Ubisoft’s best open world isn’t in Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry, but in Watch Dogs 2

The original Watch Dogs was an all-time stinker. Released back in 2014, it represented the absolute nadir of Ubisoft open-world design. It was a dour, joyless slog that had no idea how to actually engage with any of the themes or ideas raised by its near future Big Tech Dystopia setting. The protagonist – Aiden Dogs – instantly became the poster boy for bland, uninspired leading men in videogames.

The whole thing reeked of a design by committee obligation created solely to hype the potential of the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One, one of those swanky trailers for a launch title that’s destined to be quietly cancelled and forgotten about – but this one, inexplicably, made it to release somehow. That really should have been the end of Watch Dogs, and for many of you it probably was.

It’s hard to imagine a game that had fewer expectations than Watch Dogs 2. It seemed like a mistake at first, something Ubisoft had pencilled into their schedule under the assumption that the first game was going to be a smash hit. Lack of corporate oversight coupled with absolutely zero anticipation probably goes some way to explaining how it ended up being one of the greatest open-world videogames ever made.

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