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Can Watch Dogs Survive Without A Protagonist?


Watch Dogs: Legion Bloodline is an extremely interesting expansion. The base game of Watch Dogs: Legion is all about choosing who you want to play as. Everyone in London can be recruited to your team and become the character you control. The thing is, none of them has much personality to them. Sure, they’ve all got a backstory and data on them, but they’re not a character of substance that you can get behind. Instead, they’re husks for your own personality to come into the game, and that doesn’t do a lot to help you identify with their plights. The game feels like a ghost of what it could be as a result. Bloodline shows what’s possible with a protagonist.

Aiden Pearce is a character we all know and love. However, he could be anyone. The real difference with Bloodline is that it gives us someone to root for. We’re suddenly a character who has a place in this world with real motivations and fears. That’s what helps make Bloodline so compelling. Watch Dogs: Legion could have been this, but Ubisoft missed the mark. The real issue is that Ubisoft didn’t give NPCs enough personality when it comes to fighting Albion. If the core story moments made it clear how much everyone hated the police force, then the game would have come off better.

There’s a way it could be fixed in the future though because I really do like the NPC swapping feature. Every character should just wear their mask as soon as you jump to them. With no face, it’s easy to think of them as the same protagonist, just with a different loadout. If every NPC shares dialogue and has a genuinely intriguing story that affects them personally, then it’ll be much better for the franchise. The recruitment missions just aren’t enough to make me feel for a character. I need to see their personality bleed through, and that’s so much easier to do with masks on, and maybe even no dialogue outside of cutscenes. Ubisoft has a chance to get this right in the next entry, I just hope they look at what they’ve got and make it work.

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