I remember when the first game in the Watchdogs series came out, there was a lot of fuss about the graphics not being what the trailer had shown. Lucky for me then that I just saw it as a bit of a GTA clone and stayed away from it at launch. I can’t remember when or how I got it but when I did the graphics were fine, not the hyper realistic sort of stuff everybody wanted but decent enough for the time. I remember playing as the quiet, frustrated Aiden Pearce who I thought came across quite well given that he was motivated by revenge. The hacking system was awesome, being able to use cameras and things to my advantage really set the game apart from anything similar at the time. I still think about how cool the climax was where the whole city was moving, seemingly all at once while Dedsec and the villain battled it out in technology while I went to physically murder someone. It was a long time ago now but still really impressive.
Having enjoyed my adventures with Aiden, I was keen to buy the second one. The hacking had been upgraded, the guns came from a 3D printer and the whole game seemed much more colourful and modern than the first game. The protagonist though, it’s like the devs sat around asking how to make him and his companions as insufferable as possible. I can’t really remember much of the plot because it wasn’t as simple as revenge. An attack on what was basically Google and something about a submarine. Luckily I enjoyed the gameplay but everything about the characters puts me off ever returning to this game. I think – even with the swearing and mild violence – that this game had a massively different tone to the first game and suffered because of it. Aiden got a cameo in one mission though, I remember getting my hopes up that he’d take over the team and make the game more serious, but sadly no.
Legion, I was really hyped for that one. A dystopian future in a possibly post Brexit, possibly no Brexit future where the weird hackable technology from the other games was being used. To play as a spy or a mad granny or something fun and stupid looked like a fantastic sandbox adventure with a main story that could keep me interested. The marketing made it seem English in quite a few ways and for once I could be immersed in a more familiar version of a GTA style game. How wrong was I? From what I understand London was mapped out fairly well just like other Ubisoft games often are. Being able to switch characters and recruit a Watchdog army of hackers didn’t flesh the characters out at all, maybe the odd mission for each of them but they had no soul, nothing to make me care. In a world where everyone seems expendable I saw little point. The changes to the hacking didn’t thrill me either. I liked some of the main missions but I’ve never really written about Legion because I couldn’t find interest in it. If I ever get around to finishing it maybe I’ll change my mind, but this was a disappointment for me.
I don’t have any idea what will happen with the series next but hopefully they find someone who can write an engaging story or interesting set of characters. I’m probably going to wait and see if I can get an ultimate edition of the first game and relive old memories while making new ones.
As always, if I get far enough with Watchdogs or write more content then I could expand on this in future.
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