10 Game Series that Need to Make a Comeback

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Over the years, the gaming industry has spawned countless titles that cover about every possible genre to be imagined. Many IPs made it into long-running franchises, that either thrive off improvements or drag the series along with yet another sequel. Among the large number of titles are excellent games which have become venerable franchises, followed by large crowds of gamers, however it becomes easy to overlook some ideas that have been lost along the way. Some franchises lie dormant, or worse, they disappear from the radar with seemingly no hope of getting continued. Many fan favourites have ended too soon, and there is no talk of them ever getting a sequel. Whether they had a great concept or offered excellent entertainment, many games deserve to be continued, and many franchises are still welcome to make a comeback to the current gaming market. I pick some games and franchises that I used to play, and also some that I heard were really good, to make a list of games that players desperately want to come back at some point in time. Many of these, fans would be dying to see again, which makes these ideas worth bringing back. These games have lied dormant over years for multiple reasons, sometimes it’s a company’s bankruptcy or an idea is simply shelved, but their original creations remain good to this day. Here are the 10 series that haven’t been heard of in a while, but desperately need to get a new outing.

Burnout

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Burnout Paradise

Burnout was an extremely fun racing series, which culminated with an excellent Burnout Paradise. The nature of gameplay involved intense speeds and spectacular crashes that set the series apart from other racing titles. Before Paradise, Burnout games have featured a linear progression with many challenges to complete and cars to unlock, and were still a blast to play. Even the PSP titles, Legends and Dominator, although lacking the complexity of other titles in the franchise, still offered a compelling Burnout experience. And Paradise was simply stellar, offering an open-world set within a dense urban city. Challenges were fun, and the added exploration elements took up many hours to complete, plus the soundtrack was quite good, except the song Paradise by Guns N’ Roses is bound to get annoying really fast. Paradise even included a vast amount of cars to race in, and the career offered a lot of content, even if it felt repetitive to complete the entirety of it. On a modern game engine, a new Burnout would look absolutely stellar, especially if it was EA’s own Frostbite 3. Unfortunately, no rumours have been heard about a possible Burnout title, and Criterion Games have been off the news radar for quite a while.

Crash Bandicoot

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Crash Bandicoot has been off the radar for a very long time, and it’s a shame, because those games were really fun third-person action platformers, filled with beautiful locations and interesting characters. The controls are smooth and even the PSP releases that I used to have were filled with hours of content, not to mention that Crash Bandicoot had really neat gameplay elements. The series stood out with its style and mechanics, and gained many fans despite an abundance of excellent platformers on the market. Last year’s Ratchet & Clank proved that people still have a thing for third-person colourful platformers, and we desperately need to see another game out of this memorable series.

Command & Conquer

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Besides its mediocre 4th entry, Command & Conquer is considered by many as one of the staples in the strategy genre, and many especially like the over the top Red Alert spin-off. The series lays dormant since 2010, and although for some time fans were promised C&C: Generals 2, its release would have only upset gamers. EA’s idea of a sequel to Generals was bound to be a free-to-play title with micro-transactions, so its failure to release avoided the series trouble of upsetting the fans, although the 4th instalment somewhat already did so. At present, there is no word of a possible Command & Conquer game, as the EA sits on top of this property, and no news regarding the state of the series have been released either. Maybe when EA finds the time right, we could yet see another title out of this franchise, and if adapted to an RTS, the Frostbite 3 engine would make visually impressive battlefields.

Crysis

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Crysis in many respects was one of the best first-person shooters, combining stealth and gunplay to create the game with many approaches. The first Crysis is still regarded as a PC-killer and won’t run well on anything modern, mostly due to lack of optimization. It was also one of the more innovative shooters of its time and offered a visually stellar island to explore in a semi-open world. Crysis 2 brought the series to consoles, and a strictly linear progression changed the freedom of the previous game to create a more Call of Duty-like experience. With that said, Crysis 2 absolutely nailed its pacing by blending stealth and explosive set-pieces, and by offering an engaging narrative and diverse enemies, the game is fun to replay even today. Finally, Crysis 3 built a blend of its two predecessors, although in the process offered a much shorter campaign. Its semi-open locations offered freedom and additional missions, while the game’s visuals looked stellar. It’s still fun to play these games and the series should definitely spawn a sequel at some point. Crytek haven’t been doing too well financially so we would never know if the series will ever get continued.

