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  • Accidental Innuendo: "Now entering Painted Ladies". The titular ladies are houses, and entering their vicinity causes the message to appear.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Marcus has gotten a bit of this due to his backstory. Is he really fighting for the good of the people? Or is his grudge against the system ruining his common sense, and he's just using DedSec as a convenient method? The fact that some news outlets treat the latter as canon, despite no current evidence, does not help. Alternatively, is he a hypocrite who responded to being profiled by becoming what the ctOS predicted he would become?
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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Watch Dogs 2 was met with a mixed reception when first announced, largely due to the bad blood that had been formed around the game. When it was released, many players were surprised that, like Assassin's Creed 2 seven years prior, Ubisoft took the criticisms of the first game to heart and improved in nearly every area. Ultimately, while the game didn't sell nearly as well as the original at first, it had much better staying power thanks to positive word-of-mouth.
  • Anvilicious:
    • One of the more major criticisms the game has received is that so much of it is Ripped from the Headlines, though some have argued that themes in the game really hit home.
    • If the game's themes on Big Data and almost total lack of privacy in everyday life aren't blatantly obvious already, one of DedSec's early announcement videos sums it up nice and neat.
      "You are worth less than the data you produce."
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    • The main character constantly complaining how hard it was for him to be black in America gets a bit grating.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The fact one can finish it without killing anyone has gotten thanks from some of the first game's fans, who found Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy in it.
    • As with Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, Ubisoft is clearly listening to the constant complaints about their tendency towards having a White Male Lead, and accusations of misogyny against the first one. The new Player Character is black, they have an Action Girl on the team, and generally a more diverse group of heroes.
    • Aiden Pearce got a lot of flak from players for being a generic anti-hero with little personality and having a pretty depressing story. This appears to be fixed with Marcus who not only has more fun with his hacking missions, but he has a role in DedSec who also show a comedic side to all their anarchy, making Marcus the Ezio to Aiden's Altaïr.
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    • One throw affects two different groups. The multiplayer trailer confirmed a much larger selection of clothing options when compared to the first game, pleasing both those who didn't like the Palette Swap outfits from the first game and those who dislike Marcus's default appearance.
    • The April update adds a trio of non-lethal weapons, including a taser sniper rifle, addressing complaints that the base game didn't have enough options.
  • Awesome Music: Considering that Hudson Mohawke composed the game's soundtrack, there's bound to be a bunch of gems. Highlights include Play n' Go, Shanghaied and Watch Dogs Theme.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Wrench, as of the gameplay demo, has become this. Some love his attitude, his mask, his Anti-Hero traits, and his Dark Is Not Evil concept, while some hate him for the exact same reasons.
    • Lennie. Some find her funny, others find her to be a really obnoxious and pointless character who adds nothing of significance to the story.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: When Marcus is out traveling, he and Wrench can suddenly break into a conversation about Alien vs. Predator and debate who would actually win. It comes out of nowhere and has nothing to do with the task at hand.
  • Broken Base:
    • Does the first game even deserve a sequel? And if so, should it be Lighter and Softer or more like the first one?
    • The new cast being Younger and Hipper has caused a major gap between those who hate that the game is appealing to "kiddies" and hipsters, with others trying to defend the new cast by saying at least they have fun.
  • Designated Hero: Depending on your point of view, the DedSec group falls into this, especially Marcus if you choose to play him as gun-toting and trigger happy, and Wrench, who always opts for the most destructive way to solve a mission and who also hates animals. Even if you're not, they still commit all the crimes they accuse Blume of doing in stealing people's information and election tampering. The fact that the reputation meter present in the first game is removed in the second game didn't help matters.
  • Designated Villain: Blume Corporation is the primary target of the game despite the fact it's crimes are limited to mass data-mining (which is how at least three tech giants and numerous software companies made money), insider trading (which is the least of white collar crimes to most people), and election fraud. Many players can't really get themselves too worked up about this versus the previous game's enemies of human traffickers. Subverted, to an extent when it's revealed Blume was behind the 2007 financial crisis and is working with Tidis to make spider-tanks against civilians).
