Editor's Corner: What I Want in Watch Dogs 2
Posted on Wednesday, June 4 @ 17:15:29 PST by Nicholas Tan
For better or worse, Watch Dogs left me wanting more, though I gave it a high score for its imaginative open world. Without ruining the end of the main campaign, let's just say that Ubisoft Montreal has clearly set up several dangling threads that Aiden Pearce will likely need to contend with in a possible sequel or in the plans for DLC. I've mentioned some of the issues with the story and the gameplay in my review for Watch Dogs and in the Watch Dogs podcast with Daniel Bischoff, but I feel the need to expand on my comments.
Daniel and I agree that the story of Watch Dogs needs the most work. While it drives the tension forward for Aiden to infiltrate and commit murder without remorse throughout fictional Chicago, the plot feels thematically off with Aiden dealing more with the mafia and local gang warfare than the more relevant issue of online privacy and government surveillance. The Chicago populace and most of the hackers themselves don't have much of a stance on the topic apart from liking it for the power the ctOS gives them, even if they might not like Blume Industries invading everyone's privacy.
That said, the ending for Watch Dogs seems to build upon the friction between Blume Industries and the hacking group DedSec, so the sequel might indeed deal with this topic more directly. And given what happens between Aiden Pearce and his sister and nephew, it would seem that he will certainly have more time to spend on home invasions, hacking, and anti-government maneuvers.
At the same time, Aiden's relationships with NPCs could have more depth, and the team at Ubisoft should look into side missions based around other hackers and agents to build some kind of camaraderie outside of the main campaign. On top of that, a few missions should delve into Aiden's supposedly violent past. Where does he learn all his combat and parkour skills? What about his parents? How did he get into hacking in the first place? There has to be more to Aiden than a brooding figure who makes even Angel look less troubled.
The ending of Watch Dogs provides a choice for the player to make, but it feels slapped into the game for the sake of having one. Instead, these kind of difficult decisions should be spread throughout the story and have some ramifications on the ending. The extent of that impact doesn't have to be like Mass Effect, but if you're going to have a choice in a game, it needs to mean something.
Permanence is an issue with Watch Dogs, as everything in Chicago is pretty much fine no matter how many accidents you cause or how many pedestrians you knock over with your car. The worst thing is having a low reputation, which affects little of the overall environment. I can understand if the developers don't want to deter players from having mindless fun by wrecking the world, but it neuters the importance of reputation altogether.
Another aspect that's unfortunately neutered is money. Daniel and I ended up with way too much money by the end of Watch Dogs, whether from mini-games, quests, or ATM hacks. After purchasing all of the five-star weapons and the best cars from the app (by about the halfway mark), I had about $300,000 left over in change. By then, there's little need to complete any mini-games for cash. In Watch Dogs 2, there should be far more ways to use money, perhaps purchasing real estate, upgrades for safehouses, more room for explosives, better hacking equipment, etc.
In line with that, more clothing options and gun customization should be made available. Aiden Pearce is more of a super-spy than nothing else so the lack of disguises makes little sense. Maybe an Assassin can wear the same outfit in the 17th century and people won't notice, but in the modern world, the police and the general population would be able to pick out Aiden Pearce out from a crowd in seconds, what with his signature coat and handkerchief. (Heck, even I want that coat but it costs over $1,000 in the Ubisoft store.) Having disguises when Aiden enters a building would be more realistic for his character, playing things smart first before the proverbial shit hits the fan and he needs to whip out semi-auto shotgun to solve his problems.
What are some things you would like to see in Watch Dogs 2?
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