Medal of Honor

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Before Warfighter did an awful job at bringing the series into the modern shooter genre, similar to the mediocre reboot of the series in 2010, Medal of Honor used to be an engaging series set in events of World War II. The games are far from polished by modern standards and it already seems like Battlefield is set on track to reinvent these moments of world history. There no longer seems to be an appeal in another Medal of Honor game, and it’s a shame, as originals featured excellent campaigns to match the gameplay, but the unsuccessful reboots might as well have buried the franchise. Medal of Honor could use a revival and best way to do it would be to return to its World War II roots.

Splinter Cell

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Splinter Cell was an excellent stealth franchise that almost got ruined by lazy spin-offs and action-focused titles. Thankfully, Splinter Cell: Blacklist came along and fixed most of the errors, not only returning the series to its roots, but also offering the most polished experience with graphical standards to match. I immensely enjoyed Splinter Cell: Blacklist, which offers multiple ways to play a mission with a varied set of tools and weapons at players’ disposal. Along with that, there is a fun multiplayer mode to be busy with after completing the game’s campaign. Chaos Theory is considered by many to be the best for its open stealth gameplay, and the first three games overall offer a great experience. Not much has been heard since Blacklist’s release in 2013, and although it hasn’t been too long, the franchise is currently shelved in Ubisoft’s future release plans and no rumours have been known so far. Considering the level of polish that Blacklist received, however, a new title in the series would be certainly welcome.

Supreme Commander

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Warfare on a massive scale has never been done better than in Supreme Commander, featuring massive units and diverse factions. The first title is widely considered to be one of the best strategy games of all time, although the series has been let down by the disappointment of the second title, which somewhat improved matters in its consecutive DLC. Supreme Commander was very impressive, allowing players to control large armies with some of the most interesting units I’ve seen in RTS. Among the factions, Cybrans offer badass units capable of not only dealing large amounts of damage, but also looking incredibly cool. Walking ships? Check. A Giant Dinosaur that expels flame? Check. A Huge Spider Bot wielding a massive laser? Also check. On top of that, Supreme Commander offered a complex research tree spread across all types of units, and an entire development is dedicated to the commander bot. Oh, you just had to make sure those didn’t die or it’s over. Square Enix currently holds the publishing rights to the series, however the company is focused on other projects and currently no consideration for a sequel is expressed.

Dune

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Dune is another series I used to play a lot, which went silent a rather while ago. Dune 2000 was an immensely fun strategy game, and it’s sequel, Emperor: Battle for Dune added 3D graphics and more diversity into the franchise. The series features interesting lore based off the Dune series by Frank Herbert, although it never really managed to convey a decent plot. Each of the 3 factions largely played the same apart from special units, even looking exactly the same and only Emperor completely changed visuals for each. The improvements in that title were a great way for the franchise to keep moving forward, but with Emperor: Battle for Dune, the series came to an end. Westwood Studios, who developed the game, no longer exists, and the concept seems likely to be buried. Although many of its mechanics would no longer be considered viable on the field of modern RTS, Dune is a unique series that could use another well-polished title.

Half-Life

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Oh, Half-Life. The internet has spawned a never-ending speculation about development of Half-Life 3, and Valve remains completely silent, continuously working on improving Steam as a distribution platform. Valve haven’t released anything for a while, although many fans desperately want to see a third entry in the Half-Life series. But so far, we’ve just been teased by possible talks of a sequel. The franchise captured gamers’ attention for featuring innovative gameplay and is still considered by many as a staple of the shooter genre. Half-Life 2 was especially groundbreaking at the time of its release, and managed to offer many hours of content to pair with an interesting world. Valve always release high quality games, and we’ve been waiting a long time for this to happen, so the series needs to make a comeback. Come on Valve, where are you keeping Half-Life 3?

