Watch Dogs came out two years ago and instantly became the target of harassment in the gaming community. There was one objective reason for that - in the trailers we were shown some absolutely incredible picture, but in reality everything turned out to be much more modest. But the game turned out great anyway. I defended Watch Dogs as best I could and even wrote a laudatory review on it. But zero sense - people were offended by the downgrade and compared the game with GTA, not wanting to see its features. With Watch Dogs 2, it could have turned out exactly the same.
Do you know what was good about Watch Dogs ? The sum of impressions. Video games are the ultimate form of art: the picture, the sound, and the complicity are important here. In fact, you cannot throw something out, close your eyes to something. You can try, but the final impression will be common, all the elements will merge and balance each other.
The cars in Watch Dogs were kind of torture. Plastic, but weighing ten tons and with the controllability of a toy car. But you could turn on the first person view, catch the Funeral Singers on the radio, and leisurely ride through a meticulously recreated rainy Chicago. Then the sun peeped out from behind the clouds, and The Good Life suddenly began to play on the radio - and everything, the feeling of driving was already completely different. He was not interrupted by the dozens of routine trips that happened later. Therefore, small details are extremely important.
Watch Dogs 2 works the same way. Catching on to the same example, driving has become noticeably better, the developers have been helped by the people responsible for Driver: San Francisco, and you can feel it. But you can still have plenty of fun. Although the cars feel good, they behave exactly like in The Crew - there is a colossal difference between a heavy SUV and a sports car, but within the framework of one "class" there is no difference: no matter what sports car you sit in - one hell of a lot.
But what does it matter if in Watch Dogs 2 you can jump into a convertible and ride through Silicon Valley under Close Your Eyes , zip your bike through Oakland to the roar of Chesterfield King or arrange off-road races under Forced to Sleep (it turns out pure FlatOut , honestly )? This is the feeling of freedom, it is achieved not only by the ability to go to all four directions at any time.
Music (yes, this is really important), a detailed city, colors and the style itself, the spirit of the game - this is what forms the feeling of freedom in the first place. San Francisco and its suburbs are an imprint of real places where all boring quarters have been lost and only the most lively and interesting places have remained. Therefore, the city is fun to explore. Just wander around, gaze around, take pictures with sights (there is even an application in the protagonist's smartphone to find them) and people. Watch any gameplay video or recording of our stream and see how lively the world is in the game.
In Watch Dogs 2, it's great to drive off to the beach and just walk along the sandy beach while watching the sunset. Or go out of town and drive your moped to your heart's content. And these are not side quests, the game is designed in such a way that you just want to do it. Ubisoft seems to have figured out how GTA works.
You can get stuck on such things for long hours, and it's not just the city. The very atmosphere of the game disposes of burning through virtual life. There is not a drop of the noir tone of the original Watch Dogs.
Watch Dogs 2 is sunny California, carefree youth, girls in bikinis and rebellion. Entourage is a modern reinterpretation of the MTV era, with acid graffiti, hip hop and pop punk. Seriously, since Sunset Overdrive, no game has charged me with such insane energy and made me feel so young (in working days this feeling is easily lost). This makes Watch Dogs 2 beautiful in the first place. This makes it not just another game in the series, but a significant object of gaming culture - I will definitely return to it, and more than once.
The heroes also contribute to the immersion in the atmosphere of an endless hot summer. I do not want to delve into their images at all, because this is a cast of ourselves. Markus (the main character) and his friend Ranch are not discussing the details of the operation on their way to another dangerous mission. They start an argument about who is cooler: the Predator or the Alien. They argue so vividly that he just makes out his own five kopecks to insert. In the end, they agree that the Predator is cooler, because he fought with Schwarzenegger, and move on to discussing the crossover of the Aliens and Batman universe. And yes, there is no pathos from the official art in the images of the heroes, exhale.
I trust these heroes. For them, what is happening is a game, a riot. Their attempt to break the system is pure youthful maximalism, and it is easy to understand. We all were, and some of us have not changed until now.
For the same reason, the humor, which is completely built on memes, is completely annoying. In trailers, it was a little annoying, looked like a cheap trick to grab attention. In fact, everything turned out organically - the heroes joke the same way as we do, they live in the same digital space.
And there are just enough witty jokes here, but it's difficult to retell them out of context, and this, by the way, is a good sign. The only thing is that the names of guns in the spirit of the shotgun "Pysch-pysch" are still a bit overkill. Maybe the original is better?
