2020 has been a pretty bad year for everyone, but no other studio has been criticized like Ubisoft as far as the business world is concerned. The studio, where 25% of the entire staff lives or witnesses malpractice, was able to save face with many long-awaited traces.
However, if we calm down and enjoy the upcoming competitions, it is always useful to think about the price that these men and women have paid for our entertainment. And as Ubisoft points out – their games are not political.
In the light of the Sentinel Dogs, it is a particularly ironic statement: The Legion is perhaps the most politically explosive game produced by a French studio. And it’s really great until she loses sight of it and goes back to a more conventional self, too scared to follow the ideas she actually presents at an early stage.
Somewhere here, there is a message about the dangers of technology and how governments use fear to control people, but it is lost in the noise of mediocrity that strikes most of this open-world title.
But the real attraction here is that you can play and recruit anyone in the world, which is surprisingly fun and almost enough to capture some gameplay to overlook. Unfortunately, it is difficult not to notice this game, which makes the Legion paler than other games in the open world.
Trapped in a flying dystopia that will soon strike, London is on the brink of tension. This tension is split into five equal parts, in which different police forces fight for power after a terrorist act. The parliament building was bombed by a mysterious force known as Day Zero is directly attributable to our infamous DedSec hacker group.
While London is gripped by panic and fear, Nigel Cass, CEO of Albion, a private military company, has been mandated by the government to restore order. In addition, the armed guards promise to destroy the DedSec and keep it firmly in the shadows so that it can do no more damage.
With your first gameplay character killed after a major prologue mission, you begin your journey by selecting a character from a list of about 15 characters, starting the story of your return from London.
The story is divided into several chapters that revolve around you. These crime bosses are shot one by one before ending in a pleasant revelation about who exactly Zero Day is. The main campaign is likely to last between 12 and 18 hours, depending on how fast you travel through it, but expect to have sufficient time for secondary missions and post-campaign events throughout London.
Anyone who has ever played Ubisoft will immediately become familiar with most of the work and activities carried out during the game. Different areas of London need to be transformed into boisterous people watching you perform certain tasks in those areas, whether it’s taking pictures, sabotaging equipment, or hacking into different digitally encoded computers.
Once that’s done, Borough will have one last mission where you’ll have to control several drones and participate in some platform changes – something I certainly wouldn’t have expected in this game, but perhaps one of the most important moments.
In the meantime, you have the usual mini-games, with drinks and darts in every pub, soccer clicks on the QTE button, and many collectibles. They range from technical glasses (which you can use to improve your skills and equipment) to silver drops and relics from ancient times.
Luckily you don’t have to collect everything so that the finalists can sigh a sigh of relief! The trophies themselves are a lot of fun and usually revolve around a big view of the whole game – recruiting operators for DedSec.
It is easily one of the game’s highlights because it allows you to scan and recruit everyone on the street. Just as the games are old, using the phone with an L1 key above the pedestrians reveals their secrets and personality traits. But now you can also see their profession, which translates into several benefits you can use with this icon if you want to rent them.
If you decide to prosecute this man or woman, the result is a simple mission of extraction, murder, or childbirth, which ultimately allows you to actually use this. All characters are completely expressive, although many of them have rather strong lines. There are curses, little humor, and exaggerated accents that are very caricatural.
However, no one denies that some of the people you hire are incredibly helpful. For example, Albion’s security guards can be used in heavily fortified areas, construction workers can be equipped with loading drones so that the roof of a building can be easily sealed with a zipper, and drone experts can spread various benefits to prevent detection.
The configuration level here is pretty good, although most characters have the same set of weapons (gun and electric machine gun) and similar animations for close combat. The recording sequences, which are actually slightly adapted for the most diverse characters, are the only exception.
You might recruit a small group from your ranks, but the truth is you’ll probably juggle two or three cameramen if one of them doesn’t die or get arrested. So instead of having a game screen (unless you activate eternal death mode), the game introduces a nice little mechanism that makes it impossible to use this person for 1 hour in the game.
You can speed up the process by hiring a lawyer or paramedic, which fuels the surprisingly balanced idea that seemingly prosaic professions are actually very useful.
Watch out for dogs with all the good points: The Legion is not without its problems. The basic structure of the mission eventually becomes tedious and revolves around the same rotation of infiltration (wire) and hacking mini-games in the fortified areas. Most of them eventually have to protect an isolated area from the guards, but most of the time, you can actually escape and hide from them without firing many bullets.
It comes back to the AI in the game, which is a shame. For a short period, getting into the worst possible condition caused a few problems, including guards sticking to the walls without shooting and even breaking off the attack after his companion was hit in the head a few minutes earlier.
This AI problem isn’t just about the enemy. The litany of bugs I’ve experienced for over 25 hours with the game is too long to tell. I drove past the cars when the missions didn’t fail without reason, had a graphic appearance, and watched – best of all – with disbelief when the cars equipped with AI and the parked bikes suddenly went crazy and spun around in circles on the spot.
There was even a case where the car leaned on the bonnet and suddenly went around the world. I know that open-world games are notoriously difficult to program, especially when many variables are involved. Still, given what we’ve already seen with these kinds of games – even Ubisoft – there are just too many mistakes to ignore.
Watchdogs: The Legion tries to flirt with the boundary between politics and apolitics. The result is a game that can benefit from a coherent message about the dangers of state intervention and control of the masses through fear.
Instead, the game returns to the usual trophies of the genre, and London is divided into five bosses that must be eliminated to save London.
With a litany of mistakes, daring, and repetitive mission structures, you lose an excellent hook for recruiting and hiring everyone for your mission under the weight of mediocrity. It’s so embarrassing because there’s a big game somewhere nearby – the DedSec swindler, desperate for a voice but reduced to shadows.
Before it talks about monetization, which is still there, it is lurking at the ever-changing door of the microtransaction, which – at least for the time being – remains cosmetic. However, with the next multiplayer next year, it is questionable whether this will be scandalous.
But an outfit costs about 6 pounds so far, so the prices are very high. Add to that a deliberately pretentious and vivid selection, and many of the basic cosmetics you bring into the game seem comparatively stupid and boring. It’s a trick to get your money spent on these outfits, and it was designed on purpose.
While Ubisoft strives to remain politically neutral, the game loses all the sharpness it could have had if the message had been more urgent and focused. Instead, we get a diluted open-world experience that resembles another NPC in a sea of open-world actors.
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