    • Dusan is another figure who is of questionable evil given the majority of what he's doing to oppose DedSec is actually his job as CTO. He's also the guy defending the law since DedSec breaks it routinely. He even gets a few Pet the Dog moments like getting the FBI to back off of the group as well as people who want their heads. Also punching and suing Steven Bader.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Whilst he doesn't get much characterization, Horatio became beloved among much of the audience due to being a relatable, kind, and sweet member of the heroes, not to mention being the only other black member of DedSec. Many players admitted to breaking a Pacifist Run when the Tezcas killed him.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Mr. Robot fans have taken a liking to the second game, it seems. Rami Malek, an actor from the show, even hosted a livestream on Twitch of the game.
  • Game-Breaker: The distraction ability trivialises stealth encounters since you effectively render an enemy blind for several seconds, giving you plenty of time to walk past them, have your car hack a terminal they are standing in front of or use a stealth takedown. It's just as effective in battle, paralysing even armoured elite enemies and setting them up for an instant-kill melee attack. It's also ridiculously cheap and spammable (requiring only one bar of energy with the right upgrades).
    • The mass communication hack variant is even more powerful, stunning every enemy nearby and letting you easily run rings around the squad of guards seeking you out or the swat team after your blood.
    • The ability to call a gang hit or an arrest on someone, especially after it's been upgraded. You'll barely have to do anything to clear a restricted area once you've called one of these groups, since the group you called will almost certainly come into conflict with the other group, sparking a bloody skirmish that will severely cripple or outright annihilate the group guarding the area. Just call the cops/gangs and watch the sparks fly!
  • Good Bad Bugs: Normally, Marcus has to wear glasses all the time, either regular glasses or sunglasses in various shapes. By unlocking the Shuffler outfit and equipping the whole set, you can remove his glasses and then also change his other outfit part.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: "Human Conditions" DLC has the mission "Bad Medicine" which is about a hospital being crippled by a cyberattack. While a cyberattack targeting public sectors did happened around 2015-2016, those cases are mostly localized. Human Conditions DLC was released in March 2017, two months before a real-life global-scale devastating cyberattack crippled many (although thankfully, not all) public sectors worldwide, including a few hospitals.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Just a few weeks after the game was released, an unknown group hacked San Francisco's municipal public transport system, freezing ticket terminals and forcing the city to give free subway rides until the terminals can be fixed.
    • While this game has a parody of Knight Rider, both franchises did have groups named 'New Dawn', which both were criminal organisations, except the group in the show were a group of terrorists with a very twisted leader willing to kill hostages to get his own way and was willing to kill said hostages and his own Mooks with a doomsday device.
  • Ho Yay: Wrench and Marcus are very close. Wrench is always playfully flirting with Marcus, who isn't about the be outdone either. There's even a scene where Wrench tries to kiss Marcus. Not surprising at all, Wrench/Marcus (Wrencus, Marench, Hollowrench) is the most popular ship in the fandom.
    • The DLC layer it on even more than the main game. It has Marcus and Wrench joking that the sexual tension between them has gone from underlying to overt, Marcus calling Wrench his "VIP", Wrench punching a hole in the wall when he hears Marcus was almost killed by the Russian Mafia, hugging Marcus very long and very tight and then literally begging Marcus to let him in on the payback mission. Marcus is incredibly touched by this and can be seen smiling softly at Wrench on more than one occasion when Wrench isn't looking. It's highly unlikely Ubisoft don't know what this looks like.
    • Also the side mission Ghost Signal. Marcus follows the 52-Hertz Whale signal but once he's on the trail he gets locked in and has to hack his way out. Wrench, who has been incredibly enthusiastic about the whole thing up until this point, suddenly goes dead serious and tells Marcus he'll come to bust him out. The also present Sitara only tells him to quit dicking around.
    • Marcus at one point plays wingman for Wrench, who is crushing on a waitress. She appears for roughly thirty seconds, has maybe two lines, and, aside from Wrench having a photo of her in his garage, isn't mentioned again. However, when T-Bone asks Marcus whether he enjoyed gazing into their target's eyes (for a picture of his eye for a retina scan, mind you) Wrench is...suspiciously serious when stating that Marcus has way better taste than that.
  • Inferred Holocaust: In one mission, when trying to take over one of Blume's server farms in South Korea through a satellite, DedSec shuts down the entire electricity grid of South Korea. The satellite view literally shows the entire country blacking out until both North and South becomes equally dark. The blackout is roughly on par in size with the Northeast blackout of 2003, and no big deal is made out of it except one small comment from T-Bone raising concerns about the potential outcomes of this action, seeing that he had done the same before.
