The culmination of this year’s game season is here and the Ubisoft studio has also started its ride, which has decided to ruin its fans financially. The first to come is the city’s Watch Dogs: Legion event, or the third part of the already established hacker brand. Apart from moving to London in the near future, it promised, in particular, an innovative way of playability, enabling control of any character, but also, of course, a significant graphic shift. We’ll look at how developers have dealt with big goals in the following review.
The tough life of the hacker
The DedSec hacking group does not have an easy life. We have been able to see this in previous episodes and the situation does not change this time either. London is slowly recovering from the recent bombings of which the organization was accused. At the same time, the capital comes under the control of the militarist group Albion, which has taken control of all aspects of human life.
Gone are certainties such as security, privacy and freedom. London is plagued by fear, oppression and control of public and private life are the order of the day. In short, Albion has mastered all the key links in human life while also representing local institutions. Big Brother is constantly watching, which is indicated quite ostentatiously by hundreds of flying drones capable of deciphering any sign of unwanted resistance.
The key points of the plot thus again copy the current tendencies of the game series about the hacker group as a symbol of the struggle for the restoration of human freedom and dignity in the over-technological city of the near future. This time, the developers have moved the focus of the story to London, which is proving to be an excellent step. You might not be exactly thrilled right from the beginning, however, the first passage through the city will dispell any unnecessary fears in a completely stunning way. City events are always based mainly in an excellent game environment, and that’s exactly what Ubisoft’s London, without a doubt, is.
Details make perfection.
The level of detail and fidelity to reality, combined with the utopian vision of the near future, is truly breathtaking, as is the resulting presentation. On one hand, there is always a game world, but on the other hand, there is also the ability to sell this environment to players. Ubisoft has done an excellent job in this regard, offering an incredibly energetic, vibrant and believable London that you will devour every meter, every second of play, in all its levels.
Whether you are in the subway, in secluded streets, in notorious realities, in residential areas or bouncing on rooftops, there will always be something to discover and it will always be the right time to stop and just enjoy the view or watch the local population. Or have a little insight into people’s privacy.
Hello, do you want to join us?
That’s what the Watch Dogs series has always been about. And even in the Legion, of course, none of this approach changes. Again, you’ll be able to map any citizen of the city, track his steps, uncover his hidden secrets, or even recruit him to DedSec. This mechanics is one of the main attractions of the Legion and it is a really attractive attraction. In contrast to previous episodes, the Watch Dogs Legion does not have a clearly defined main character. This becomes the organization itself as a whole, composed of its individual members.
Who will form this team is up to you. You can recruit almost anyone depending on your needs. The whole system is simple, though maybe a little lengthy. After a basic screening of a potential recruit and the selection of the most suitable one, it is enough to contact the person and help with his problem such as securing data, taking photos, etc.
However, recruiting new members of DedSec not only fulfills the role of side tasks, but also stands at the basis of the entire philosophy of the game. This is because the permanent death mode can be activated, which brings a new charge to the overall playability.
If your member dies while completing a task, he or she is lost forever. The mission must be completed by one of the other members. You will be really worried about recruits because each of them has different abilities. Losing each one them is always quite painful. Fortunately, death is not the only way out of failure, unless you use brutal violence, you have a chance of being imprisoned for a while. Do you have a lawyer on the team? This is the one that can help you get back into the game faster.
Nothing is perfect.
This Ubisoft’s new game mechanic is a pleasant diversion, though it also brings a few buts. First of all, it is the absence of a strong main character, and thus the impossibility of identifying with the game hero in any way. For most of the game, you will constantly change members, and so you will build your own bond based on specific skills, rather than a personal bond to the character as such and to the motives of his actions.
In Watch Dogs: Legion, the main character is DedSec as a whole, which can be quite a problem for someone due to the anonymous nature of the group. The second shortcoming of this game mechanics then stems from their very basics. Thanks to the myriad of game characters, the overall variability of mission fulfilment is growing. Unfortunately, after the longer playing of the game, cracks appear in the form of their mutual similarity.