Dead Space

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Dead Space used to be a neat horror series with some survival elements, until EA decided to release an action game for its third title instead. Although the original Dead Space was in fact a better horror game, I prefer Dead Space 2 with its level of polish and an intense journey through the depths of the Titan station. The game blends survival moments with fast-paced action-sequences, such as when you’re falling towards the station from the sun relay, and creates a tense experience while offering a lot of entertainment. Dead Space 3, however, fell under the greed of EA, which at the time, considered it best to release an action game, to the appeal of this series. To offend fans further, Dead Space 3 also featured micro-transactions for its crafting system, something unheard of before in a single-player game, and inclusion of Co-op didn’t improve the matters. Dead Space 3 was a step away from the unique appeal of the series, which also sent Visceral Games tasked with different project. Possibly one day we’ll see another Dead Space game, it will likely make no sense to do a sequel, but its universe just waits to be explored.

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My Favourite Units in RTS Games

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Strategy games are only as fun as their unit selections make them and it’s crucial to give players a varied tool set.  The evolution of RTS over the years has created countless ridiculous tanks, weird machines and devastating weapons. Every game offers many unique units to distinguish itself from others, and some are bound to become favourites. I’ve decided to put together a list of units I’ve had the most fun using in strategy games and they are my personal pick to be on this list. The only criteria for it is that they come from the strategy games I’ve played, and I do not restrict the entries to one unit per game either. Unfortunately, these units have to be available in multiplayer of their games as well or otherwise the list would be too huge, so I can’t include the awesome Sajuuk ship from Homeworld 2 or the Hyperion Battlecruiser from StarCraft 2. The rest on this list are powerful weapons of destruction that are my favourite picks among the RTS Units. Comment which ones you like.

The Hand of Ruk – Grey Goo

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Each of Grey Goo’s factions have unique super units capable of devastating large armies, however nothing is capable of such versatility as Beta faction’s Hand of Ruk. This unit is a low-flying platform with a massive ranged cannon that destroys everything in its path, and can even function as a mobile factory. The versatility comes from 6 unit placements, where smaller tanks can hop to provide additional firepower, and naturally, types of units slotted affect the platform’s operation. Fill it up with regular tanks, and the Hand of Ruk gains close-range capabilities, artillery will provide additional ranged support, and so on. It is also the only one of epic units to have anti-air defences, which often comes in handy. The Hand of Ruk works best with diverse unit setups, but regardless, this epic unit packs in large amounts of firepower. Oh how much I like watching a giant cannon obliterate everything in the area it hits.

Higaaran Battlecruiser – Homeworld 2

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I grew up watching sci-fi space movies, and my favourite moments always included massive space battles. There’s something epic about watching an armada emerge from hyperspace, laser beams and torpedoes firing to obliterate everything in their path. Playing Homeworld Remastered reminded me a lot about the sci-fi movies I used to watch, and nothing demonstrates power like a Higaaran Battlecruiser. I’d build about 6 of those and install hyperspace modules, and then the enemy can very much surrender right then. These massive ships can only be built in Shipyards, making them late game units, but the trade-off is completely worth it. With their two powerful ion cannons, Higaaran Battlecruisers severely weaken any enemy that is in their line of fire, reducing even the largest units to complete rubble. In numbers, these can completely obliterate an enemy within minutes, and even swarms of bombers take a while to bring one of them down, making the Battlecruiser my favourite ship within Homeworld. The only field they lack in is epic space music as I send 6 of them into hyperspace.

Savager Dreadnought – Ashes of the Singularity

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All dreadnoughts in Ashes of the Singularity are epic in their own way, but nothing comes close to the hulking mass of Substrate’s Savager Dreadnought. Its sleek lines still manage to create a very aggressive look, and it can almost look like a living organism. Just look at it. However, its main feature is the ginormous beam cannon that sits right at the front. The beam annihilates everything in its path, ranging from small unit armies to other dreadnoughts, and its slow fire rate does little to hurt the sheer amount of power it gets. You’d want to have it protected by a smaller army when engaging against massive groups, but the Savager’s weapon plows through units. And although PHC’s anti-heavy dreadnought looks just as badass, Substrate’s Savager takes a spot as my favourite because of its better offensive capabilities.

