Finished my replay of Watch Dogs 2, and I can safely say that it is better than I remembered. Playing this right after WD1 is pretty eye opening, the jump in quality is like Uncharted 1 to Uncharted 2. WD1 felt undercooked in many aspects, and WD2 fleshed these aspects out to make a truly great game.
There are way more options in hacking now, and I think you can actually get through the game without using guns, provided you have unlocked all the necessary skills to hack the combat scenarios into your favor. My favorite hacks include accelerating a vehicle remotely to hit an enemy, and hacking a robot to make them hit everyone around them head on. I used the stun gun almost exclusively, it just feels wrong to make Marcus shoot people... although I did "accidentally" kill a lot of enemies with exploding transformers and such. Shoutout to the combat/stealth arenas, I keep thinking of the recent Hitman games when I'm sneaking around in them and looking for hacking opportunities to progress through.
San Francisco is a pretty lively and colorful place, and there's a lot of fun things to check out. The game incorporated more of the hacking mechanics into exploration and progression, with hiding upgrade points and other fun collectible in hard to reach areas, which makes exploring overall feels more exciting and rewarding. I had to skip quite a few of the collectibles that I stumbled upon, only because I can't figure out how to get them.
The story feels very loose, and I think that's fine since the characters and the interactions between them are the fun part of the story. The writing can feel quite naive and one dimensional at times, but honestly it's just too fun to kick the big bad companies in the butt, especially considering events in recent years. The main quests are quite fun, and there's a lot of special one-time gimmicks that makes them standout. The side quests can be interesting, and many of them has quite satisfying story moments, but objective-wise they leave a lot to be desired.
I'm glad that I decided to play this again. I don't know if I ever get to play Legion, but whatever happens, I still have this game to cherish the series, so it's all good. (8.5/10)