Although each of the characters offers little different options, the resulting gameplay does not strengthen in any way. You can go through the whole game in peace with a single member and you will not be deprived of anything. The feeling of free freedom is rather minimal in this respect. Certain advantages, such as faster hacking, unlimited reach or access to secure areas based on clothing, are pleasant, but in the end, you can do without them.
Since the mentioned permanent death function may not suit everyone, it is optional. Unfortunately, it is not possible to change it while playing. So to be more precise, its reactivation is no longer possible. If you enter the game without an active mode of permanent death, you are unlucky, it can no longer be changed. Likewise, if you deactivate the function while playing. And that’s quite a shame. We understand that players would abuse this option in situations of crisis and it is against the very essence of this feature, but we are talking about a game here anyway (in addition, from Ubisoft’s workshop, which is full of bigger nonsense) and everyone should be able to use game features as he wants to.
The evolution of the gameplay
As for the gameplay itself in general, it is based on the principles laid down in the first and especially the second part of the series. In particular, the stealth procedure comes to the fore, which is definitely a more advantageous and, above all, more fun option. There are, of course, a number of different ‘toys’, from electronic spiders, through drones, loopholes, invisibility, etc. In this respect, the Legion is not very different from its predecessors, therefore players are not too surprised by some of the news.
In addition to the main mission, there are, of course, a number of other side missions and additional activities known from other city events, only set in the overall context and concept of playability. The content of the tasks, especially the side tasks, however, starts to repeat itself unpleasantly after some time. Pinning cameras, obtaining evidence, or hacking systems is certainly a fun affair using a number of gadgets, but it still gets slightly stereotypical over time. In this respect, the new part does not deviate significantly from the series.
Of course, a progressive system of upgrading or purchasing new upgrades from the game currency is also available. There are two of them. One is used to buy cosmetic elements, the other to make hacker gadgets or weapons available. Their profit is, of course, conditioned by the fulfilment of individual missions. However, there is another currency, the real one. With this, you can buy premium skins and cosmetic nonsense of a somewhat tacky character.
The old generation is not catching up
We must also focus on the technical processing and graphics of the game. Watch Dogs: Legion comes at the time of the arrival of a new generation of consoles, which of course affected the overall state of the game, both positively and negatively. Undoubtedly, the graphic processing is at a high level.
The title looks great and we are already looking forward to what it will be like in full force on the new Xbox or Playstation 5. Unfortunately, the optimization of the game itself has suffered greatly from this fact, which is appalling on the old generation of consoles where for example on X Box One S you can witness a poor performance in a matter of quite often disturbing bouncing textures, unnaturally blurred backgrounds in the distance, drops in fps or so-called tearing, especially when driving a car.
Watch Dogs: Legion is not a well-optimized game, at least not for the Xbox One S console. On PS4 you might see significantly fewer problems, so this is mainly a specific case and a specific platform. However, it was these problems that eventually brushed the final evaluation by several points.
We only hope that the developers had optimized the game well for the upcoming new consoles, which will be crucial for its future sales.
As for the technical state of the game itself, it is an experienced standard of Ubisoft worlds, including traditional ailments and bugs. The developers have not seen any progress in this regard. Get ready for a series of comic situations and bugs resulting from pathetic artificial intelligence or random and unlikely events so typical in Ubisoft games. But we are all probably used to it and we take this fact with a grain of salt.
Watch Dogs: The Legion certainly didn’t disappoint, but it didn’t impress at the same time. The developers have prepared a beautifully crafted game environment in the form of London in the near future and more or less similar gameplay style from the previous part. Overall, the title revives the possibility of countless game characters, but the overall potential has not been fully reached, and rather than a revolutionary element, it is an imaginative cosmetic tweak that many may not appreciate. In essence, the title represents a slight evolution of the entire series and the classic Ubisoft world with its pros and cons. However, poor optimization can’t be forgiven, especially on the tested Xbox One S. We can only hope for at least a partial correction.