Dark Archon – StarCraft: Brood War

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If you thought this list would just be about epic war machines, you’re quite mistaken, and I have a sneaky surprise slotted right here. The Dark Archon in StarCraft: Brood War is formed through merging two dark templars and cannot physically attack on its own. Wait, what? Instead, its psychic abilities make the unit really powerful. Feedback instantly kills enemy units, Maelstrom temporarily disables any biological units in the area, but the real show stealer is the Mind Control ability. In essence, with the Dark Archon you can easily play as all three races if successfully capturing an enemy worker, and each will have their own supply limit. The effect is not temporary either and allows to fully control any enemy unit for the length of its life. So while a Dark Archon presents little threat on its own, its abilities can create a lot of chaos.

Protoss Mothership – StarCraft 2

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The Protoss Mothership is one of the most sophisticated units in StarCraft 2, and often has the potential to break the game. It is a massive resource requirement, but when it comes to the battlefield, all bets are off. It doesn’t cause mass damage on its own even though its still powerful, but its main selling point is its abilities. The Mothership is one of my favourites simply because if you see one, you know you’re screwed. Its likely because there is always a massive army coming right behind it, hidden from sight under the Mothership’s cloaking ability. I’d always bring many Void Rays or Carriers with this ship, and watch the enemy get completely obliterated. In contrast, if things aren’t going too well, you could always recall your army to the nearest base.

Terran Battlecruiser – StarCraft 2

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If you want warfare done effectively, you a) build your warships to walk on ground Supreme Commander style or b) make a big space ship that can freely enter the atmosphere without falling to forces of gravity. The terrans in StarCraft 2 have done the latter, creating a cruiser that can be effective both in air and space. This unit takes a lot of resources and time to make, rendering it useless for timed attacks, however if you have the time to advance this far, as I’ve seen in many 3v3 games in Heart of the Swarm, there are few units capable of stopping mass battlecruiser. These ships also have thick armour, making each perfect against numerous infantry, and its Yamato Cannon deals high damage to large units. Battlecruisers are my favourite to use since StarCraft: Brood War and their effectiveness helps in any battlefield.

Zerg Ultralisk – StarCraft 2

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This picture pretty much says everything about Zerg’s Ultralisk. Its a massive bio mass that can still somehow walk, or should I rather say, charge into the battlefield. The massive armour shell allows it to withstand a lot of damage, especially if fully upgraded. On the offensive, just look at those claws, although I wish these units played just as epic as they look in the game’s cinematic cutscenes. Still, mass Ultralisk tends to work pretty well in multiplayer, and I’d often get completely screwed if I chose to go with a ground army. I normally wouldn’t use them myself because I suck at multiplayer, but when I do, Ultralisks create a lot of fun moments as their scythes cut through defending units.

Monkey Lord Experimental Bot – Supreme Commander

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Futuristic spider bots are always cool, just ask anyone, but nothing delivers a message better than a massive hulk towering way above the ground armies. Meet the Monkey Lord – a giant spider tank used by the Cybran faction and if I saw one of those in real life, I’d probably die from terror on the spot. Forget the Megalith spider bot – it’s tiny in comparison to this ginormous tank. The Monkey Lord moves slowly around the battlefield on its massive six legs, but its presence is instantly noticeable once that huge laser beam comes online. I simply enjoyed watching it evaporate anything in its path. Even if building the tank takes an enormous factory and lots of resources, the Monkey Lord is completely worth it and makes it one of my favourites because of its massive size and sweet design. Giant spider bots are just really fun.

Devastator Tank – Dune 2000

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Among the cubic units of Dune 2000, the Devastator Tank is the most powerful, especially built in mass numbers. Apart from the main cannons with a lot of damage, the tank can be set to self-destruct, damaging anything in its path. Its great for tanks with low health, but not so much when you click the function by accident, or an Ordos Deviator puts control of it in enemy hands. I really cringed the few times I accidentally blew up one of my Devastators, only to watch six other tanks evaporate along with it. Stupid accidents aside, it is one of the most entertaining units to watch, even though they are slow and the noise from its cannons is bound to drive you crazy.

NIAB Tank – Emperor: Battle for Dune

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The NIAB Tank is a really weird entity, both in its looks and the abilities it possesses. As one of the sub-factions in Emperor: Battle for Dune, the Niab are mysterious species and also really powerful. While it takes a massive temple to produce these units, the NIAB tank possess teleportation, making them extremely useful for hit-and-run attacks, and of course, collecting crates around the map. The tank disappointingly has low durability, but is capable of causing a lot of damage through lightning beams which face in all directions. To add to it, the tank just looks super weird with a living organism sitting inside the green frame. Among the many intriguing units of sub-factions in Emperor: Battle for Dune, the NIAB tank has yet to be topped.

