So I got the game (thanks again, baby!) and after a few days of playing it, I’m a bit disappointed by it or I got spoiled playing the first game. War Dogs 2 kinda/sorta takes up where Watch Dogs left off with DedSec, a notorious hacker group dedicated to expose the corruption of personal data and freedom by the Blume Corporation and its ctOS 2.0 system, the upgrade a necessary one after the hero in Watch Dogs did a number on ctOS 1.0. Set in San Francisco, a small group of hackers and Marcus, our hero this time around, is still running around putting the screws to Blume and while I think the story line in Watch Dogs 2 is kinda weak, it’s at least a bit familiar.
The controls have been a bitch to relearn; the only similarities to the original game is driving (and destroying) cars along with aiming and shooting. I’ve gotten killed several times just because I’m pushing buttons I got used to using in the original game and buttons that, in the second game, don’t do a damned thing. There’s a distinct lack of deployable weapons; in the first game, I could pick up a weapon and it would go in my “pack” and could be selected easily enough; in this game, if I’m holding a weapon and pick up another, the one I”m holding gets discarded so all I have is two weapons and as far as weapons go, they’re pretty wimpy at this stage in the game. I mean, I have a silenced pistol, which made me happy to see… except when I walked up behind a bad guy, sighted on the back of his head and pulled the trigger… and he turned around and killed me.
What the fuck…?
Two things I kinda like: The cops, who were conspicuous by their absence in the first game, are seen patrolling the streets of San Francisco but they don’t mess with you as you’re breaking every traffic law that ever existed, well, until you fuck up and rear end one of them – then they’re on you like a very bad habit and they are damned persistent as in the first game; in fact, it’s harder to escape and evade these cops. The other thing is the NPCs, which are roaming all over the place. I turned a corner and scared one into falling down; she got up and instead of walking away, she stormed over to my car, dragged me out of it, and punched me in the face! So I punched her in the face but then somebody came to her aid and started beating me with an umbrella… and I had to knock them out, too. Later, during a mission, some chick was driving in front of me and just stopped in the middle of the road and I tapped her bumper… and she got out wanting to fight and, well, you can probably guess what happened. What’s even funnier is watching the civilian NPCs actually starting fights with the cops when I have them arrest somebody because of information I planted about them; once, I guess the cop took offense to the man punching him in the face… because the cop shot him.
At this point in the game play, I’m not sure I really like this game as much as I did the first because, as previously mentioned, I don’t have the tools readily available to do things. For instance, by my fifth mission in the original game, I had to ability to “distract” a pursuing helicopter and even shoot the sniper while the chopper pilot fought for control. In the new game, I have to collect a whole lot of stuff – then activate a lot more stuff – before I can get this needed ability, which shows in the main mission I’ve yet to complete… because the sniper in the helicopter keeps killing me before I can make good my escape. It’s frustrating because in this mission – I have to bust somebody out of Alcatraz – it’s a long, drawn out process to eliminate all the guards using stealthy methods; just going in there and shooting up the place isn’t an option.
It doesn’t help that I don’t have enough good camera angles; it also doesn’t help that there aren’t that many things I can use for booby traps and of those things that do exist, only one of them is lethal… and it’s nowhere near where the main body of guards are hanging out. All of the other potential traps just put them to sleep and they eventually wake up again. In one attempt to free the prisoner, it took me over an hour to clear out all the guards before I could actually go inside Alcatraz and spring the guy… only to have that fucking helicopter – which somehow seems to know exactly where I am in the prison even though they can’t see me – blow me away before I can get close to escaping. It’s annoying and aggravating and that’s being nice about it so I wound up quitting the mission so I can do some other stuff so I can get some stuff so I can deal with the helicopter. That didn’t make me happy having to do that; I can accept screwing up a mission because of a mistake I made but I just have a problem with failing a mission because I don’t have the tools available to deal with all possible threats – it’s like taking a knife to a gun fight.
This game has a couple of toys: A drone and an RC (remote controlled) wheeled thingy call a Jumper… because it can really jump up onto things. The Jumper is cool because I can use it to sneak into places and do the physical hacking that sometimes has to be done while I sit outside and away from guards and the cops. Moving vehicles in this game is just as crazy as in the original game (you just do not want to know how many cars and motorcycles I’ve trashed and I wasn’t actually being chased) so controlling these toys is a bit iffy. I use the Jumper a lot and I’m just now getting the hang of sending it into air ducts and sneaking past motion sensors, etc.; piloting the drone isn’t that bad but unlike the Jumper, it can’t interact with anything – I can spy on things, interact with a camera, even hack a NPC but I can’t use it to unlock anything that requires physically being able to plug something in.
Like I said, the story line leaves something to be desired and, just my opinion, I would have thought that for Watch Dogs 2, they would have recruited Aidan – our hero in Chicago for the first game – to help them get rid of Blume and ctOS 2.0 once and for all. Instead, the only character they brought back from the original game is one that not only didn’t actually do anything in the first game, he’s not doing anything in this game except running his mouth, the video game version of an REMF – a rear echelon motherfucker – who’s good for sending me out on missions and getting me killed while staying nice and safe back at headquarters. Don’t get me wrong – the game is fun and has a few surprises – like at least three gangs that I’ve identified so far and gangs you can sic on a target or even the police. One mission had me stealing a car from them, something they weren’t happy about nor were they happy about my blowing up quite a few of their members prior to snatching the car so it wasn’t surprising that they chased me all over the Bay Area until I finally managed to ditch them… and the cops who got in on the act.
It took a little while for Watch Dogs to grow on me but it’s taking much longer for Watch Dogs 2 but I’ll keep hacking away at it and, who knows, maybe this game is really better than it appears at the moment!