Because I'm The Man of the People, I sort of leaned towards those who bought the game. It wasn't perfect - essentially a sort of sterile, humourless version of GTA, featuring a middle-aged focus group's idea of what a hacker should be - but the central gameplay conceit was actually real big fun.
Being a pervert, I liked prying into people's personal data, and I liked using the city around me as a weapon by turning its connectivity against my enemies. Plus, frankly, I thought the shooting and the driving were vastly superior to GTA's offerings.
Still, the criticism must've stung UbiSoft, because they've gone all out to improve on the main thing that critics felt was bad-faced with the original: they got rid of the protagonist, and introduced a bunch of new ones.
It's not unwelcome, but it does feel a bit like a work colleague being told they're boring, and then turning up at the office the next day wearing a piano keyboard tie, and blowing an airhorn, shouting "IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED THEN?!"
Watch Dogs 2 takes place in San Francisco, and - fundamentally - it plays exactly like its predecessor. It's another open-world map-mopper, another GTA-lite, which we've only had about two dozen of already this year,
In place of that man who wore a hoodie and looked like he'd come fresh from Video Game Character Central Casting, are a young, shades-wearing black dude, and bunch of socially awkward twentysomething hackers. They're clearly influenced by the TV show Mr Robot, to the point that one of them is evidently quite high on the autism spectrum. Although I can't work out whether they were playing that for laughs or not.
Humour is ramped up (one early mission has you stealing a Knight Rider-style talking car), and - while it doesn't always land - is welcome after the laugh-free wasteland of its predecessor. It still feels to me as if they're trying a bit too hard to be cool, a bit too hard to be likeable, but it's hard not to fault the intent.
Beyond that there's not much here that feels like a revolution; there are new hacking powers - you can summon the cops or gang members to descend on an opponent, which is a hoot - plus objects can usually be hacked in a number of ways (explode a gas pipe instantly or set it to explode when a pursuer drives over it, for instance). Plus, a lot of it will be played from the POV of your new drone and radio controlled car - neither of which are as annoying as such features often are when forced upon you in certain games.
Weirdly, where I found the stealth in Dishonored 2 something of a chore, it was always the approach I favoured in Watch Dogs 2. The hacking is so empowering that I wanted to play with it as much as possible, keeping my distance, and inflitrating bases remotely.
Despite borrowing so much from the GTA series, and UbiSoft's own model of littering an open world map with more side-content than most of us could ever see in our lifetimes, that hacking gameplay is enough in itself to make the game feel distinct.
There aren't a great many surprises in Watch Dogs 2 - it continues much as it begins, but the variety, partly driven by the different approaches offered by each mission, ensures that it has longevity to spare. This being UbiSoft, the offerings are expanded with missions and options played online, but at least they feel organic to the gameplay.
Ultimately, this worked for me due to a combination of gameplay which isn't offered by anything else out there, and by its attempts to feel characterful. The humour and its grasps at satire - Silicon Valley and Scientilogy both come in for stick - can often be heavy-handed, but it's better than the morose portent offered by almost everything else.
Also: hats off to the spot-on recreation of San Francisco. It's certainly not as compelling an environment as San Andreas or Liberty City - or even Mafia 3's semi-imagining of 1960s New Orleans. Nevertheless, it's still beautifully realised, and authentic.
In fact, it made me want to revisit San Francisco - a city I've not been back to since the Pickford Brothers took me and their entire company there in the early-00s.
They may remember me kindly offering to buy tickets in advance for all of us to visit Alcatraz. That was the least I could do, I thought, after they'd been so charitable. Except when I picked up the tickets at the booth I realised we were a ticket short, having failed to count myself among our number. And so I was the only one not to visit the Alcatraz that day, and had to go round the bay on a boat, by myself. I'm not bitter that nobody offered me their ticket. I just, y'know, have never forgotten it for all kinds of reasons, yeah...?
SUMMARY: I didn't quite leave my heart in San Francisco... but I did leave my trousers there.
SCORE: I 'unno.