Ideas that have never been drawn before, things that have never been put on the table or that no one has ever tried to do. Things like this in Watch Dogs: Legion.
We don’t know if it’s a game born of a completely crazy team, or one that went out and tried to revive one of the most repetitive and at the same time invisible characters in the open world game, NPC characters.
The idea that has accompanied us in so many games that we have lost count, and that Ubisoft Toronto was crazy, or brave?
The third major installment of the Watch Dogs arrives this week, and we bring you a standard version of any open world game we’ve seen in recent years, but with an obvious twist as unexpected: knowing to be anyone. Manage a mechanic, a construction worker, a policeman and an elderly woman on the move.
That was the idea the team brought to the table when they introduced the WD: Legion, and one that we were able to feel comfortable as we walked the streets of their visible London to enhance this analysis. “Nah, you’re crazy”, we told ourselves when we started and realized that each NPC is a person who should be hired, someone who will join our army to build a revolution that will overthrow a government that continued to be dictatorial and corrupt.
It all starts with an introduction with a protagonist in the pure form of James Bond, an attack that kills a large part of the city of London and an organization, Day Zero, that organizes everything and blames those who want to quit, DedSec. But most of all, it starts with a clear message: alone, you are nothing.
That is the beginning of a structure where there is no “I”. Here there is no hero with a name and surname, there are many, and they are all ordinary citizens who join the revolution because they are tired, because they know they are being lied to and because they want to live in a world where arbitrary arrests of the day, or when drones do not control all the steps they take.
Protagonism is still distributed among as many characters as we want (within certain limits), although we can say that the real culprit here is the DedSec hacker organization, not just any DedSec, but the one we build with each we hire that we put at our level.
An important change, because it is also evident that the team has contributed more to its work in this area of excellence and complexity. In fact, Watch Dogs was born as a franchise when device hacking became a major act of working with a world completely washed away from technology. And this is always the case, even though its value may not always be the same.
We are already accustomed to hitting cameras on a plane, hacking drones to control them silently or causing chaos in urban vehicles by controlling traffic tracks by pressing a few buttons. Make no mistake, it works well, and it has been fixed to make it easier for us to do more. But it doesn’t really matter.
That goes a long way, even though it is still fun and exciting. The point is that it now shares a focus with very little change. Now the verb is used in the main heading, in the organization that gives its name to the game.
It is two elements supported by the London-based tandem with amazing details. After all, it is under the vision of the future and the society surrounded by the military, Albion, which has a carte blanche to enforce for itself. And yet, we are amazed at the level of detail and familiarity we find. Excellent work, and Ubisoft already has some really bad ones.
Aside from trying to unravel Zero Day and reveal the truth after the revolution that changed everything in this densely populated city, one of the player’s most important goals here is to regain public trust. DedSec should tarnish its image by helping people, harassing government advertising and winning venues like City or Westminster in order to gain public favor.
That’s what leads us on a great map and, at the same time, offers an amazing range of opportunities. You always have a big goal to achieve, however, and you can also spend time giving a few touches to the ball, changing your wardrobe at a sewing shop or, more importantly, improving your organization’s image and hiring more people … on the go.
Because each NPC has a story, needs and priorities. You may be supporting DedSec and you should throw the cable at him with everyday things like preventing members of the Kelley family from breaking his legs, helping him get into health care services or just telling him to come with you.
Each character who can have a good history of the second machine after this, in our experience, enjoy the greatest diversity. The problem is that this modification slows down your progress in the story over time and, above all, can survive if the game world does not end contact with you. This can be especially true when you are trying to find people who are not related to DedSec, which means that you have thoroughly investigated them to find a weak point of attack or a problem that you have to solve to change their mind.
It wasn’t our problem, we were actually impressed by the ability of the Watch Dogs: Legion to not only offer a variety of challenges, but eventually move on to more common tasks (driving, hacking, getting in, fighting), but also doing each Seek the right thing. Because they are people, with different qualities and opportunities.
Each option you have affects the development of equipment and your army. It’s no different to sneak into Scotland Yard in a beggar’s shoes than to do that with a uniformed policeman. It completely changes progress and strategies, because all viewing dogs are aligned with the character you are carrying, as well as those who make up your team. Hiring a lawyer would be a good idea to find someone who Albion could get you quickly out of prison, or a doctor of your caliber could help another character who almost killed you get out of the hospital alive.
During our games, we entered the offices as workers walking around their houses, sneaked into large cargo airlines and even rubbed our faces with several Befefeaters. And the best part is that we could have solved each situation in so many different ways with other employees. Finding something like that is hard, we know that, which is why we love it so much.
But the formula doesn’t have a permanent thread, and it’s something you notice as the hours go by. NPCs that we turn into regulated characters usually have their own distinctive functionality, a specific gadget or a specific advantage. The patterns are very different, but we have found several that end up repeating themselves and that, in the end, enabled us to choose certain types to get the benefits we were looking for.
There’s something special, that only comes up when you finish off the “victory” scene, and that’s caramelito. But there are those who fight better or worse, those who specialize in hacking, those who always have a good key to the tap, those who can ask for some money and those who have limited mobility as a skill. There are no endless variables, and that limits the chances of WD: Legion. However, what it offers is still great.
For all its convenience, Watch Dogs has no problems at all. Fighting mechanics and toy guns are not as good as we would like them to be, although we can understand something similar in a game where the most important thing is hacking. However, when you have a branch of supporters who are focused on fighting with a clean fist, realizing that there are more repressive tactics for enemies is not enough.
On the other hand, while the technical show with London is brutal, the characters can’t say the same. It gives the impression that the effort is put more in place than in other aspects, which in turn leads to an amazing endless ending. No, Watch Dogs: Legion is not here to be a technological marvel, or it could be a major strike with Ray-Tracing.
Moreover, we are not fully connected with the big campaign, and it is because there are so many things to do and so much to play with, that after hours we forget that our goal was to change the capital. But it is easy to understand. When you are able to drive a car that can turn invisible and blast the whole car with arrows, when you encounter puzzles to change the bright lights or even when you have to hit the platform of the spider’s skin “, it is normal to lose a little focus.
The sporting experience is enormous, and it is shocking to see, over time, that we have never missed hearing as a single protagonist, to see how the meaning of the world changes as NPC opportunities change. No more resources, they are important. So, it’s a pity that this story hasn’t finished connecting us, and that the performance has never reached a level (we played in the PS4 Slim), because we really liked the formula for these Watch Dogs.
We continue to tour London, and we continue to try to draw that line that allows us to portray the game as crazy or bold. Although, importantly, the Watch Dogs: Legion has taken a dangerous leap of faith and almost nailed it. It offers an open world full of opportunities, introducing a mechanic who can no longer walk, but has not yet finished balancing the balance between variation and narrative.