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Watchdogs Legion failure in general game design.

Content of the article: "Watchdogs Legion failure in general game design."

Overall the game is ok, and London is a great setting for a GTA style game that I didn't know I needed, but let me point out some massive failures (imo) and missed opportunities in game design that I can only imagine wasn't considered very much. I'm worried that this is a growing trend in AAA games of this caliber, and is likely one of the main reason people say they get fatigued by this game at hour 10 or less.

There is no Progression

This game has almost no progression. You are given everything from the start. You can buy every skill, ability and gadget that you want, farm skill points to buy them, and complete your ideal build VERY quickly.

With money, all you can buy are clothes. Every clothing store is available to buy from at the beginning of the game. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to get $3000 and that is about as expensive as the most expensive article of clothing can be, but they often cost far less.

What you can see here is that if you make the choices you want and know what you want and don't feel the need to explore all your possibilities, you can very early in the game lock yourself into a good set of skills and a few outfits for your character. What really bugs me about this is that with a better design, you could arrange all this existing stuff into a very rewarding system of unlocking skills and making progress in the game, looking different and feeling different as you progress.

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Only one Gadget matters

You can upgrade gadgets which are usually pretty minor, but the problem is, you can only really use one at a time unless you are exploring, so you might as well invest into one skill. The problem is, most of them are very niche. There's cloaking, which is very cool, but when you are locked into cloaking during a raid on an enemy building, it doesn't give you any wiggle room to use your EMP sticky grenades, your electro fist if you get caught, your spider bot if you see some loot that you can't access and so on.

I think this encourages players to focus on upgrading a single skill and only using that one. For me, it's the spider bot, which can sneak around in your place, take people out stealthily, can also cloak if it's spotted, and you don't die if it gets shot, and it's required to get into many tight areas where loot is. I really want to be able to use the other skills but the usefulness of this single skill makes it simply a poor decision to use anything else, because as I said YOU CAN ONLY PICK ONE unless you are out of a restricted area.

Recruiting People is kind of useless

So far even in iron man mode (permadeath), the only time it matters to recruit and play as a new character is if they are better than your current character. There is virtually no situation in the game where you need to switch characters because one of them has a different ability, even if they are a construction worker and can walk into a restricted zone. Every ability in this game is 100% optional and at best, slightly more convenient for a situation. There's no real benefit to recruiting tons of people except the occasional passive ability they might give to the team which has questionable usefulness in the firstplace.

We could have had a game where recruiting people into an organization and sending them on missions is a whole side thing you can do, and recruits could get incapacitated, killed or arrested without your own involvement, meaning you have to recruit lawyers, medics and cops to stay efficient as you grow your legion, but in this game, you are just a one man army. The one man just changes sometimes.

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My closing thoughts are….this game has the tools to be fun. If you want to be a an old lady who beats people up with the electrofist you can do that and have fun, but I think it's so open ended that players who want to be good at the game will quickly find the best strategy that works for them and stick to it, because there's no reason to do anything else. Playing smart just ends with no variety, because there are no limitations applied to the player. Every hero you recruit is nearly the same as far as playstyle goes, and the frustrating this is I think this game could be a lot more dynamic with very few changes, constantly putting the player in new situations they have to adapt to, but it doesnt.


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