Watch_Dogs 2, from someone that likes Watch_Dogs 1!

Maybe I’m looking back with rose-colored glasses, but I seem to be one of the only 7 people  in the world that liked the original Watch_Dogs. I watched the preview trailer at E3 and was excited for it, as most people were. I picked up the game on release day, but unlike most people, I wasn’t immediately disappointed with the game because of the lack of incredible visuals. That is one of the flaws of Watch_Dogs. They showed it at E3 with incredible visuals and then when the game didn’t meet those expectations, people were up in arms. Soon they were finding other problems with the game, other reasons not to like it. I for one, enjoyed the game and enjoyed my experience with the game throughout most of the campaign and for a couple days after on the online multiplayer.

The main character, Aiden Pierce, is mostly forgettable. I actually had to Google his name to make sure it was correct. And the story is even more forgettable. I can’t remember anything that happened other than the end was a let down. I think there was a mercenary, but I can’t be sure. What I really enjoyed about the game was the setting and the mechanics. As someone originally from the Midwest, it was nice to see Chicago represented in a big budget video game. And while Chicago isn’t the only city to feature an above-ground train system, it felt like Watch_Dogs used it in a way that other games have been trying to for a long time. Once upgraded enough, Aiden could use his hacking abilities to stop and start the train from on top, which makes for some pretty entertaining evasions from the police. He could also control security cameras, manhole covers, ATMs, stoplights. Anything connected to the fictional ctOS system, which essentially is a city-wide communication array (easily hackable).

Unlike other games, there was no mini-game when you needed to hack something. It was just point and click. You wanted it done and it was done. Along with access to ctOS you would have a way to monitor random NPC’s. You would be able to look into their bank records and see their annual income, their occupations, age, and hobbies. Most people on the street were pretty mundane but occasionally you would find someone with a hilarious background. Kotaku has a page with some of the best.

So the city of Chicago was a good place to start. It wasn’t LA or NYC or Miami, places that I have been to before. It was a familiar place to me. While the city as a whole was great, it was the minor set pieces that really stick out.

One of my favorite things to do was drive some fast car through a tunnel with a draw bridge on the other side. Once the bridge was in sight, I hit the hack button and raised it, giving myself a makeshift ramp. Then, while driving at full speed, I would launch myself onto the aforementioned railway system and ride that for as long as I could. If I ever was chased by the police, my main goal was to get to that part of the city and use that exact escape route, leaving the in-game police in awe of my hacking and driving capabilities.

Along the same vein as that, there is a mission where you go to scrapyard and can activate all of these mechanical contraptions to defend the position. I had a lot of fun controlling the fire-breathing dragon machine while lobbing grenades to lure people into the inferno zone.

Another zone that I fondly remember is an enemy controlled tower. You had to assault the thing floor by floor, imagine the movie The Raid, fighting increasingly difficult enemies as you go. It was awesome, I had so much fun. Also (Spoilers) at the end, you can kill someone by hacking into their pacemaker and turning it off, so that was fun.

Anyway, Watch_Dogs 2 was announced with an 18-minute trailer/ behind the scenes look. New character, new city (San Fran), new hacking tools. Ubisoft is notorious for having good sequels (Assassin’s Creed to Assassin’s Creed 2, Far Cry 2 to Far Cry 3, Rayman to whatever Rayman is out now). But even without that track record, if they released Watch_Dogs 2 with an updated story, some new mechanics and a likeable character I would buy it in a heartbeat. I don’t need to see anything other than what’s in this trailer as I am already sold. Come November 15, I’ll be in line waiting to plunge back into the world controlled by Deadsec.

P.S. Watch_Dogs and Assassin’s Creed share the same universe, as Abstergo and Templars and Assassin’s are mentioned. So think of Watch_Dogs as a modern-day take on Assassin’s Creed, but without all the coming back to present time BS because you are already there.

42: X-Men Apocalypse, No Man’s Sky, & Pokemon!

In this episode, Justin and Tony talk about their experience with X-Men Apocalypse. Also, news of No Man’s Sky being delayed has an emotional effect on one of the cast. There are rumors that Pokemon is having translation issues and the question is posed if Assassin’s Creed would have originally made a better movie than a videogame.

Thanks for listening!

Notes:

Episode 42: Sex-Men Apocalypse

Prof. X and Apoc fight reminded me of Gandalf and Saruman

Forgot about Wolverine and was pleasantly surprised to see him even though he had bad hair and a stupid thing on his face/chest

I like Sansa Stark in everything

I would have preferred more time with each new character

Scott (Cyclops) is useless as always

Essex Company/ Mr. Sinister/ Cable/ Deadpool/ Clones/ Jean Grey/ Scott Summers

Better than I expected

Quicksilver scene was fun but maybe too humorous for the tone

Too many jokes break the tension

Where’s Psylocke going?

