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Watch Dogs Legion - Online Mode 9th March


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I took a break from this when they fucked up the auto-save on the Series consoles and since then I've figured I may as well just wait for them to add the online stuff they were promising before I go back to it but it seems to be MIA. First they said December, then January, now it's early 2021. 

 

It's not a great game to be honest but I am kinda looking forward to just driving around London again even if the way it's been adapted to the game can be confusing to navigate.

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2 hours ago, Pob said:

Do you have it in Permadeath? The main reason to ‘recruit’ is for extra lives, which adds a frisson to any kind of action you find yourself in. 

Yes, I've had that enabled from the start. Seemed like the right way to play or else what's the point of recruiting. So far I can get everywhere with the spiderbot, or at the very least clear the area with it before walking in. It's fun throwing it over a wall or flying up with a cargo drone and throwing it on a roof. Without any need to actually enter hostile territory myself, there's so far zero need for extra lives.

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To be honest, as a freeform sandbox hack 'em up with an emphasis on stealth and use of gadgets, the potential is there for something incredible and fun. It just feels like this is the basic prototype that was polished up and a story bolted on top.

 

Which is weird because Ubisoft was literally competing with itself by putting out two Ubi sandboxes in the same month. This needed way more thought and design - ie time - put into it to make it something special, but the basics are there. 

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8 minutes ago, deerokus said:

The permadeath is crap, turning it off lets you experiment pretty freely. It's a decent stealth game which can be a bit Hitman-lite (very, very lite) when you do that. 

So far it's incredibly easy because the stealth is so basic. I'm sprinting around each area with the spider taking out everyone without stopping to look around. Cloak and distraction* makes the spider impossible to get detected and I activate any trap I see, just mashing rb as I run around - so while I'm taking out someone there's always someone else getting exploded somewhere else. It's crazy. Maybe you have a point but until it ramps up significantly, there's hardly any impact.

 

Edit: * the cooldowns are so short that you can rotate between cloak, distract, shock whenever someone starts seeing you. There's always one skill available for a risk free takedown without slowing down.

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It reminds me a bit of Tenchu Z if someone here played that back in the day. Of course Tenchu Z is ten times the game this is and it's proper stealth, but it has the same sort of over the top godmode stealth. Run up to fools at 100mph and stealth kill them! Same kind of hilarity

 

Of course, I'm still very early on so I will probably take this back later.

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1 hour ago, Mr. Gerbik said:

It reminds me a bit of Tenchu Z if someone here played that back in the day. Of course Tenchu Z is ten times the game this is and it's proper stealth, but it has the same sort of over the top godmode stealth. Run up to fools at 100mph and stealth kill them! Same kind of hilarity

 

Of course, I'm still very early on so I will probably take this back later.

That’s a decent comparison for this, yeah. Tenchu Z with guns, running around seemingly infinite variations of the same handful of environments annihilating everyone with your OTT abilities. It’s not really what I’ve ever wanted from Watch Dogs, but it’s all the series seems to have managed.

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About halfway through the game and I judged it too harshly. I'm completely ignoring the recruitment bit and all collectibles apart from the occasional green upgrade suff if it's in the same building, and by playing it this way I seem to be avoiding most of the tedious repetition. Liberating all the boroughs always led to a nice, unique setpiece at the end - like climbing some famous clocktower as a spiderbot - and the main missions seem more designed rather than algorithmically generated. It's an okay game played this way! And I love recognizing places I've been irl London.

 

Also by liberating the boroughs I automatically earn super duper team members, so uhm there's literally zero need to go out and recruit? Or am I missing something? And so far I've been playing everything as the construction worker you get as part of the main story, no need to switch. Spiderbot does everything. What were thry thinking adding the recruitment bit, it's the most superfluous thing you could imagine.

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I haven't googled any sales data or the actual reception, but looking at how this turned out and how big a step back it is compared to WD2, I do wonder whether they'll quietly shelf this series for the time being (and focus on Immortals instead) or optimistically plough ahead with Watch Dogs 3 and pretend Legion either didn't happen or wasn't important at all.

