We’ll start off by saying, we were excited to head to London for this third installment in the Watch Dogs series having been fans of the first two. Sadly, when we arrived, we were kinda disappointed when we discovered that the connections between this title and the first two games are few and far between.
Just like in the first two games you are involved with the underground hacker group DedSec, and also like the first two, you are fighting back against corporate groups looking to steal your freedom and your information. Sadly, that’s about where the similarities end.
You see one of big the things that makes this game different from the others is that you are not fighting for the man, you are in a way just fighting for you. We won’t spoil anything, but unlike the first two where in one you were out for revenge, and the other you were looking to take down the evil network. In this one, you are kinda just out to fight for yourself and clear your name, while doing some good along the way. Another thing that separates this title from the first two is that some of the cooler hacks from earlier games have gone away. Stuff like blackouts, streetlight hacks, and peering into people’s homes.
The big thing that’s supposed to be good about this game being different, and that most other reviews are pushing, is that Watch Dogs Legion has got no main character, and that, like the cake, is a lie. This game very much has a main character. It just isn’t one of the humans. And no it isn’t the AI that talks to all the characters either. It’s the spider bot. And we’ll get into that in just a moment.
You see, the problem we have is that most of the marketing for Watch Dogs Legion has been around the fact that you have the ability to recruit anyone, and although that is true, the thing is, most of the time that really doesn’t matter at all as far as gameplay goes. Sure there are some citizens wandering around with a weapon that isn’t in your normal arsenal, and others that have a get out of jail free card or a discount at the stores, but honestly in the end most of it seems to make very little difference in the overall experience. And if you’re trying to stay on the non-lethal path there is even less need to look for and recruit certain people. We won’t say you shouldn’t do it at all. There are a handful of people we found to be worth the effort of hunting down. That’s because they do actually add some useful special abilities to your team. Problem is, we never actually played as them. The only one we recruited and actually spent any real time playing as was the stage magician. This is because their pocket watch ability is actually very useful since it turns an enemy into an ally for a short time; very useful in large groups.
Access to restricted areas with the proper operative seems like it would be a big advantage with the large number of restricted areas there are on the map, but it seems that even when you’re in uniform and following the rules, at least we think, you get noticed too quickly for someone who is “supposed” to be there. So, in the end it’s honestly easier to sneak in with the spider bot than try and go incognito with a uniformed operative. Because of this, the whole idea of the variety of operatives really matters very little. Once you upgrade your tech you share it across all your operatives as well making very few of the sort of special ones very special anymore.
The upgrades however make you realize that this game is really not about the characters at all, it’s all about the tech. How you use it, and how it uses you. There are themes and issues about tech all throughout the game. So don’t worry about the characters, because honestly they matter very little. For your own tech, there is an upgrade system, that thankfully does not use a trees system. You simply collect points for upgrading either from doing missions or simply through exploration. This means you can take a look at what’s available to you, run around the map and gather the points, then have exactly what you want, and play your own way. A warning, a lot of the tech that’s available seems really cool, but we found in the end, even though we bought it all, we really didn’t use most of it.
That brings us back to the real star of the show, the spider bot, which to tell you the truth only has six legs so it technically it isn’t a spider. The reason this piece of tech is truly the main character is because an upgraded spider bot can collect documents, open boxes, open doors, interact with other tech, and even be used to clear a room of enemies faster and easier than any operative could. This is thanks to its size, cloak ability, and shock attack. In fact if you fully upgrade your spider bot, there are only a couple of places where you absolutely must use your operative, and that’s because with all the things the spider bot can do, for some reason it can’t push a button to call an elevator or free a person that’s being held captive. However if you’ve already used your spider bot to clear an area of enemies using its other abilities, your operative can just stroll in and do what the spider bot can’t with no problem at all.
In fact we probably played seventy-five to eighty percent of our game as either the spider bot or as a drone. Once we had the drone expert on our team, we would use the drone to scout locations and do the hacker puzzles then deploy the spider bot to complete the mission. The mix of spider bot and drone on demand meant we almost never had to physically enter a location, or step into a restricted area.
On the Plus Side
- There is a decent amount of length here, especially if you collect everything
- Good music and sound, with sound coming out of the controller for things
- Cool times playing as a small spider robot
- The story is not only linear for an open word game, it is lame for a Watch Dogs game
- Glitchy game play
- No manual save (combined with the glitches made for awful situations)
- Being whoever you wants doesn't seem to matter much
If you were looking for the magic of all the variety from the characters based on the marketing, sadly we don’t think you will find what you are looking for here.