Air Defence Platform – Emperor: Battle for Dune

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Emperor: Battle for Dune introduced flying units to the series, and one of the best is the Air Defence Platform in possession of the house Harkonnen. It’s a slow unit, but the platform is capable of attacking both ground and air units, which makes it really effective when placed in a smart spot. I always liked messing around with the enemy by taking out all the carry-alls for Harvesters, and it dramatically impacts the opponent’s economy. The only downside is that the platform is quite weak and doesn’t take long to get destroyed. But hey, if the enemy lacks anti-air defences, you could win the entire game just by building these.

Avatar Warmech – Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars

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Now what list of epic RTS units would be complete without at least one giant war mech, and Nod’s Avatar Warmech in C&C 3 gets the spot. This large mech takes on smaller armies, capable of not only obliterating small units by the numbers with its laser cannon, but also crushing infantry and light tanks beneath its feet. As standard, it only comes with a single Obelisk laser cannon, however can be further upgraded to include a variety of weapons, which makes it very usable. Interestingly, the process happens by using its free arm to destroy another Nod unit, after which the Avatar gains a new weapon or ability. Moreover, it looks seriously cool and inflicts a lot of damage, which makes it one of the best units to use in the game.

Watch Dogs 2 Review – Hacking San Francisco

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Developer: Ubisoft Studios; Publisher: Ubisoft

Released: November 29, 2016; Reviewed On: PC

Core i5-6500 3.2 GHz; 16GB DDR4 RAM; GeForce GTX 1070 8GB

 

Improving over every aspect of its predecessor, Watch Dogs 2 blew my expectations out of the water. Its portrayal of hackers still remains goofy, and apparently all you need is a cell phone and an app to break the system. Yet, its GTA-like world design and the gorgeous San Francisco setting create one of the most entertaining games to have come out in 2016. I for one, didn’t hate the original Watch Dogs (mostly because I haven’t paid attention to its massive hype train) and found it to be a generic, but still fun experience. Watch Dogs 2 in turn is a sequel done right, and although its ideas conflict against one another significantly more than in the past, it offers an engaging story and open mission design, along with a dense and detailed sandbox. At the end of the day, it is fun to hack underground pipes (yeah somehow you can do that) to explode a car coming after you, or to run on a rampage provided you can survive.

Watch Dogs 2 learns a lot from the mistakes of its predecessor, including the notion that it’s probably best to step far back on the media hype train. Sure, we’ve seen plenty of trailers and gameplay before release, yet Watch Dogs 2 didn’t promise us incredible graphics, nor a “living” world. The goofy tone of the game works to its advantage to create a fun experience, unlike the bland grey colours of Chicago in Watch Dogs. Not to mention its protagonist, Aiden Pearce, and don’t even get me started on him. Thankfully, Watch Dogs 2 introduces a group of likeable characters who strive to achieve change in digitalized society. Marcus Holloway and his friends constantly throw jokes around and often act goofy, especially the intro sequence where everyone gets drunk. By the end, I still didn’t really care for the supporting cast, but they were nice to talk to between most of the missions when I had to come back to the HQ. I found the plot to be quite interesting, and there’s plenty of criticism to be found relating to the real world, which addresses problems of our digitalized age. Watch Dogs 2 even features 3D printing to create all your weapons and tools; like how cool is that.

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San Francisco Bay area is far from biggest maps in open-world games, but Ubisoft made sure to pack in all important landmarks and incredible levels of detail. Unlike greys and browns of Chicago in Watch Dogs, the new city is a goofy and colourful setting, full of things to do. In typical fashion of Ubisoft sandbox games, San Francisco is filled to the brim with meaningless side activities that only serve to fill up that progression bar, however I managed to find plenty of interesting tasks to fill up my thirty or so hours it took to complete the game. Despite the repetitive nature of its side activities, Watch Dogs 2 never got to the point where I was completely bored – there was always something to do and I even often found myself simply cruising down the streets of San Francisco.