  • Love to Hate: Dusan is incredibly competent and genuinely respectful of DedSec, but also a total douchebag, not to mention the main villain of the game. Many like his demeanor as a douchy hipster, and name it as making him more satisfying to take down.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The mass distraction hack plays the hack sound effect several times in a row. It's surprisingly satisfying to hear.
    • There's something very warm in the sound Marcus' phone makes when it vibrates.
    • Get the Cyberdriver car after you unlock it when you complete its mission. Then get the Speed Boost perk. The roar of the engine is awesome itself, but when you combine it with the reverb the Speed Boost gives, you'll feel like an absolute badass as you drive through the streets of San Francisco like a true Jimmy Siska.
  • Narm: The Totally Radical nature of DedSec is so over-emphasized that many people find it more distracting rather than endearing. With a few reviewers saying they sound more like what a group middle-aged writers think hipsters would talk like.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Despite the inherent cheesiness amongst the DedSec ranks and their Totally Radical nature, many also find the sheer amount of fun they're having to be incredibly enjoyable.
    • The in-universe series CyberDriver. From what we see of it it seems to be the definition of cliche 80s and 90s action flicks but it looks like a total blast from start to finish.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The "Robot War" finale is one of the creepiest parts of the game. Tidis is planning to build military robots to police civilians. Oh, and they have a Spider Tank, which, thankfully, ends up used for good rather than evil.
    • The Shuffler sidequest. All across the city are four graffiti tags said to be left by a monster called The Shuffler, who preys on people near train rails by leaving these graffiti tags to drive people insane. Every time you take a picture of one of the Shuffler graffitis, you get one of four tapes left by people who tried to make a documentary on the legend, who haven't been heard from since. Josh determines that the symbols are a simple A-to-Z substitution cypher, and you're put on a quest to crack the message. All throughout, the group swap accounts of the legend to freak Josh out a bit. Unlike most sidequests of this caliber, however, there is no Mind Screwdriver or elaborate hoax. The Shuffler is real. Upon going to a specific place at a specific time, Marcus finds a new graffiti marking that just appears before him. The moment he examines it, he finds himself stuck in a void filling his mind with disturbing imagery and foreign information, shouting for it to stop. When he wakes up, he finds an outfit covered in The Shuffler's alphabet, and reasserts to himself that nothing he saw was real, not as an act of rationality but to protect his own sanity.
      • By the way, that outfit? It has a perk associated with it: you get a stealth kill that lets you channel this strange power and use it to crumple up foes like a wad of paper. As you probably imagine, not a pleasant way to go...
  • Paranoia Fuel: The PSA-esque introduction video after the introductory mission. "You are worth less than the data you produce" indeed, after the narrator explains how corporations and governments exploit the people and the data.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Some people have criticized the heavy use of memes throughout the city, except the real life San Francisco has memes used in advertisements everywhere.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Now that the game is actually out, most people seem to find DedSec's personalities and genuine idealism charming and charismatic.
  • Spiritual Licensee: A bunch of hackers in a city run by a Mega-Corp who they have to take down using hacking? Is it WD-2 or Mr. Robot? Leads to Friendly Fandoms.
    • It might be considered one for Little Brother. Both are about hackers, the protagonists have similar names (Marcus Halloway= Marcus Yallow), live in a tyranny-controlled San Francisco, and were accused of crimes they didn't commit.
    • A Wide Open Sandbox taking place in a West Coast city based on/set in San Fran and the surrounding countryside, following the adventures of a black man falsely accused of a crime. Is this Watch Dogs 2 or (part of) Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? San Andreas likewise had San Fierro, a San Francisco Fantasy Counterpart Culture and likewise featured a hacker among CJ's SF crew, whose missions involve RC powered planes and remote bombs.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Of the initial DedSec members, it's very noticeable that one of them (Horatio) never shows up in any of the side missions. Thus, it's pretty obvious that one way or another, they won't be staying with DedSec until the end of the game.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: The game is largely agreed to be an improvement over the first due to a Lighter and Softer tone, a more likable protagonist, an increased emphasis on hacking and infiltration via drones and allowing you to explore the entire world from the start, rather than forcing you to unlock it using radio towers. Though there are some elements that have been met with criticism from some fans, such as being forced to collect research points to unlock certain skills (despite the first game having nothing of the sort), the side activities being less interesting than the ones in the first game, and the villains not being particularly threatening or intimidating compared to the ones in the previous game.
