Despite (some would say) failing to the live up to the hype, Ubisoft’s 2014 open world hacker showed tremendous promise. If this supposed sequel is on the way, I have nothing but high hopes for it.
Two years ago around this date we got our hands on Watch Dogs. For those of you who haven’t played it, it’s Ubisoft’s open world tech and hacker-centric answer to Grand Theft Auto (although I often hate making that comparison because they are indeed different in many ways). You play as Aiden Pierce, a grey hat hacker who aims to seek revenge on a criminal who killed his niece; and will do just about anything to achieve it.
Watch Dogs was one of those games that got hit by the hype train. Hard. At the time there were few games living up to what we had expected for Watch Dogs. That first Watch Dogs trailer showed us huge promise. Aiden Pierce hacking his way through the beautifully rendered streets of Chicago on his way to apprehend a group of human traffickers. We were shown just a little taste of what Aiden could do equip with only his cell phone and a gun.
Fast forward to its release date. Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs sold very well, actually breaking records for highest launch day sales for a new IP. What happened after that was the game got very mixed reviews. It wasn’t received horribly per say, but it didn’t live anywhere near its hype. A lot of that was attributed to its hasty release. You could tell much of it was rushed; especially the next-gen port which didn’t utilize many of the new console’s features. Some of the problems included cringe-worthy driving mechanics, lackluster graphics, and seemingly unrewarding character development.
Despite all these things I still enjoyed Watch Dogs. I could look past its problems to see its great potential, and enjoy the things it did right. The concept of the game is still one of the coolest for me. I mean, come on, hacking your way into nearly anything is like a nerdy kid’s dream. I loved seeing what new abilities Aiden could learn, and I especially loved the multiplayer aspect of the game. Almost every mode was enjoyable. This included the “Online Tailing” mode where you appeared as an NPC and had to escape the other player from getting in range of your device and downloading its data.
So despite all the mixed reviews why am I still excited for Watch Dogs 2?
After all the scrutiny Ubisoft was put under I have faith that they will make changes accordingly. After a successful launch for The Division, Ubisoft has no doubt learned a thing or two about next gen consoles; whereas before it was brand new and untapped. It was recently leaked that Watch Dogs 2 would have a new protagonist; this means a fresh start for character development. Secondly, I’m excited to see how beautiful the game will be. One of it’s biggest complaints was its hastily rendered open world, reusing many of its textures, buildings, and showing incorrect reflections. There’s little doubt in my mind that Ubisoft will make the same mistake twice. Let’s get on to the driving mechanics. You couldn’t shoot out the window which was incessantly annoying (hoping they do something about that in the new game). If they manage to tighten up the mechanics in this department then it should be good!
Another thing that you should keep in mind before judging Watch Dogs 2 is looking at the Ubisoft games that came before it. The first Assassin’s Creed was generally received as innovative and enjoyable but nonetheless repetitive and boring at times. By the time the second Assassin’s Creed came out, they improved on many things throughout the game and created a monster of a franchise.
So far Watch Dogs 2 hasn’t been officially announced…but with some recent leaks in the last year, it’s (almost certain) possibility. Keep an eye out for it at E3.