A new, two-part content rollout for Watch Dogs 2 begins April 17, when a free upgrade will add new competitive multiplayer modes, armored trucks to raid and hack, and a nonlethal paintball rifle, among other things. The next day, the No Compromise DLC hits PS4 (with PC and Xbox One to follow on May 18), bringing a new story arc, new single-player time trials, and more to Season Pass holders (or those who purchase it separately). There’s a lot to dive into, so here’s a quick look at what’s in store, based on our time playing the new content.
Caught on Camera
No Compromise’s Moscow Gambit operation is a series of new story missions that begin with Marcus hacking his way into an adult-film studio to humiliate the director of a DedSec porn parody (who’s also been on the hacker collective’s radar for more sinister reasons for a long time).
After crashing a rooftop party by way of climbable architecture and a flimsily locked gate, we took control of a security camera inside the multi-story porn palace. We then then hopped between it and a maze of other cameras to find our target, pausing only to watch actors fumble through BDSM scene rehearsals and argue about scripts. It wasn’t long before we hopped into “Pokey,” which might be the most creative use of a Tidis security robot we’ve seen yet.
Sadly, our time with the moaning, grunting robot was short-lived. After swiping a hefty amount of Russian mobster money from the studio’s accounts and dollying around the sets by taking control of several full-sized film cameras, we finally found the director – who reluctantly submitted to an on-camera paddling from Marcus.
I Am the Law
It’s a lighthearted opener for what quickly becomes a life-or-death struggle against Russian mobsters – apparently, our pal the director is connected to the wrong kinds of people – but it’s just the beginning of what No Compromise has to offer. Players hungry for more of Watch Dogs 2’s races can now battle the clock in six new single-player time trials, and pacifistic types can neutralize foes nonlethally with an air shotgun (which is most effective at very close range, and also great for knocking people off cliffs) and a sniper stun rifle (essentially a longer-range version of Marcus’ stun gun).
More interesting still are the new Emergency Services customization items, which enable Marcus to dress up like a cop, firefighter, or paramedic, complete with appropriate vehicles available through the Cars On Demand app. These aren’t just for looks, either – each outfit and vehicle comes with a unique ability. For example, each costumes gives Marcus a new emote for use on civilians; as a police officer, he can order people to walk away, and as a paramedic, he can wake unconscious people (even if he’s the one who beat them up in the first place). Meanwhile, the vehicles let you do things like use NetHack while driving.
Some of the biggest additions will arrive in the free April 17 update, which includes new outfits, a paintball rifle (which can stun foes with enough hits and splat up the screens of rival players), and two new multiplayer match types: races and Showd0wn. We started with new four-player versions of the drone, motocross, and eKart races, which will feel instantly familiar to anyone who spent much time with them in single-player. With everyone’s rides evenly matched, victory comes down to skill, speed, and confidence – and once you’ve got a good group together, you can keep playing indefinitely, voting after each match on which race type and/or map you want to tackle next.
By contrast, Showd0wn is a much less friendly contest. Showdown’s 2v2 team matches are no-rules battles intended for experienced players. Pushing you to use all your skills to get an edge against your opponents, Showd0wn cycles you through three different match types at locations around the map: Hack the Servers, in which one team has to defend three terminals while the other team tries to hack them; Steal the HDD, a race to grab hard drives that spawn in tough-to-reach locations, with the match going to the first team to collect three; and Doomload, in which teams compete to download data by getting as close as possible to a hard-to-defend node while keeping their opponents away.
“It’s endgame content,” says Frédéric Vincent, Showd0wn’s game designer. “We want players to really face a challenge, and to be able to show that they’re the best against other highly skilled players. It’s really for players who’ve grinded the main game, mastered all the skills and tools, and want to show off a little.”
At first, it was easy for us to rely on just gunning down opposing players to take (or defend) the objectives, but it soon became clear that wasn’t enough. Hacking and Doomload objectives often appeared in hard-to-defend areas with minimal cover, and HDDs regularly spawned in places that required drones and/or creative thinking to reach – between the walls of cells at Alcatraz, for example, or on un-climbable pylons in the middle of the bay. Success here means staying in constant communication with your partner, using your hacking skills to lock down entrances and create traps, and keeping an eye out for any nearby vehicles that might absorb a few extra shots or give you a platform to get within reach of high-altitude objectives.
“We wanted to allow players to use whatever play styles they want,” Vincent says. “If they want to play stealthy and try to use nonlethal weapons, they can, because you can complete all the objectives without killing anyone. It’s a little bit harder when you face another player, but it’s a possibility, and if a player wants to try that, they can.”
Showd0wn is an intense experience – and again, it’ll be free on all platforms when the April 17 update goes live. Watch Dogs 2 is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC; for more on the game, check out our previous coverage: