If someone is definitely standing in your way, you have a few more options before you decide to rock and roll with an assault rifle. I had success flagging enemies attacking me as criminals or gang traitors, leading to police showing up to arrest the target or a car full of gang members coming in, guns blazing. You can even go in quietly using either a ground-based drone and hopping through vents or using a quadcopter and hovering high above any objective, marking enemies and hacking objects with ease.
The indirect approach is often the best one, as not only is shooting people a little jarring for this new, millennial-friendly bunch that make up DedSec, it's not that well handled mechanically either. Aiming was tricky with the controller and many of the guns felt uninteresting. It's not a big issue because you have so many alternatives, but if you're interested in this game as a shooter it's going to be unsatisfying.
Similarly, buying it for the soundtrack is going to leave you disappointed. You get more tracks in the game available for you as you listen to them on the radio, but nothing I've heard, with the exception of Crystal Castles' Crimewave
, have been particularly iconic. Music tastes are subjective, of course, but the music here lacks any real character.
Otherwise, I'm happy with most of the extra trappings — the clothing choices offer a good mix of decent clothes but also the ability to wear a woollen jumper emblazoned with the twee likeness of a horse. You can respray your cars, guns and gadgets in a variety of obnoxious patterns and colours and, because it's made by Ubisoft, there are a variety of pickups throughout the map. Thankfully, all of the pickups here either have a direct bonus in gameplay terms or are a cosmetic item, so it's not quite like you're climbing into the stratosphere in search of handfuls of feathers and a silly coloured flag.
Watch Dogs 2 starts to suffer from some pacing issues in its second act - the mass of side missions combines with a slightly weaker drive on the story to leave you meandering around for a bit cleaning up icons on the map to amass more followers. It's hard to begrudge the game too much when these missions are punctuated by characters chatting about the Inception horn or how many Xenomorphs it'd take to kill a Predator. Watch Dogs 2's world is one I've enjoyed spending time with, and Marcus feels a million miles away from the renowned grumpy pants that usually inhabit the open world genre, which is refreshing.
Ubisoft's latest open-world adventure doesn't rework the genre in any meaningful way, and at first glance it's the open-world crime game you've played before, but this is the best example of an open-world game I've played this year, and it wins serious points by being so relentlessly positive and offering you so many new experiences.
2016 has been pretty terrible so far (in real life, that is; games have been great), but Watch Dogs 2 offers a fun, largely positive way to lose yourself for a while. The game isn't particularly taxing and is fairly respectful of your time, so if you lose a few hours to the game you can feel confident you'll get something back for your investment. Bravo, Watch Dogs 2.