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Op-Ed: Watch Dogs 2 is probably my favourite game of all time.

That’s a bold statement right there but for me, it must be the best game ever. Let me explain. So, I bought Watch Dogs 2 on day one, I was probably one of the few people who was looking forward […]

That’s a bold statement right there but for me, it must be the best game ever. Let me explain.

So, I bought Watch Dogs 2 on day one, I was probably one of the few people who was looking forward to it, and one of the even fewer people who thoroughly enjoyed the first game. So I have been playing since November 15, finally completed the game at the beginning of May. That’s 6 months worth of gaming. Although I did have a break to get amongst Horizon Zero Dawn. As good as that game is something was dragging me back to Watch Dogs 2. I think it was the sunny climes of San Francisco, such a beautiful and brilliantly realized open world. It’s a pleasure to explore.

And that is just one of the reasons why this must be the best game ever. You know how it is with Ubisoft, they create a massive map, literally vomit all kinds of collectibles all over it so the map is barely visible and expect you to go find everything. Things are a little different with Watch Dogs 2. The map was clean and clear, and collectibles only appear if you had stumble across them or scan the area, then they will appear on the map. The point is, this game is so good that for the first time ever, I went about and collected everything. That’s right, all hidden paint jobs, clothes, research points the lot. I collected it all, I’ve still to find all the unique vehicles and hidden gnomes but don’t worry I’ll do it. Last night I happily photographed my last Scout X location, a group of people who dress up as zombies and hang around in a grave yard. Just another example of the living breathing city Ubisoft has created. I did capture some some fine examples last night, One (nasty) highlight was a couple having an argument in the street and the bloke just hit the woman, quite shocking really, so naturally I shot him in the face. But being the PS4 it takes a decade to copy videos to memory stick so here are some really good examples I’ve found on YouTube. They really are quite charming.

The trick is that Ubisoft have created such a rich and vibrant wold that it’s actually a pleasure to explore with so many things to discover. I didn’t mind driving from one end of the map to the other, where in most other games I’d hit the fast travel button. Of course it helps that it’s so damn beautiful too.

When it comes to gaming, I’m kind of one of those disposable gamers. I’ll get a game and either complete it, get bored or distracted by a new game. If I do complete a game, then that’s me done. I’ve experienced the world, story, characters all the good things that game has to offer. An admittedly by this point I’m genuinely bored with the game, and happy to take the disk from my PS4, slip in the case and hoof it down to CEX for a few quid.

But something strange has happened with Watch Dogs 2. I wanted more, I was not yet ready to leave San Francisco and Oakland. I didn’t want leave the world where the NPC’s are genuinely interesting to just look at, follow, and invade their lives. I’ve seen a scorned lover smash a car with a baseball bat. I’ve seen drunks stumbling along the road spitting and coughing up all sorts, I’ve seen lovers steal a kiss, cross dressing bouncers, a guy dressed up as a bush to surprise people walking past, kids sitting on a corner smoking, marriage proposals. If you’re taking a selfie using the in game phone, passers by behind you strike a pose. It really is an engrossing world.

Also I was not ready to leave the eclectic mix of stars, Wrench with his I-cant-decide-if-I-love-it-or-hate-it Emoji mask, Sitara,  the level-headed leader of Dedsec, knows she’s hot but doesn’t give a shit about it and Marcus, a genuinely nice guy who wants to do right by doing wrong. I wanted more.

So much so that for the first time since I’ve been a gamer (1982) and for the first time since the paid DLC services have come about, I actually paid for some DLC, this has never happened before and was shocked. It was like I was in a trance, Ubisoft and their gorgeous retro modern 8-bit propaganda graphics have hypnotized me into spending money on DLC. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t buy DLC because I’m a tight arse, It’s just that I’ve never felt the need to extend any game I’ve played beyond the main story line and a few side missions. This is the same reason why I don’t really go trophy hunting, I’m just not that bothered about things like that, I want to play the game, complete it, and then move onto the next. Now, thanks to Watch Dogs 2 I’m on the hunt for my first ever Platinum. Shocking!

This led me to think, if this game has single-handedly managed to break me from my gaming comfort zone, to purchase DLC and go trophy hunting, it must be the best game ever right? I’ve played though some amazing games, Zelda, GTA, Horizon but none of them have moved me enough to want to extend that game, to spend more money on top of the £40 plus I have spent on game in the first place. Don’t get me wrong I’ve enjoyed these game immensely, but once complete, that was me content. Finished. Onwards and upwards to the next game.

Of course there are other games out there which deserve the accolade of best game ever. For a long time, It was Ocarina of Time, then GTA San Andreas, I guess these things always change. I never expected Watch Dogs 2 to be up there, I assumed it would be another of those games that I play for bit, Enjoy a bit and then forget about when another game comes out. It almost happened once I had started Horizon. I didn’t think I would be back to WD 2 at all because I know what I’m like. But I did and I’m glad.

Hell even the mighty  GTA V hasn’t managed that. I have never laughed so much while playing that game with my buddy. I was in tears with the escapades we got up to, but then we all stopped playing for one reason or another and I have no wish to go back to the slip slide realistic car handling or the drag of running up a hill slowly, cause physics or being bogged down in wet sand, cause physics. That’s no fun. Watch Dogs 2 does away with that, adding in a little parkour, some vertical play areas and having the perfect balance of realism and fun  making it an easy and pleasurable place just to do your thing.

So I just wanted to doff my cap, and praise Ubisoft for doing such an excellent job with Watch Dogs 2. Considering the battering the first game got from the press, it’s good to see they put in so much effort into the sequel and silence the critics. Congratulations to Ubisoft for creating one of the finest, if not THE finest open worlds to explore, and be a part of, and one that I’m finding so hard to leave behind.

Watch Dogs 2 may not have set the world on fire, and perhaps was just seen as a filler until the next Assassin’s Creed game comes along. But for me, Watch Dogs 2 is the best game ever and I didn’t even realise it.

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  • May 12, 2017 at 16:59

    can’t get past the edgy, hipster crap.

    • May 12, 2017 at 18:30

      Love the the propaganda posters and design though. Looks amazing

  • May 12, 2017 at 19:44

    Uhhhhhhhhh, no. Just…. No.

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  • March 17, 2019 at 14:33

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