|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal|
|Release: November 15, 2016|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating.|
Let me explain how most E3 experiences go. About half the games aren't playable. You go into a theater with a group, watch some footage or watch someone else play, and you're done. The half that are playable tend to be either solo experiences or ones where you're teamed up in massive numbers with people you can't coordinate with. Watch Dogs 2's E3 demo started snugly in the second category, before it went ahead and surprised me.
My first few moments in Watch Dogs 2 were spent getting used to the controls. Hacking is effortless in this installment. If you can aim at something, you can press L1 to hack it. Pressing one of the action buttons while hacking performs an action. Pressing R3 takes you into the Net Hack view, which lets you see anything especially interesting. Blue items are things you can interact with. Orange items are ones that could trigger or be related to a mission. Red ones are hostile forces.
It was in Net Hack that I found something interesting. There was a man on a phone. I went ahead and hacked him, then listened in to see what he was talking about with his friend. He was complaining about some sort of distortion and disturbance during his calls. Suspicious, right? That's where my first Watch Dogs 2 "friends" came in. After I acquired that tidbit, DedSec acted on it. The hacking collective came up with information about what was going on. A company called Graystrom was stealing people's personal information made through calls.
This triggered a new mission, which I immediately accepted. First, I needed to get some data from Coit Tower, which was in the plaza where I was hanging around. Except Coit Tower was tall, and it wasn't like I could Spider-Man my way up there. So, I deployed a drone. It was my little hovering buddy. I was able to send it all the way up to hack into the box up there, finding the location of the data Graystrom was hoarding. Of course, before I headed off, I used the drone to look at the area. It was picturesque. From my position, I could see Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. All of these areas will be immediately accessible, with no unlocking, in the full game.
But I couldn't sight-see forever. I had to borrow a car to head to the warehouse and end Graystrom's nastiness! Initially, I took a rather ordinary sedan of some sort. But that didn't fit my style. Neither did the clothing I was wearing. I stopped at a store (it was on the way), to grab some proper duds for the mission, stole a pink moped from a passerby, and headed to retrieve some data.
This was a hostile red zone. There were guards in the area, as well as an attack dog. Since I didn't want to hurt an animal, I switched to my taser and decided for a more stealthy approach. To get past the dog and guards, I sent a wheeled robot, another electronic friend, to reach a box that would unlock a door on the roof. Then, I headed to a cherry picker on the side of the building, hopped in, and raised it to reach the roof. The guard there was easily distracted by hacking his cell phone and, before I knew it, I had the data back. One tazed dog and guard later, I was out and the mission was completed. My imaginary DedSec friends were so proud!
It was then that I had a pleasant surprise! For the Watch Dogs 2 demo, I had been given a headset. Since it was a crowded room, I didn't think much of it. The Ubisoft staff member going through the demo with me had one on as well, and he offered me insight through the mic. It was then that he said, "Hey, isn't that another player?" It actually was another staff member! I was able to join up with him by targeting him and pressing the triangle button. We joined up for another data collection run. It went from a stealthy to not-so-stealthy mission as we worked together to get two USBs from a hostile area.
It was striking how personable Watch Dogs 2 was! I had both virtual and real buddies around me as I went around, attempting to hack the world for the greater good. I didn't expect to have such interactions and rely on so many people, both real and fake. Yet there it was.
Watch Dogs 2 stood out in an event where I was often isolated in solo demos, sitting in rooms watching other people play, or thrown into a multiplayer "experience" where I couldn't really work with my cohorts. It was a more companionable experience. I very much enjoyed the opportunity to connect in so many ways, even if sometimes I was only relying on an NPC or a robot I controlled. I look forward to seeing what other interactions we might get to enjoy when we're able to play the full game.
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