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It's really just me in here, huh? This series is fucked. Anyway, I spoke too soon yet again. After liberating dat London and resuming the campaign, I'm now visiting damn near every location used in the liberation finale set-pieces again. Still having fun using the spiderbot, but I've stopped using the cargo drone because it made a simple game too simple. Instead I'm hijacking any attack drone I see and going on murder sprees before resuming the spidey stealth tactics.

 

 

Even the soundtrack is half baked, just like the rest of the game. And yet I'm still having fun.

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I was thinking the other day that maybe this would have been better as less of an open world game- there’s so little to do between the main missions that other than the ‘atmosphere’ of London, that there’s little point in it existing. It’s just there as a blank space between the mission zones.

 

It’s such a strange game- it’s almost like they abandoned the gameplay elements halfway through. No balancing of skills, pathetically little number of recruitment missions, failed opportunity of recruiting a ‘team’, rubbish driving model and no car chases that I’ve seen....They’ve removed so much of what you could actually do with the hacking ability from WD1 and 2. Hell, you don’t even go inside shops to buy stuff, you just buy it all from a board outside :lol:

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Played this through now. At first I gave it a go and found the accents laughable, all the characters horribly written and the driving absolutely woeful so stopped playing and wasn't sure I'd go back, I gave it one more try and found myself embracing all the faults and really got into it. Reminded me in that regard of The Saboteur on PS3 which was rubbish in so many ways but I loved it all the same. This was perfect for quick 10-15 minute blasts so any repetition didn't really grate on me, the city they've created is great and the lighting in particular looks fantastic on PS5. The driving is still absolutely terrible but luckily between a mix of autodrive, tube and drones I could completely ignore that entire side of it.

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I like the recruitment just for the fact that it's a fun sytemically-driven personal story generator. I already posted my story about how I found an suppressed MP5-toting cockney pensioner that I was desperate to recruit, which started me on a series of nested adventures as I tried to reach my goal, each one fun, tense and memorable.

 

A while later I found a gunkata expert with a desert eagle and an assault rifle. I recruited him and excitedly decided to test his Neo-like skills against a little gang hideout. I rolled in, the Propellerheads playing in my mind as I prepared to lay waste to the scum, and within 30 seconds my hero was dead forever.

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Apologies for the length of this.

 

I have avoided this thread for probably half a year, wanting to play it before I started read impressions. I should say that I loved the first one, the entire concept was absolutely my thing. Very much enjoyed the second, the Bay is obviously lovely to explore and I spent a good 24 hours of farting around before I delved into the actual content.

 

So Legion is a weird blend of brilliant and terrible. Compelling enough that I wanted to see the story to the end, but my sense of how AC went (I started the series at IV) kinda mirrors what's going on here.

 

It looks fantastic. I mostly played it on the XB1, which I actually thought looked great, although obviously a bit of RT on the XSX was a lovely touch. Perhaps we're just used to this level of detail now, so get picky, but sometimes I'd just find myself stopping to just... watch, and appreciate the detail. Don't know if it was hand made, or if they had a script to make a street a certain way (litter, etc.), but wow. Unfortunately, it's also London, and it just didn't do it for me. My kids loved me flying around, so they could soak in all the landmarks, the cheese grater (watched it getting built on some documentary), etc. I don't know why, because this exact map (and, hah, it's the exact map from Syndicate, down to being able to spot chimneys I climbed as Evie) worked well in AC. Maybe too much time spent living in yank land and I identify more with Chicago and SF. Not really a fault, just a personal thing. But where it mostly looked excellent, it was frustrating where it was janky. And holy crap were some characters janky.

 

There were loads of clever little interactions in the city. I eventually twigged I could jam random Albion thugs, and often by-standers would rally to help the person being picked on and beat the shit out of the Albion guy. Load of little things like this, between NPCs, that you could blink and miss but were everywhere.

 

I loaded the game once and the little cut scene of the DeadSec agent getting paged into action by Bagley involved her standing at a grave and putting down some flowers. Saw this precisely once, but just a really thoughtful touch. It's almost like there's a well written game underneath that didn't quite come together.

 

I struggled with future London. The tech seemed otherwise reasonable, but holographic neon everywhere felt more like a nod to retro-future cyberpunk. 