Why did Strom change sides at the end?

 

No Man’s Sky releasing August 9

Infinite Warfare most liked and disliked COD trailer of all time

First Episode of ELeague

Nintendo changing the names of Pokemon on China

Record Breaking: EVO now biggest tournament ever for Smash Wii U

Ragnarok will include elements of Planet Hulk

Xbox One back down to $299 before E3

Would Assassin’s Creed originally be better as a movie than a game?

40: Doom and Gamertags

 

Episode Notes

Transformers 5: The Last Knight (Comedy)

Assassin’s Creed movie has pre-order bonus

Xenoverse 2 coming stateside

Assassin’s Creed movie will mostly take place in 21st Century

Black Ops 1 backwards compatible on Xbone one, but not PS4 despite deal Sony deal with Activision on new COD games?

Microsoft releases old gamertags

Family Guy steals footage from youtube channel then video is removed copyright

Michael Keaton cast as Vulture for Homecoming?

Pokemon Apex

Pokemon GO Field Test

DOOM

 

Uncharted 4:

  • Best intro to an Uncharted yet?
  • Not sure if there is any other character I root for more than Drake
  • Pirates!
  • Crash Bandicoot!
  • Drake’s hair color changes
  • Rafe is Jake Gyllenhaal?
  • More open world feel. Different climbable paths
  • Climbing is much more fluid
  • Chapter 15 combat and climbing and stealth all become one

Sucker Punch Spider-Man

The Uncharted Collection – Review

As the Uncharted series of games have been out for a while I’ll not review each individual game separately but instead look at the first three installments as a whole. I approached Uncharted for the first time with this collection. I have a favorable opinion of the developer, Naughty Dog, from my experience with The Last of Us. They did not disappoint.

I have never played a game that has made me feel more like an action hero. Scenes of intense action and spectacle happen almost every chapter of the game. I think of this scene

Uncharted2
The attack helicopter bringing the building down around me.

in Uncharted 2 when an attack helicopter is destroying a building as I try to escape. I remember the pressure of running through the floors of the building thinking, “oh man, oh man…” over and over again, just trying to survive! Other parts of the story force you to hang on to the edge of a cliff, the camera angle shifting to show you what you could fall on. Through all of the trials Drake (the main character) and company experience I became emotionally attached to the story. I was thrilled with the victories, and saddened by losses and defeat.

Another aspect of the game that I find impressive is its level design. The environment is so well made, often I did not realize the level was on rails. I don’t always like being forced to take a specific path. However, Naughty Dog does environment creation so well that it makes the player naturally choose the correct path.

Collectively this collection of games imparts a common sense of danger and daring. Between the three games Drake’s Fortune, Among Thieves, and Drakes Deception. I found that the first two felt very similar in story and in gameplay. It’s almost as if Naughty Dog blazed a path with the first game and with the second paved and painted that path. The second is an improved and polished version of the first.

The third installment felt much different from those before. Instead of setting out and

Kid Drake
Kid Drake bein thug

competing with another treasure hunter, Drake begins his quest by trying to stop this illuminati-like group from finding a hidden Sir Francis Drake had found. We also get to play as kid-drake and find out how Sully and Drake become like Father and Son. I particularly enjoyed this section of the game. The dynamic between drake and Sully adds another enjoyable layer to this game.

I will say there are moments where the controls can become rather unwieldy. The climbing mechanics seemed to have improved with each new game but at a few points throughout the game became a negative experience. These are few and far between but can become rather frustrating and can leave a chapter as a frustrating mess of missed jumps.

Another negative, and truly a Naughty Dog problem, is their terrible trophies. Many games make trophies both challenging and fun. Naughty dog chooses to make its trophies both rote and un-creative. While games like fallout have trophies such as sneaking live-grenades into NPC’s pockets, Uncharted has trophies like “Get 50 kills with ” for every weapon in the game. Trophies are a way for developers to add a little extra replay value to their game and I believe Naughty has consistently failed at this.

To sum up my thoughts, I believe that Naughty Dog has created a lovable and memorable franchise. I was impressed with the storytelling, the environments, and the way they made me feel like an action hero. I highly recommend this game franchise to anyone who has not experienced it.

 

I give the Uncharted Collection a 9/10.

What rating would you give the franchise? Comment below!