Ubisoft first introduced gamers to the world of Watch Dogs back in May of 2014. The first game took gamers to Chicago, starred Aiden Pearce and had a serious tone to it. Watch Dogs 2 is far and away different from its predecessor and excels as an open-world title, both when looking at its main quests as well as its side quests, free-roaming and everything else around it. Watch Dogs 2 is an incredibly addicting, entertaining and outstanding experience.

The single-player element of Watch Dogs 2 is why I recommend this game, and its multiplayer is/will be icing on top of cake. Ubisoft takes gamers to San Francisco, a city that is sprawling with personality, intrigue and life. Marcus Holloway, the new protagonist in Watch Dogs 2, has his smartphone and it is the starting point for all you’ll find in the game.

From here gamers can track main and side quests through the DedSec app, while the ScoutX app leads players to tourist locations around the Bay Area. Cars can be ordered on demand, and you can play music at anytime through your Media Player app. Additionally, skills are upgraded through the ./Research app.

There is so much for you to dig your teeth into in Watch Dogs 2, and at first, I found the ScoutX app as a great way to achieve quick progression early on. Simply go find the location specified in the app, take a picture of it and receive 8,000 followers. Gaining research points this way gives you the chance to use abilities that you wouldn’t have had without spending time checking off ScoutX locations.

Hacking is what makes Watch Dogs, Watch Dogs, and it has been evolved greatly. Hacking is no longer a one off button press. Instead, Ubisoft has given players greater choice with the types of hacks they want to make. In the first Watch Dogs, you had a predetermined result set out for you when you hacked a citizen, but in Watch Dogs 2, you have several options for the type of hack you can do.

Gamers can now choose between actions like calling a person’s cell phone for a distraction, setting off an explosive on their person and of course, stealing money. Choice is a luxury the first game didn’t offer as much and it is nice to see it in Watch Dogs 2.

Hacking has also been embellished from the standpoint of accessing vehicles. I was able to hack any vehicle and send it speeding off right, left, forward, or backward. This is a feature that creates some hilarious moments and it also makes getaway chases from the cops better too.

The first Watch Dogs had players hack different elements (road block, traffic signal, storm drain, etc.) around the city to get away from the cops, and the second game still has those options. However, it’s a nice addition of variety to be able to hack incoming police cars and send them barricading into other vehicles. This makes for a more satisfying experience when trying to get away from the authorities.

Whether its joining up with another player in co-op or its trying to successfully hack another player, Watch Dogs 2 seamlessly incorporates online with its single-player experience. When I was trying to engage with online content, I never had a single issue with it. I never had any game breaking issues, but I did have a ton of fun with it.

Online hacking is back once again and gamers can invade one another’s games to try and steal each other’s data. I’m must say that invasion hacking was one of my favorite features from the first game and it stands out in a great way in Watch Dogs 2.

Successfully hacking another player is easily one of the greatest thrills I’ve found in any online multiplayer experience this generation. Nothing matches up to the excitement of playing cat and mouse with another player, and as hacks go, they become more intense the later you get into them.

The first 50 percent of an invasion hack is fairly tense, as you try to find a good hiding spot. It’s also important to find a place you can easily move around (like the outside of a car, in the video above). The last half of a hack, and more specifically, the last quarter of a hack is extremely thrilling.

Trying to stay hidden and undetected becomes an even bigger challenge with the field of where you could be shrinks. Depending on where you decided to hack the player, the possible areas of hiding all of a sudden become more limited. I’m a huge fan of invasion hacking and can’t wait to do more of it in the days ahead.

Cash and followers are your two main forms of currency in Watch Dogs 2. Money allows gamers to purchase outfits as well as weapons and gadgets. Followers provide gamers with the ability to upgrade Marcus’s skills through the game’s seven skills trees.

The seven skill trees are made up of vehicle hacking, remote control, social engineering, city disruption, tinkering, botnets and marksmanship. Deciding which skills to upgrade first gives players a strong sense of choice and expression through Marcus.

You might be a more passive player, in which case remote control or city disruption would be great areas for you to upgrade before other ones. Those who are more aggressive would probably go for the marksmanship skill upgrades to better enhance Marcus’s combat abilities.

Cash is littered throughout the Bay Area, and it is up to players to keep a weather eye out for the various cash bags there are. Earning cash isn’t necessarily done through completing missions, rather more through hacking citizens or picking up these cash bags. The latter is easily the best way to build up a bankroll for purchasing new clothes, weapons and gadgets.

Some of the cash bags are guarded by gangs and for those who remember Gang Hideouts from the first Watch Dogs, these remind me of those missions. Although the cash bag areas in Watch Dogs 2 are a bit different considering you don’t have to kill everyone in the area to get what you want. These are addicting and super fun.

Watch Dogs 2 feels so different from its predecessor. That is thanks in part to Marcus who brings a more likable, light-hearted vibe than Aiden did. Not only that, but the supporting cast all add entertaining, jovial personalities to the mix.

While there is still the idea of takedown the bad corporation, it is presented in a far lighter fashion than the first game showcased it. The world of Watch Dogs 2 breaths happiness into the experience from goofy NPC moments, to funny locations like a pair of legs sticking out of a building.

The game’s narrative does get serious when it has to, and Watch Dogs 2‘s antagonist, Dusan Nemic, brings a strong jackass vibe that people will love to hate. A set of missions has gamers sabotage a religious group called New Dawn. They are the Watch Dogs 2-equivalent of Scientology. The game has a prominent white actor, Jimmy Siska, who is one of the key figures of the group.

New Dawn is a pretty hilarious take on Scientology and Jimmy Siska is a much better Tom Cruise than Tom Cruise himself. This set of missions is one of my favorites. There are many more satirical elements to this world that make it lovable and enjoyable to spend hours and hours in.

Watch Dogs 2 is a massive, gorgeous and entertaining example of a game that takes what a series does well and makes it even better. From hacking, to side missions, to main missions, Watch Dogs 2 is a masterful creation, and one of the best single-player experiences of the fall. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Watch Dogs 2Ubisoft provided We Write Things with a PlayStation 4 code of Watch Dogs 2 for the purposes of this review.

About Steve Ruygrok

Gaming, Spirits, and Craft Beer enthusiast. If you say you don't like beer, then you just haven't had the right type yet. Great spirits keep away the bad ones. Video games are kind of amazing, just do it...or something like that.