 

The voice acting. What the hell was with the actors they hired? Was this intentional? Proper GCSE Drama, whether they intended it to be or not. Particularly jarring because I played this off the back of rinsing AC Origins. Holy crap, whoever voiced Bayek was amazing. Had tears in my eyes when he talked about his son. But this was 1) totally phoned in, 2) often disjointed (like, the intonation of a line didn't match up between voice actors, presumably to account for the multiple voices that could voice each mission), and 3) just harking back to the days of filling CDROM games with voice because we've suddenly got more space than floppies. Absolutely took me out of the moment, constantly. Also, the writing was terrible. Again, jarring after Origins. That said, I did get a couple of good voices. My Albion guy was ace, I even spent the time dressing him up in a snazzy suit jacket and stuff. He had some brilliant to and fro with Bagley, who was also excellent. In fact, Bags was probably the best voiced of the lot. At times I wished they leaned into it and just had him "hashtag don't die, hashtag sinister surveillance state" with his John Oliver-esque delivery.

 

I don't know what I was expecting, but the story was too obvious, for me. I don't think the massive authoritarian crackdown, with live ammo everywhere, worked in London, either. Maybe yanks didn't think anything of it, but even if you felt compelled to pacifist your way through this (which plenty of game design elements did their hardest to dissuade), it didn't fit. I think the first game on steroids would have worked better, some exaggeration on surveillance, which the rest of the world seems to be catching up on vs the extraordinary CCTV already rolled out in the UK. It should have been harder to get around, but for all the tech, avoiding capture just meant finding the nearest bush (on normal). I don't think the face scanning tech that you had to use (unless you walk into the road) ever prevented me doing anything, and the street barriers only came up a couple of times, during scripted missions. I must admit, I got a bit lazy and didn't read every note, nor listen to every audio I found, but did enjoy the little snippets that added to the story. 

 

The couple of missions which finish off the Skye Larson story were just brilliant. I mean, I don't think you actually do anything in the first mission, apart from a bit of walking simulator and get introduced to the mindfuck. And then the way that story ends. If the whole game was designed like that, particularly the basement in her house, it would have been dynamite. 

 

Shame that some elements obviously didn't get finished but had to be left in the game, like the bits of phones you find lying around. 

 

Driving, terrible. Why is this always the case? The autodrive is almost a lazy admission of how bad it is. I really wanted to Forza Horizon it around London, closest I got was bikes which did actually feel like bikes. I did like that most vehicles were EV, with design cues such that you could quite easily mentally fill in the blanks between now and then. However, there needed to be 8000% more cars. And people. Again, we have this beautifully realized city and there's no bugger in it. Makes for tedious gaming? Sure, but let it be an option. I would have happily lost some shinies for more hustle and bustle. The hustle was there in the sound, just not visually.

 

The music was totally forgettable and I usually had it off, except for the bunker. What an outstanding tune to accompany you as you make your way out. If you can get out. Twice I tried, twice I ended up with a black screen where no controls worked except being able to switch to photograph mode, where I could see myself almost outside, having just used the lift. This was reported on reddit, and the ubisoft forums,shortly after launch. I appreciate the complexity of these games, but it was almost game breaking. I literally couldn't leave the bunker, and it's a mission you're stuck in. The official fix is "delete your Xbox cache by doing a complete power down". Strewth. Anyway, the actual fix is: don't hack anything, just make your way out of the bunker and get to lift. Sorry pacifists, that's you screwed over by a serious bug.

 

I don't think the recruitment thing worked. It was an excellent idea, but there were so few variations of person design (both hitmen came to me in leather jackets and tight fitting caps, and may as well walked around going "lol I'm an assassin"). Also, too few variations in voice, and I think I could hear the same voice actors doing different voices. I don't know a good way around this problem, it was always going to be utterly ambitious in scope. I did get quite into scanning each person I came across though, to see their occupation and stuff. That you could then delve in further by getting typical movement patterns and links to other people was a nice touch.

