Everything you do in Watch Dogs 2 is powered by social media. Hacking into cars, unlocking doors, controlling drone tech — it all hinges on the number of followers protagonist Marcus Holloway has during play. And everything you do in Watch Dogs 2 earns you more followers. Think of them like experience points, but modernized for the San Francisco Bay Area.
This system is one of the many improvements Ubisoft is bringing to Watch Dogs 2, which launches November 15 on PS4. Players help Marcus, a brilliant hacker and victim of wrongful accusation, build his notoriety in the hacker community. The more people that follow him, the more power he can draw from their collective hardware. And that means more potent hacks, longer control over tech, and a better time for the player.
Hacking in Watch Dogs 2 benefits from a serious upgrade. Aim your cursor at any hackable object and hold L1. This turns the face buttons on the DualShock 4 into contextual commands, opening up multiple strategic options for every vulnerable device. Marcus can drive a car remotely to summon a getaway vehicle, or send one unmanned into a busy intersection to slow down police. The more followers Marcus earns, the more control he has over the world around him.
This also extends into drone play. Marcus can send a drone skyward for a supremely helpful view of the mission area, marking enemies and even remote-hacking objects from above. Alternatively, Marcus can deploy a small jumper bot (adorable) into the fray, interacting with various fuse boxes and points of interest without ever leaving the safety of a nearby hiding spot. This style of play falls into one of three categories that Ubisoft has designed for: clearing a mission without ever setting foot in the space. Marcus can also stealth through his enemies, or go all-out with guns blazing.
Ubisoft has done an admirable job building out San Francisco and its surrounding cities to give players a massive stage for the chaos (as a Bay Area resident, it’s eerily familiar). Not only is San Francisco open to Marcus’ operations, he can also visit the port of Oakland and the city of San Mateo — home of PlayStation. No, I didn’t look for our office. Marcus is a busy man.
By the end of the game, players will feel the difference between early-game Marcus and late-game Marcus. With enough followers, the range and power of his hacks will change dramatically. Expect spectacular car chases, infiltrations, and shootouts — everything Watch Dogs 2 needs to compete in the open-world arena.
Dedsec invades San Francisco on November 15. Charge your phone.