simple and addicting to run through the streets of San Francisco seeing how you can interact with each person.
Hacking Changes The Entire Game
Watch Dogs 2 sets itself apart from its predecessor in a very distinct way, it's completely possible to progress through the entire game without firing a single bullet. Whereas in the original game it made sense to watch your character kill corrupt cops and gun-toting gang members, in the sequel the art of hacking is the priority. Now that's not to say that you aren't given the option to run into every situation unloading automatic rifles at anyone who looks at you a little too long, but you're playing Watch Dogs not Grand Theft Auto, so it makes more sense to rely more on hacking to solve your missions.
Your ability to effectively hack through the various missions and side quests will draw you even deeper into the story of the game, especially since focusing on the hacks is kinda the whole idea behind the game in the first place. As you progress through the game and your knowledge increases, you'll gain access to new skills, each one improving upon the prior by unlocking them through the skill tree of your choice.
And this is where it gets interesting because you can hack everything:
- Vehicles (cars, trucks, motorcycles, forklifts, etc.)
- Computer networks
- and so many more things yet to be discovered
How you choose to hack these things is all up to you, based on your preferred play style and it will ultimately affect how your game plays out. The same goes for how you hack the environment as each of your options will affect the situation in different ways.
Ultimately, there is so much potential in Watch Dogs 2, and I'm still learning what it all means, but the hacking options are so deep that you can truly create your ideal hacker in this game, which is something the original couldn't claim.