Does Watch Dogs 2 get hacking right?

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Watch Dogs 2 is out and one thing that stands out with this installment in the series is the hacking. After a lot of complaints from people playing the first installment, the developers consulted real hackers for the sequel, but does it show. It is a rather important element to get right, since it’s the core of the gameplay.

Though it’s not entirely unthinkable to think a system like ctOS would control every aspect of our lives, seeing how Microsoft, UNIX, Google and Facebook has basically managed that in some way or another, they went a bit overboard with it in the first game. Like why would industrial complexes that spends millions of dollars every year to keep their industrial secrets hidden suddenly switch from a self-contained closed circuit camera surveillance with local handling of door systems to one that’s basically put online for anyone to hack? And with such vulnerabilities, why would the owner of the company that made the operating system even use it in his own house, instead of using a closed system that’s based on it for added security?

All of that is human error though, and judging by recent developments in several countries, it’s not unreasonable to believe that an entire city would fall under the ctOS spell. But would they fall for it twice? Or is this new version different?

In short, no. For some reason, the new version, called HAUM, is even more integrated, this time extending to abilities like controlling the gas pedal of any motorized vehicle in San Francisco. In fact, you can even hack air vents open… as in metal bars in front of a ventilation shaft… as in no mechanical or electrical components in them, just metal bars. You don’t kick them down, you don’t unscrew them, you pick up your smartphone and press a button while looking at it.

However, unlike the first game, not everything is connected to HAUM, and you have to rely on other gadgets, such as a drone and a remote controlled utility car called “Jumper” to physically integrate with the closed security systems. The realism gets even higher, when certain missions only gives you a target and a destination, but no way of knowing what route the target will take. Also, the aforementioned car hack is not limited to the gas pedal, you can actually remotely drive the car… but you do that with buttons rather than a joystick and you can’t remotely see what a driver would see, so it’s clunky and very realistic.

To end it all with an answer to the question, I would say that Watch Dogs 2 get hacking a lot more realistic than the first game, without requiring the player to know anything about hacking.

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