 

The tech was occasionally amazing. I loved that drones were a totally integrated part of society, good enough for construction lifting, even. That moment when you first hop on the drone was a proper wow moment, like when you get the grappling hook in Syndicate. Suddenly you're introduced to another dimension of travel and that was genuinely excellent. The nano drones were also brilliant, it's a shame that wasn't used more. That could have been a plausible way to infiltrate networks, beyond the (slightly absurd, if you think about it) ctOS access points being liberally dotted around the city with a port for your spiderbot to rootkit. Also, the AR armour. Any Ghost in the Shell fans here? Towards the end of episode 1 of Stand Alone Complex, they turn on their AR amour and the guitar riff starts, as they enter a building to infiltrate. Absolutely brilliant, and that was constantly in my mind as I used it. Just a brilliant way to allow for a technology that didn't seem absurd in the slightest. Same for the way to AR cloak bodies, which I sadly didn't think to unlock until well into the game.

 

All in all, a frustrating mix of great things and bad things. I've had this post writing itself in my head since I bought it in the Christmas sale, sorry again it was so long.

 

Anyway, regarding the ending,

Spoiler

Did they even try to explain how Bagley, who ran on some massive neural net type thing, could survive as an individual ctOS drone?

 

Going to take a little break and have a look at that mission which pops up after the credits roll. 

 

I really enjoyed this game. I sincerely hope they do another, but have a bit of a "back to the drawing board" Origins moment. I don't think it needs to be some exaggerated future nonsense. This surveillance shit is all around us now, and we're lapping it up. It can be way more subtle and sinister, like the first game. I want to see how we're unwittingly surveilled.

 

edit - crap, I knew I'd forget something. The result of freeing up a region of London was literally pointless, and also stupid. Albion didn't go anywhere, the surveillance state didn't go anywhere, but you liberate each ward? It should have had more consequences, if it had to be there at all. In this regard, it almost feels like the whole design was set in AC Syndicate, where liberating areas did mean that NPCs aligned with you were more common than the bad guys. That was actually worth doing. I don't remember any such thing in Origins and that was fine too. Maybe the sheer length of development for these games meant that lessons learned from Origins didn't fully materialize in Legion? No idea.

 

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Quote

 I think I could hear the same voice actors doing different voices.

 

You only THINK?

 

To be fair, it's a problem.  Every playable character needs dialog for the entire game, they're already doing that for 12 people, which is a huge undertaking.

 

It does try to stop them talking to each other, just sometimes the story forces it.

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10 minutes ago, Dudley said:

You only THINK?

I mentally checked out of the dialogue and just started reading the subtitles, because it was so awful.

 

There was something else I forgot, came here to post about, and forgot again as I replied to you :lol: 

 

edit - oh yeah, swearing. Sorry everyone, is the image of the hacker still the kid in a hoodie fucking this and facking that? Good grief. The point at which I could stop showing my kids around London was when I noticed an NPC say cunt. If I was still playing, it would need to go back to audio off for me to show the kids around. They spent quite a while initially watching me hoover up all the public access tech upgrades.

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Fair enough, seemed exaggerated. Yeah, I'm normally sound off when showing them around these cool sandboxes. I thought I was safe until that random npc. Not a big deal. It's just unfortunate that kids don't otherwise get to see these wonderfully realized environments. 

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I made the same comment about GTA v, which my son knows as the "train game", and people said the same thing. I know the drill - sound off, subtitles off. 

 

For me, personally, I thought the swearing lost all meaning and just added to the terrible dialogue. If that's how you Londoners talk though, fair enough.

 

Modern GTA-a-thons need a discovery tour mode. 

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One extra good thing about this is that I found that after similarly struggling to get into it I hadn't actually got rid of Watch Dogs 2 as I thought, and now I've got what feels like a new game to crack on with. So lovely and sunny after London

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I picked this up cheap at the weekend and it arrived yesterday, so I had a very quick blast last night. Believe it or not I’m more or less uninitiated in Ubisoft open world games, and certainly, this is my first Watch Dogs game - so the glut of on-screens indicators, health bars and little menus for doing even inane things like opening doors seemed odd and overly ‘gamey’ to me. Most other games I’ve played give this information to the player in a more naturalistic way, but whatever. The guns also sound really weedy and rubbish. I was most surprised by the quality of the character models though. Compared to some other games I’ve been playing recently, the models in this lack detail, and have a surprisingly last gen quality to them, which, given the impressive visuals to be found in the environment, was surprising. Maybe I’m being overly harsh, but it all felt a bit artificial. Still, I’m looking forward to exploring London later today. 

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