Watch Dogs: Legion Review

Just a month ago, I had the opportunity to personally evaluate the not yet released Watch Dogs: Legion from Ubisoft. The four-hour game session left generally positive emotions, but since I played remotely on my computer in Paris, and the game was not ready, I chose not to concentrate on certain gameplay moments, the quality of which could and should have changed with the release of the game. Unfortunately, this did not happen. I recommend getting a detailed description of the game mechanics and gameplay of the game from my game preview , and in this review I will try to concentrate on my impressions of the overall gaming experience. 

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The first thing I want to note is that Watch Dogs: Legion is a game with a lot of conventions. Yes, the game features a large open-air London and the player has many options for playing sandbox, but the results of these games are not comparable to the GTA series. Crushed a man at the crossing - don't wait for the ambulance, don't wait for the police. He attacked the representative of Albion in full view - after 5 seconds, new guards of “law and order” would spawn out of the player's field of vision and rush to help. There are many similar conventions in the game, when you expect certain results, but you get far-fetched restrictions or you get nothing at all. Therefore, I was able to enjoy the game only when I resigned myself to such limitations of the gameplay. Honestly, in an AAA game, you could and should have done better, but in addition to the limited and largely crooked sandbox, there are many interesting things hidden in it, 

At different stages, the game offers a choice of several story chains - basic and optional, and almost complete access to all the activities of London from the very start. I wanted to - I ran forward along the street to look for interesting recruits, I wanted to - I went on story missions, I wanted to - you liberate the districts. The biggest plus of Legion, in my opinion, is the 100% optionality of all non-plot activities. You don't even need to collect pumping points - they are given as a reward for completing story missions. It is also not necessary to engage in recruiting - after completing a couple of plot chapters, special recruits appear on the map: an arms dealer, a spy, a provocateur, a doctor, etc. You can just mark such a team member and forget about him for a while. When he gets tired of waiting for our help, he will automatically join the team. 

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Any mission can be completed for any character - the game does not create any restrictions. If on a mission there is a need for a spiderbot to pass, a station for calling this bot will be in a conspicuous place. Even super-protected objects can be penetrated in the role of an old woman or a fat taxi driver. The design of the locations turned out to be excellent and the methods of entering the object correspond to its design. Coastal warehouses can be entered through sewers or from the water, some objects can be entered through the roof by flying to it on an industrial drone, and office objects can only be entered through a door - main or back, no holes in the wall and other nonsense. I like to play with a spiderbot - it can be used everywhere. I like to sabotage - there is always something to break or where to attract the attention of the guards. I like to rush in with a Kalash across the street - please. Using a mole also has its own difficulties and requires a certain approach. Additional goodies are scattered at each location - pumping points, new masks, money and notes. If you want more - you go and collect, you don't want to - you just go through the story mission. 

Leveling up in the game simplifies and somewhat expands the paths of passing the game, but does not remove the restrictions from the characters. There will be no way to turn any marketer with a beer belly into a super spy through upgrades - each character can use a limited number of gadgets and devices. And there is simply no absolute imba in the game. Leveling up hacks is a different story. The ability to take control of a turret or a combat drone is powerful, but all missions can be completed without a single upgrade. Especially if you use unique recruits with cool perks and features.

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There are hundreds of different closed locations scattered around the world of the game, which can become a platform for any additional mission related to recruiting, world activities or side missions. Various warehouses, offices, construction sites, state. institutions, museums, cemeteries, mansions and more. Some are large enough, some are very small. Somewhere you can very easily get to the point of the mission, and somewhere you will have to carry out preparatory measures to eliminate security, disable various scanners and search for access keys to closed rooms. Visually, all objects are very different and offer different types of challenges, but they are not in comparison with the main missions.

The main storyline is a gem of the game that shines much brighter than the rest of Watch Dogs: Legion. Since the protagonists of the game are randomly generated characters, the main work falls on the shoulders of villains, of whom there are more than enough in the game. Each of them is a natural sadist with a bunch of psychological problems. The degree of hatred and cruelty in the game has grown significantly compared to the previous part - there are no more “hacker games” anymore. Each of the characters can just pick up and die during the mission and have to forget about him. The history of Legion, although fantastic with a bunch of exaggerations, but we live in such a time that it is easy to believe what is happening. There is already a social rating in China - what is missing is killer drones that will catch the parasites and shoot them in the middle of the street. 

