If you’re looking to get into the open-world game genre, two options are consistently vying for the top spot of most popular in the category: Grand Theft Auto V and Watch Dogs 2. Both games have garnered high praise from critics and gamers alike, and both have loyal followings who defend their favorite game with fervor. So what exactly sets them apart? Are there differences between GTA V and Watch Dogs 2 that make one superior to the other? To give you an idea of where each game shines, this article will compare them in categories like graphics, gameplay, story, and more.
In Grand Theft Auto 5, you play as Franklin, a repo man working for a shady organization in Los Santos (the game’s stand-in for Los Angeles). The city is huge and open-ended, allowing you to explore however you see fit. You can drive or walk around, take part in missions or just cause mayhem on your own. That said, there’s a lot of freedom here: You can also choose what missions you complete—or ignore them altogether.
Watch Dogs 2
Pros & Cons: The jury is still out on whether or not Watch Dogs 2 is an improvement over its predecessor. Some people love it, while others hate it. And no matter what your personal opinion is on these video games, you can’t deny they’re both extremely different experiences. Let’s take a look at some of their similarities and differences.
Differences Between GTA V and Watch Dogs 2
GTA V is an open-world game, meaning it takes place in a vast city that you can explore however you choose. It gives you total freedom over how to approach your objectives, as opposed to Watch Dogs 2’s tighter mission structure. You still have freedom of choice—you can tackle missions stealthily or with guns blazing—but it’s limited compared to GTA 5. If you’re into free-roaming, watch Dogs won’t be for you.
The map in both games is expansive. In GTA, you have an entire city of Los Santos (based on Los Angeles) at your disposal. Though it’s set in San Andreas, that state spans from Red County in-land down to Bayside; from Vinewood Hills up north down past Del Perro Pier. As for Watch Dogs 2, you have a huge Bay Area at your disposal, complete with San Francisco (the real city), Oakland, and Silicon Valley.
Both games are considered open-world games, but there are a few differences here. With Watch Dogs 2, players take on a more active role in taking down enemy factions. The gameplay places more of an emphasis on combat, too. This isn’t so much true with Grand Theft Auto V—though there is combat, it’s often just not as prevalent as it is in other titles.
For example, one of my favorite features in Watch Dogs 2 is car customization. When you’re driving a customized vehicle that you’ve tricked out with a giant spoiler, upgraded brakes, and flashy rims, it’s impossible not to feel like a badass.
You can play through GTA V with a gamepad, but you’ll be missing out on a lot of features. At its core, it’s built for keyboard+mouse. For example, you have to map everything manually—there are no presets.
In comparison, GTA V has more weapons than its predecessor. There are more than a dozen types of guns you can use in both first-person and third-person perspectives. That said, only three—pistol, machine gun, and shotgun—are effective.
Gadgets & Special Abilities
GTA’s traditional real-world analog is full of gadgets that you can use to travel around. In addition, you’re able to take control of just about any vehicle in an open world that looks like Los Angeles, including planes and helicopters—but it isn’t realistic. The game has a lot of imagination when it comes to weapons, clothing, vehicles, landmarks, etc. It even includes special abilities for characters that let them run faster or swim faster than their human counterparts.
HUD & UI Elements
One of my favorite things about Watch Dogs 2 is that it doesn’t hold your hand when it comes to controls. You can use a controller or a keyboard & mouse, but either way, you have access to various features and abilities on your HUD. I appreciate that they aren’t hidden away, so I can switch weapons easily, change my settings, or even modify my vehicle.
At their core, both games are about hacking into a city’s systems. But that’s where their similarities end. If you’re new to one of these games or haven’t played either in a while, you might be wondering which game is better for you. Should you get Grand Theft Auto 5 or Watch Dogs 2?