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My first week writing about my backlog since the change in scheduling is a success! Not only did I thoroughly explore and enjoy a game wholeheartedly this year, but it was a somewhat beefy game at that! I may even shoot for the platinum trophy in it if I’m feeling especially ambitious. But no more delay, here are my thoughts on the one game I’ve played these past two weeks:

Watch Dogs 2

From its onset, Watch Dogs 2 surpasses its predecessor. As someone who defends the original game for ideas, world-building and design; I was fully expecting a leap to the sequel much like the Assassins Creed games did between the first and second game. Many complaints against Watch Dogs were improved and expanded on leading to a much better game that people should try. It begins with the protagonist Marcus.

The game starts out as expected with a stealth mission to hack some servers as a sort of initiation for Marcus into the hacker group Deadsec. Marcus displays more personality by the end of this mission than Aiden Pearce had in the entirety of Watch Dogs. This is then branched out even further by the fellow Deadsec members being additional foils to his intelligence and humor and make for one hell of a fun group to converse with throughout the game. My personal favorite was Wrench as he and Marcus formed a bond that no other member quite lived up to. Their relationship is strong and believable with a foundation that grows as the story progresses.

I did find myself not caring about the story at large though if I must be honest. It went places that one would expect in a game about a ragtag group of hackers trying to better society such as police corruption. It even touches on real world events like a terrible human being charging ridiculous amounts of money for medicine and also being interested in buying a rap album nobody will hear. Watch Dogs 2 rams the “stick it to the man” mentality down your throat, but considering the reason why, it makes sense in the universe of the game.

However, even if it makes sense, it doesn’t make it….good. Part of why Deadsec does what it does is to obtain followers and watch their influence grow after each mission. It’s basically an arbitrary number used for skill progression, and I can’t help but feel the whole “follower” thing is kind of lame. Though, it does add in a wrinkle depending on your mindset. I found myself asking on numerous occasions whether they were doing these acts for moral reasons or strictly to improve their numbers for notoriety.

The main missions themselves followed along the same plan for the most part to varying degrees of consequence. Sleuthing around and using the environment to incapacitate or avoid enemies is fun and skills can completely break the challenge as well. Why avoid them one by one when you can trick rival gangs to killing each other making the mission a cakewalk. It’s not viable in every mission, but using that skill in particular is pretty overpowered.

The side missions are varied and the same can be said about the enjoyment. Some really benefit because of the personality of character such as the simple but amusing ATM hacking. Certain missions showcase the graffiti style in the game which is nice if you appreciate the art. Others are lacking overall such as the numerous types of races and my dislike for driving in the game makes these even worse. There is always something popping up or to search for, but unfortunately, some of it feels like filler content.

I really like Watch Dogs 2. It improves on damn near everything from the first game but still suffers from typical open world bloat. Knowing that Ubisoft has to be on the verge of Watch Dogs 3 is exciting with the potential it holds. The question is, will we see a Far Cry 3 sort of follow-up in terms of reception, or more along the lines of Assassins Creed 3?

Now that I knocked out a large game in my backlog, I think these upcoming two weeks will be spent on some smaller titles. I have plenty of indie games at my disposal I would love to try, so tune back in a couple weeks from now to see what I pull off the backburner!

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