Some more games I've played recently
The original watch_dogs felt decidedly half baked, set in chicago it followed psychopath "hacker" Aiden Pierce as he blasted his way through scores of people on a hacking revenge story. The main problem besides a the unlikable hero with it was no fun to play. It felt like the first Assassins Creed an extended tech demo that needed another six months to work out what to do with itself. Indeed one of the DLC's was actually a lot more fun than the main game becoming this weird buddy cop style story with two of the minor characters. The whole hacking part of it and themes of privacy and control were really not that important in the first game with the big brotherish CtOS and company running it Blume being a backdrop rather than a main story element.
In Watch_Dogs2 the location is now San Francisco with a small section of the bay area (It doesn't get as far down the bay as where I am San Jose but it includes bits like Palo Alto and Oakland as well as the Marin Headlands). Moving the location to silicon valley makes a lot of sense they can explore and poke fun at the various silicon valley entities. The main character rather than a vigilante on a revenge trip you play as Marcus a hacker who has been profiled by the CtOS 2.0 (a city wide operating system of surveillance that ties in all cameras, internet, phones, atm's, cars, traffic lights,tv, and basically any system you can imagine into this huge monitoring and control system) such that it has classified him as a high risk and so he's being treated as guilty of crimes he hasn't committed (indeed that no one has done yet). He hooks up with hacker group DedSec to fight the system.
Rather than a grim vigilante he's more a hacktivist prankster they hack into various places to find out why the various corporate entities tied into the CtOS system are abusing it to their own gain like insurance companies using your purchase history to increase premiums when you buy fast food.
It's a lot lighter themed and a lot more about the group of activists than just the lone protagonist. The game focuses on gaining followers by exposing corruption and misuse big and small the game world excuse is these people then load the dedsec app and donate processing power of their phones to the various hacker toys at your disposal. The game does have some great toys too, pretty soon you get the rc jumper a little remote control car that can jump and act as a control point and remote camera to access various systems. A lot of the missions can be completed using this device and never actually physically entering the building. It's fun to roll it around jumping onto things to access paths through the ventilation system or other hidden tracks it gives a lot of flexibility. Later you get the quadcopter which can't do any physical hacks but is great for getting a good overview or scanning a particular bit of hardware remotely. Eventually it gets an upgrade where you can use it to drop stun or kill bombs.
The movement has also gotten an upgrade, Aiden was pretty much unable to jump this time Marcus is a bit more active not assassins creed levels of motion but he can jump or climb on things. Combined with the RC toys you can come at targets from a multitude of angles. In the previous game you could use your wacking stick to non lethal takedowns but it didn't really have a non lethal path in the game even when you made the effort not to kill people the game often assumed you had killed them all in the next cut scene. With w_d2 you have a melee option where you wack them with a pool ball on a string which I guess is non lethal or a variety of stun guns including a stun grenade launcher which has friendly fire if you are not careful.
Combat is a little frustrating I went mostly non lethal but unlike a lot of stealth games you can't reposition bodies out of sight so taking people down if there are roving guards is usually counter productive. The game plays a lot with distracting the AI moving it away by making a conduit spark or some such. Going full lethal combat is tricky too enemies can call for backup and if you can't stop them you can get overwhelmed fast so the focus is often on isolating the ones able to call for backup taking them out if you can.
The hacker tools have been tweaked and changes some of them are really fun. You fairly quickly get the car override control which allows you to make a car accelerate forward reverse hard or turn hard left or right. It's a lot of fun to do this to cops either chasing you or just stopped at the lights having them suddenly turn left and drive into a wall is hilarious. When driving you can also make people move out of the way with this trick.
It's also a beautiful game the bay area rendered in glorious colours and with recognisable detail I've driven about and recognised places like lombard street or the castro theater or fisherman's wharf as well as alcatraz the coit tower the trans am building and the golden gate and the bay bridge. It's a truncated version of reality but fairly accurate in the broad strokes. One of the activities you can do is take selfies at various key land marks and famous locations. Another is you become a driver for a uber like service but usually you have to do some special thing like stunts or follow a robot or some such.
The game plays on the various bay area companies mostly they are not 100% copies they take parts and combine them so there is the search giant Nudle and the social media company Nvite the robotics company tidus and one that's a space company the name of which I forget. It pokes fun at the companies and their attitudes often exaggerated or mutated from their real world counterpart. The nudle busses that are everywhere driving their employees to work at the nudle campus where the buildings are covered with slides was nicely observed.
The missions are fun and multistep affairs with main ones focusing on blume or one of the big companies then a lot of smaller side missions that are more general. The story is much more focussed on blume and the CtOS 2.0 the possibilities of abuse that sort of system would have the way handing over all your data and having no control can be a very bad thing.
In general it's a much more fun game with plenty of activities to try and lots of improvements to the hacker themed gameplay. The story is more playful more themed around the group of hackers and their exploits it's greatly improved over the original in almost every aspect. I didn't try the online parts of it (I turned all the invasion and such mission modes off where someone can invade your game as it was annoying as fuck on the previous one).
Final Fantasy 15
Not played as much of this one yet as it only showed up the other day and I was busy with Watch_dogs2
It's a very pretty game where you spend a lot of time in a car driving along watching things go by.
The combat seems fun it's real time but it has a tendency to throw loads and loads of enemies at you at once and so far I don't seem to have any crowd control abilities so you get overwhelmed fast. You have these warp powers but they seem a bit fernicaty not always working not always doing what you want (you can teleport up high hanging out of combat to regenerate health and magic but half the time he just warps randomly rather than doing that). It also seems to throw you against enemies massively above your level I was doing a level 11 quest and I was maybe 15 so it should have been easy but the area it was in was full of level 27 enemies and one level 50 and swarms of level 16. So I would just get ground to paste before I could even get to the target.
Not sure if I'm just playing things wrong or if there is some trick I'm supposed to know.
Pretty graphics but like most of these games the story is impenetrable. Not sure if I'll stick at it.