As with any other Ubisoft game, Watch Dogs 2 fills up fast with side activities. Both the map and your phone, which acts as a mission hub, soon become cluttered with icons and records. Among the flow of the main storyline, the game contains side missions, races, crime events, hacking, various collectibles – you name it. In a typical manner to all other sandbox games, these serve to fill up the experience bar, disguised here under the “followers” system. Somehow, everything you do enhances traffic through DedSec’s mobile app, which gives your crew access to people’s computers for processing power. With that said, in the end, all it comes down to is unlocking the final main mission, which already sits in your phone log from the very start of the game. It just goes to show how mundane Ubisoft’s sandbox games have become – there is no sense of a connected story, just a “to do” list of tasks. Although this is one of my biggest complaints, I’ve also found some things to like here. In example, the city’s points of interests are no longer laid out on the map and you have to individually locate them all and use your phone to take pictures. The game is filled to the brim with finer detail, which is there to enhance player experience.

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Watch Dogs 2 continues the series on by blending stealth and action gameplay, which are still very much at odds here. You can still easily blast your way through multiple cars’ worth of enemies, but Marcus’ durability in firefights is not any better than Aiden Pearce’s. The tone of the story also encourages non-lethal progress, which is where I have gripes with the game’s story. Watch Dogs 2 has a huge disconnect between its story and everything the player can do in the game, which often reflects in mission objectives too. I’d go from listening to Marcus talk about social freedoms and change, yet the next minute I’m blowing up 2 cars and killing enemies. None of my rampage would be reflective in the next story bit either, as characters would go about with the scripted plot. It’s not a big complaint but I do feel like the game’s tone wants a non-lethal approach over anything. Thankfully, options in Watch Dogs 2 are diverse, and either approach offers many tools.

Naturally, hacking brings many ways to approach an objective and Marcus’ fancy skills with a computer can get him anywhere. The two drones at your disposal – a jumper drone and a quad copter – allow for easy mapping of enemy positions for a stealth approach, although its more fun to ignore all that. If I ever got detected, I’d simply shoot everyone dead and proceed with the objective. The AI guards are fairly simple, and even large groups still don’t have what it takes to do a lot of damage, although don’t forget your health also drops really fast. Naturally, you can hack into anything in the game with a press of a button, turning the environment to your advantage. Marcus can easily interface with CTOS, a digital system powering everything in the city, which lets the player control traffic lights, blow steam pipes, listen in on people’s conversations and so on. With it, you also have to hack into cameras for unlocking doors, while Marcus sits down with his computer. Some times like those, I got detected, so I’d recommend hiding somewhere for best results. A lot often, however, stealth really feels dull from repetition, which is why I seldom used it. Going through the same motions gets boring quite fast, and there’s plenty of that over the 30 hours of gameplay.

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The skill tree in Watch Dogs 2 focuses a lot on hacking abilities, and over time, Marcus is able to use more and more parts of CTOS 2.0 to his advantage. While not a lot can be done at the start, I was soon able to manipulate traffic, blow up steam pipes and even cause parked cars to move on their own. It’s all cool at the start when you try it, but can get stale during the game’s runtime. Added to that, at least half of the skills web is absolutely useless, in usual fashion of Ubisoft games. The City Disruption tree is the only one really worth investing into, while most offer incremental upgrades over the existing tools. Each skill is worth 4-8 research points as well, which can be a total waste for the boring skills, but thankfully you get 6-8 points for every time you level up. More powerful skills require to obtain Key Data from restricted areas, so it’s just another thing to do on the list of side activities. But after all, its fun to wire other people’s money to your bank account.

Marcus has a full arsenal of 3D printed weapons, including shotguns, sniper rifles and grenade launchers. The shooting doesn’t feel as responsive as I would have liked, and the cover system is simply awkward. Moving from cover to cover just doesn’t feel right, and the character either clips to it or runs backward out in the open. Considering how many enemies flank you, it got annoying after a while, although I still wouldn’t say I died a lot on the game’s standard difficulty. Most of the time, my screen was just filled up with red, and health regenerates ridiculously fast even for an action game. Again, its hard to see this relate to peaceful intentions of DedSec in the game’s story, but I’d rather have it over tranquilizer guns, so Watch Dogs 2 wins either way. Guns have never ruined a sandbox game, and Watch Dogs 2 makes great use of variety to give players freedom.

