Watch Dogs: Legion game review – Connected rebellion
At a time when conspiracies and revolts are ubiquitous, the launch of a game like Watch Dogs: Legion is a funny coincidence. Calling on the people to revolt by joining an organization qualified as terrorist to counter the abusive measures of a government, the game of Ubisoft tries this time to make you play any character that you could cross in order to overthrow the hierarchy by square. The challenge was great, but in the end, we have to admit that the developers were able to design a third Watch Dogs very interesting!
- Available on: Xbox One, Xbox Series S / X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Google Stadia, PC
- Price: $ 79.99 + txs
Rebel without being specially questioned
The DedSec terrorist group is back, this time in the City of London. However, their operations are seriously disrupted when a group called Zero Day falsely attributes to them a series of attacks that have claimed many victims. Shocked, Londoners are becoming hostile to anything related to DedSec. Worse, they rally behind the totalitarian government led by the firm Albion while living in fear of violence generated by criminal groups. Through this omniscient and omnipotent diet, your goal will be as simple as it is complicated: to convince the population of the need for DedSec and to get them to join your cause.
Unlike the previous ones Watch Dogs, Watch Dogs: Legion does not center around a single character or a group. Admittedly, the game has a few main figures such as an artificial intelligence coordinating all operations as well as a chief rebel, but you will not play a character to follow his story. The third Watch Dogs rather, aims to transport you through the rebellion of DedSec rather than forging a bond between you and a protagonist.
It is a bold decision, but it still has repercussions. Indeed, the attachment that you will feel towards the events of the game will be directly struck by this absence of a protagonist in good standing. Quickly, the evolution of the rebellion of DedSec takes a secondary place and we have only a mitigated interest towards the progression of the scenario. Despite some intrigues, the latter unfortunately remains average throughout the campaign stretching over 20 to 30 hours.
Embodying Anyone: A Reality
Let’s immediately address the point on which Ubisoft lingered in order to publicize this third opus. The French publisher promised us that we could play any character crossed in the game in order to take advantage of his skills. Now, what is it really?
Technically, this is indeed true. You can scan any character in the game in order to have information about them. In addition, you will be able to see in which field he practices, a brief description of his personality and, above all, the skills he has. Thus, you can build a team with the characters you want, ranging from a simple worker to the secret agent, including the hitman or the designer of video games.
That said, a character will not magically join DedSec. In addition, you will not be able to switch from one character to another in the middle of the street. Indeed, some people will be hostile towards DedSec, making their recruitment difficult, if not impossible. What’s more, those you want to recruit will often have different kinds of problems. So, before you see a recruit being added to your team, you will need to complete a mission to help them. It could be to rescue one of his friends, recover compromising pieces, eliminate an opponent, etc.
Also, as you walk around, you will see green dots appear above certain characters. Generated at random, these points will tell you that a recruit with high level skills could be recruited. So even though it’s technically possible to hire anyone, you risk falling back on the targeted characters in the game. Not only is it easier to identify who could improve your squad in this way, but their skills are simply better than anybody you cross your path.
So, yes, it is possible to impersonate anyone. However, the game itself will do some of the work by targeting good recruits for you that you will meet here and there. In addition, with the exception of some missions, you may very well remain with the same character throughout the game. The benefits generated by the equipment or the skills of a member of the team do not have a impact so significant in the game to the point of wanting to analyze each situation according to each member constituting our resistance group. To this end, the developers missed an opportunity to further deepen the experience of Watch Dogs: Legion.
A surprising interconnected universe
Even if we feel that the game could have been more in-depth, it is nonetheless fascinating on different levels. In fact, beyond being able to customize the look and gadgets of each character, the game makes us feel like we are in a world with actions and consequences in a variety of surprising ways.
Initially, this is not what you will see. You will have the impression of going back to the previous ones Watch Dogs without observing great changes. However, the more you progress, the more you will see that the public’s perception will be directly influenced by your actions. Better still, complete strangers that you meet can be linked to members of your team or to enemies that you have fought.
So, I was extremely surprised to see that a pedestrian had become very hostile towards DedSec because I had just sent his brother to the hospital by shooting him. Another example: a grandmother was supportive of my organization because I had just helped and recruited her grandson. Even the other members of your party will lead their own lives when you are not playing them. You can see what they will do or just run into them on the street. Sometimes they’ll get into trouble or pull off some good shots on their own, just like any good citizen in real life.
It is this dimension that makes Watch Dogs: Legion also surprising and interesting. From an open-world game that I found banal and conventional at the start, I learned to tame its facets and to discover a universe where the characters are interconnected as in few games. The developers had already achieved a feat by offering personalities and abilities unique to each character present in the game, but they were able to raise the bar even further by creating a world where the causal effects are significant.
Conventional tasks on the menu
As I said, Watch Dogs: Legion remains a rather conventional game in its form. Efforts have been focused on developing connections between characters and recruiting any individual rather than on the originality of the activities to be completed. As a result, the game gives an impression of déjà vu quite quickly.
Roughly speaking, despite the presence of new hacking gadgets, you will use the same strategies as in previous games. Raise and lower barriers, hack vehicles, take control of cameras, activate traps remotely to eliminate enemies, all of this has already been seen in the previous ones. Watch Dogs and is reused in the same way in Legion. In addition, some gadgets are so powerful that they render other devices and characters’ skills obsolete. Also, you’ll find that the robotic spider is such a game-breaking tool that it’s ridiculously effective. I’ve been through a good portion of the countryside using it, not even caring about my guns or the possibility of being spotted.
Moreover, in addition to the main missions, you will have certain activities to perform to raise the rebellion. This will allow you to destabilize the London districts and decrease the influence of Albion. Side missions will also unlock as you progress, just like other types of activities. However, the latter are more or less interesting. In fact, frustrating activities of Watch Dogs 2 like go-karting with rather useless games like maneuvering with a soccer ball or playing darts. Worse, these activities are only used to raise money to buy clothes and aesthetic accessories. Ditto with the collection of objects such as electronic manuscripts that are useless except to be read. Considering the number to collect and their overall insignificance, I highly doubt that you will bother to read them.
Open-air puzzles and noteworthy upgrades
Where you might find more fun on the streets of the English capital is in collecting Tech Points, which are used to unlock upgrades. It is not so much these points that are interesting as the places where they are located. These represent open-air puzzles whose ingenuity deserves to be highlighted. Using your gadgets or just using your character, you will have to hack devices, move objects, eliminate enemies from a distance or face to face, etc. The challenges they represent are ingenious, not least because we can complete them in more than one way depending on how we play. My only regret is not to have found more.
Ubisoft has also improved some mechanics from previous games. In addition, the driving of vehicles is much better. I still have in mind the nightmare represented by the handling of the karts in Watch Dogs 2 and I’m happy to say that is now a thing of the past. Hand-to-hand combat has also been tweaked. Even though it remains simple, it is easier to hit an opponent and perform dodge techniques or grabs, making fights less boring than in the past.
Should you play it?
When I first started playing I was disappointed with Watch Dogs: Legion. Conventional, not particularly pretty and offering a story without creating an attachment with the player, I told myself that Ubisoft had missed the mark. However, the more I played it, the more I enjoyed. In the end, I had a great experience which, without being very original, surprised me at different times. The impacts of our actions and the unexpected connections between the characters added to the challenges and puzzles that gave me a lot of pleasure through a campaign that I wish was longer. Without being an exceptional game, Watch Dogs: Legion remains a good game fitting in with the strange times in which we live.