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But despite the fact that Watch Dogs: Legion builds up the gameplay component very tightly, it turns out to enjoy it not 100%, but artificial intelligence is to blame. Or its complete absence. The stupidity of AI is simply incredible, and all stealth mechanics are destroyed by numerous bugs related to the work of AI. For example, if you attack the enemy not from the back, but from the face and knock him out instantly - magically all the guards at the location will find out what happened and go in search of the player. If you got into a secret object and decided to chop with the guards on fists - they will pound you the same way, with the help of hands and clubs. It doesn't matter how secret and protected the object is - no one will point a pistol or a taser at you. But if you took a weapon out of your pocket, write goodbye, they will throw grenades at you and shoot you with a machine gun. 

You can be literally five centimeters from a closed area, get rid of security by side methods and no one will pay attention to you. I blew up a gas pipe a meter away from the guards and they will shout “LOOK FOR A HACKER”, but no one will pay attention to you. Penetrated into a closed area, put a cardboard box on your head - and only the security will pay attention to you. You walk through a laboratory with a high level of access between various laboratory assistants and scientists, you pass the head of the department - no one cares, no one asks for a pass. 

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The game breaks regularly from this AI. I restarted the mission to infiltrate the Tower of London five times, because each restart would suddenly trigger an alarm and force the guards to search. This happens almost every time the game is loaded. Let's say I drove up to a closed area and decided to change the character, which is accompanied by a loading screen. Appeared in the same place as another character and bam - ALARM SOMETHING IS WRONG! How it got into the final version - I have no idea. Some abilities don't work at all due to this AI. For example, a siren on a police car or the ability to “Get out of my way”. You drive between the lanes, as expected, you turn on the ability to "get cars out of my way" and these idiots literally crash into you. Why can't they move away from YOU? I do not know,

Added to all this are the problems of optimizing the PC game. The game looks very strange graphically. The lack of Godrays, volumetric fog and poor implementation of volumetric lighting seriously affect the perception of the graphic component. Add to this blurry textures and animation curves - and the picture is depressing. At certain moments - with an abundance of artificial light sources and reflective surfaces - the game looks gorgeous, but as soon as the puddles dry up and the sun rises, you immediately want to cry. Optimization in the game is also very strange - almost no graphical settings affect the final FPS counter, with the exception of shadows. Every step from Ultra to Medium adds a good 20% FPS and even more in tough situations. Went to the waterfront in the evening and one step from High to Medium can double your FPS! 

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However, there are also positive aspects. The game runs on DX12 and doesn't just understand, but loves multi-core processors. On my system with Intel Core i7-10700K, the game loads all 16 threads almost evenly at the level of 2.5-3.5 GHz, with rare loads up to 4.8 GHz on separate cores. Finally, Ubisoft more and more games are being transferred to modern versions of engines that are able to maximize the capabilities of modern hardware. The same story is with RTX and DLSS technologies - the game contains several levels of customization of each component and a quick opportunity to check the performance of the selected configuration in an in-game benchmark, which does a good job of demonstrating both graphical changes and the average FPS level that the player is waiting for directly during the game ... 

There are many settings in the game - both graphical and functional. You can conveniently configure the physics of the behavior of the cars - how quickly they turn, how sharply they react to pressing buttons / turning the stick, etc. In just a minute, you can customize this aspect for yourself and get a tolerable model of car behavior. Difficulty setting is simple and dumb - there are three levels and an optional Iron Man mode with the permeation of all characters and a potential Game Over. At high difficulty, enemies don't die from headshots with Desert Eagle - any attempt to get rid of an enemy with a firearm is alarming due to the idiotic behavior of the AI, which I wrote about above.

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Additionally, it is worth noting the presence of an in-game store, which Ubisoft traditionally hid from the eyes of journalists until the release itself. It is, you can buy not only skins, but also game characters with an imbue skill set. Everything is bought for real money. Fortunately, these immobile skills are not so important - as I mentioned above, you can complete the game as a chubby kindergarten teacher. 

In general, Watch dogs Legion turned out to be a good game, but if they had rescheduled it for another six months and finished it properly, it would have turned out just great. Disadvantages of the game are obvious, obvious and correctable. I do not recommend buying the game today - at least wait for the patches that will fix major bugs and technical problems. If Ubisoft gets around to adjusting the AI, it will be very good. Well, in general, this state of affairs has already become traditional for Ubisoft - which has already been releasing unfinished games for a year and turning them into candy six months after the release. Watch Dogs: Legion I see as another example of a game that in six months will become not just playable, but very, very cool. Today - 7 points out of 10 in advance with a recommendation to at least familiarize yourself with the game in a few months, when Cyberpunk cools down. 

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