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On that notion, the police in Watch Dogs 2 are bound to get really frustrating. Their frequent response is shoot first, ask questions later, and they get pissed at you over the smallest things. Upon stealing a car near a police vehicle once, I was met with a hail of gunfire – so much for discretion. But hey, at least you don’t get murdered for speeding. Eventually, you grow your arsenal to deal with all of that, however Marcus’ resilience doesn’t change a bit – you still die a lot. Despite that, I still preferred to use guns for most of the main missions, and really why wouldn’t you. There are no repercussions to shooting up an entire building full of guards, and Watch Dogs 2 doesn’t even fail you for messing up stealth like I’d expect an Ubisoft game to do. And now that I mention stealth, expect to fail that a lot (unless you’re one of those perfectionist types). NPCs would call 911 for the stupidest reasons, such as the one mission where you have to get into a New Dawn church building. I tried to access the roof through raising a platform and next thing I know I have a couple cop cars coming my way. Pretty sure trespassing is not supposed to get me shot, but Watch Dogs 2 police clearly don’t give a shit.

To that extent, car chases can take frustratingly long, especially dealing with 4-star heat. Cops are relentless even against minor crimes, and floaty car handling does nothing to improve the manners. Cars generally drive well, and there is surprising variety in how different vehicles feel, but when I need precision to squeeze into a small alley, all bets are off. More often than not I’d happen to crash right after enemies lose sight of me and that gets me right back into the sights of the helicopter sniper. Unlike in its predecessor, Watch Dogs 2 allows to fire from a moving car, and often to hilarious results. Blowing up tires causes enemy cars to flip over and crash, although it is not the only way to get rid of pursuit. Marcus easily manipulates traffic lights, and exploding steam pipes is usually the best solution. Cars themselves are very diverse, although I recognized most of them from the previous game. Variation reflects the city’s contrast, and the more expensive cars can be found in Marin or Silicon Valley, and of course, you’ll see Teslas driving around. I never got bored from driving around either, and although there are certain points the game lets you fast-travel to, it takes away from the enjoyment of driving in San Francisco. Still, it is very useful to have that just in case the commute becomes a hassle, and Watch Dogs 2 does well with its map design.

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Visually, Watch Dogs 2 looks really impressive, although you’d want to have a beefy system to back it up. The PC port is a lot better this time and no longer runs like shit, however its also quite advanced and even with a GTX 1070 on 1080p, I had to disable some high end settings like upscaling and Ambient Occlusion, which is something to keep in mind. The trade-off is worth it though, and Watch Dogs 2 looks incredible, especially during the daytime. San Francisco is filled to the brim with detail, ranging from dense vegetation to many of its parks to light reflections as you drive downtown in the middle of the night. Paired with extensive draw distances on PC,  San Francisco feels huge, although its combined map is still quite smaller than biggest open-worlds. The city appears incredibly diverse to make a fun playground different to most games. Watch Dogs 2 creates a stark contrast between its areas, yet manages to connect them seamlessly at the same time. Still, driving near the city’s core, you can spot poverty and gang hangouts, while the expensive houses in outlying hills reflect a very peaceful atmosphere (frequently interrupted by me if I happen to be driving a muscle car).

Watch Dogs 2 does a lot right to improve the disappointment of its predecessor, although it is still not a perfect game. The repetition in its open-world design is still there, and most of main missions can’t impress, but the developers took steps to make the game feel slightly different from the company’s typical output. Ubisoft have created a really fun sandbox by setting the game in San Francisco, which is a joy to explore. The vibe of the game has been changed significantly, replacing the boring revenge story and dull Aiden Pearce with a cast of funny relatable characters. Although its often at odds with itself, this move has worked great to place the series in the right direction, and despite the non-violent story contradicting with explosive action gameplay, Watch Dogs 2 is a lot of fun to play.

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The Verdict: 

Watch Dogs 2 is a step in the right direction for the series and heavily improves on the original. Although a lot of repetition can still be found in this game, San Francisco is a great playground for numerous activities and Watch Dogs 2 offers extensive variety in its gameplay tools. It’s one of the most fun open-world games I’ve played in a while, and definitely worth checking out.