  • The Scrappy: Lennie is loathed by a significant amount of the player base thanks to being exceptionally annoying (to the point where Dedsec come off as tame in comparison) and one-dimensional stereotype who contributes little of anything to the main plot.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Enemies being able to wake up on their own after being stunned(as opposed to other games where they stay stunned until someone else finds them) has been criticized by some people, as it discourages a non-lethal play-style due to enemies not staying stunned very long, and you don't get many non-lethal methods compared to series like Deus Ex, so killing enemies feels far more efficient.
      • Adding to this, while the devs consider melee non-lethal, the game for whatever reason treats melee'd enemies the same as dead; if a paramedic examines a melee victim, they'll declare the victim dead. This makes a true non-lethal playthrough even more difficult, if melee is off the table as well.
    • The game doesn't seem to understand the word "No". When you start a Co-op mission, the game starts searching for another player to help you. The problem is that cancel simply doesn't work, even when all online settings are turned off. Que a few minutes of careful planning ruined by someone running in guns blazing. You can kick players by opening your phone and pressing triangle/Y/, but they need to appear in your game before they can be kicked out, and the fact that the game asks you but ignores your decision means that they should not be allowed to join, period.
    • The lack of customization on weaponry apart from choosing paint jobs and which weapon you prefer to equip.
    • Armoured trucks, due to how they were incorporated into player bounty hunts. If you search for a bounty to hunt, sometimes you're thrown into a session with an armoured truck, which is just a free for all capture the flag type game, and the police hunt all the players rather than team up with the bounty hunters. Basically, pick the bounty hunt mode and it's random whether you'll actually get into the bounty hunt mode, or the free for all armoured truck mode.
    • Sometimes, other players can randomly roam in your session, which can be distracting from whatever you're doing.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A minor example. The May 2017 update made changes to the leaderboards. While they are easier to read, Ubisoft decided it was a good idea to lock the higher leaderboard spots with a time lock. Previously, you could just reserve a few hours just grinding co-op missions until you reach the minimum score to unlock new clothing items; a timer that blocks you from reaching said scores until several days later needs you to launch the game every few days.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Out of all the DedSec members, Horatio got the least amount of focus. He doesn't have any side-missions and he only joins you for one mainline mission. It gives his death scene a lot less impact.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • With the increased emphasis on hacking, stealth and the Lighter and Softer tone, there are a few people who wonder if the series would become more interesting if gunplay was removed altogether, or that it at least carried some kind of penalty to use lethal force during missions, depending on whom it is used against. Those in favour point out that deadly shootouts doesn't match DedSec's motivations (and also contradicts things like Marcus' desire to Clear His Name), that stealth has been applauded while gunplay (or at least playing the game as it is a Third-Person Shooter as opposed to Stealth Video Game) has been seen as one of the weaker aspects of the game (as going guns blazing will pit you against heavily armored enemies AND some of them can call reinforcements, while strategically use melee and gadgets can bring down even heavily armored enemies quicker).
    • One of the problems is the game itself discourages use of non-lethal weapons, since unlike in most games, enemies can wake up on their own after being stunned by tasers and electrical attacks, but not melee attacks (as opposed to other games like Hitman, Deus Ex and Splinter Cell where other enemies need to wake them up) and they don't stay stunned for very long, so it's far more efficient and less-risky to do takedowns on every single enemy to avoid dealing with them later.
    • A major point in the marketing was the ability to hack vehicles to move them remotely. Given the first game having dozens of car chases in the game it could be assumed that this hack would be used to great effect in car chases, instead however there are hardly any chases built into the story.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • The first trailer for 2 had many deriding it over the first one's So Okay, It's Average status. However, the gameplay demo won people over by proving that it was Lighter and Softer, and catered to multiple styles. Even better received has been the next one, which states that yes, the game is improving on an older formula from 1.
    • Marcus's support has increased since the demo demonstrated how much of a Nice Guy he is.
    • The multiplayer trailer saved the game in the eyes of a lot of people, showing off the new features in co-op, and guess what? The game can still be played offline.
    • The revelation that they've exponentially increased the hacking options to include much more city infrastructure.
    • The PC port, released a few weeks later; actually averts a Porting Disaster, given Ubisoft's notorious porting track record...

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