Not a single element of Watch Dogs 2 should be taken seriously. This is especially true of history. The game shows hackers what they want to look like, there is not an ounce of realism here, and this is the right approach. After all, what is more interesting: to sit for three days in the twilight in the basement at the computer, trying to hack the website of a sinister corporation, or to infiltrate a giant barge and steal from there a giant server, having flown away with it on an equally giant quadrocopter? The heroes come off, drink beer, and hack everything somehow by itself. What hacker doesn't dream of that?
The whole plot is saturated with a carefree spirit. Don't expect a very interesting story or any sudden turns, the game is not about that. But, destroying the plans of the Blum corporation to introduce the ctOS 2.0 system to the masses (this is, if anything, the very program that controls the entire city infrastructure and spies on residents), we will disgrace CEOs, spoil private property, throw out the dirty secrets of politicians and generally actively engage in hilarious self-mutilation. All this is damn stylishly presented and directed, and each "case" ends with a video from DedSec, where hackers tell who and how they were guilty and how they were punished for it. The stylization is such that you expect every video like a holiday, just like DedSec followers.
But against the background of all this carelessness, rare dramatic moments really grab the soul, you get attached to the heroes and it happens quickly.
But, just going through the story, you can seriously break your feelings from the game. Almost every mission involves infiltrating a closed and heavily guarded facility: warehouses, corporate offices, the FBI headquarters - wherever we go.
So, the worst thing you can do by completing these tasks is to start playing Watch Dogs 2 as a shooter. And the point is not at all stupid enemies and excruciatingly boring shootouts of the level of some Inversion . It's just that with such a passage, an unpleasant dissonance arises in the head.
Aiden Pearce in the first part was not only a hacker, but also a cold-blooded performer of much dirtier tasks. He hacked into networks and shot people in the face - this was justified by the setting and the plot. Marcus is not like that. He is the most ordinary guy in the post-adolescent period, who loves to drink beer, have fun and watch action movies from the 80s. When he grabs a grenade launcher and starts killing the police, hitting civilians at the same time, the game falls apart. It is no longer possible to perceive it easily, something starts to buzz in my head: it should not be this way, it is wrong.
Equip yourself with a shock pistol, a jumper (two-wheeled jumping drone) and a quadcopter. Perform operations quietly, hack security cameras, fly in and drones into the most secluded corners, distract enemies with traps, use the available space. Then you will feel the game. Then you will feel like a hacker and a lawnmower at the same time, merged with the system.
This was the first Watch Dogs, it was this element that covered any shortcomings of the game. The second part only multiplies and develops all these ideas. In addition, you will definitely not start yawning - any task can be completed in dozens of ways, and the scope for stealth experiments here, although not as impressive as in the recent Dishonored 2 , allows you to go through the plot and all the side effects without getting bored. minute. Mocking opponents can also be fun, it's worth admitting, and new additions to the mechanics, such as the ability to shock a guard with his own smartphone or set the police on him, only contribute to the fun.
Side quests are a separate topic altogether. Incredibly, Ubisoft seems to have finally realized that going through the same missions for dozens of hours is boring. Watch Dogs 2 constantly throws up something interesting, and even presents the usual routine things with imagination. The best example is taxi driver missions. Take a customer from A to B to earn some cash - a classic open-world car game. But this is not the case here. Customer requests are quite unexpected: catch up with a flying drone, find an escaped robot on the streets of the city, jump from trampolines for a YouTube show. Once I was completely lured into a trap, and I had to shoot back from a crowd of robbers.
Or another classic entertainment - racing missions. In Watch Dogs 2, you can race on electric karts, participate in quadcopter races, try your hand at motocross or sailing regatta. Everywhere has its own mechanics (it's not easy to learn how to catch the wind in the sea) and detailed, really entertaining and picturesque routes.
What is really there, a typical assignment "draw so many graffiti" and that turns into a tour of the highest points of the city with picturesque views and ends with a grand climb to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. At the same time, the task of climbing on each roof is a real puzzle. What needs to be hacked? Where can I get a forklift? And that's how it is in Watch Dogs 2 with literally every element.
Of course, Marcus, like Aiden Pearce, knows how to hack city communications, instantly reconfigure traffic lights on the streets and arrange a complete blackout in the city. And it is also possible to hack any passer-by after learning something funny about him or by sending him a fake SMS supposedly from an angry mother. In general, speaking dryly - everything for which one could love the first part remained in the continuation, and the main ideas of the series received a worthy development.
But this is not why you will love the game.
Watch Dogs 2 falls in love with its rebellious spirit and bright colors. A living world, a sense of freedom and an endless carefree summer. The players trampled the first part, trying to compare it with GTA, and the second withstands this comparison with dignity.