*A copy of this game was provided by Ubisoft to FYIG for review purposes*
It’s fitting to me that Watch Dogs: Legion is one of the last games to come out before the Xbox Series S/X and PS5 debut. I remember being so excited for the first Watch Dogs game coming to PS4 and Xbox One and being slightly let down. The series has come a long way since then with the solid Watch Dogs 2 and now going to England with Legion. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the latest game in the series!
Watch Dogs: Legion is set in London, England, albeit a far more technologically-advanced version of the city. The protagonist hacking group DedSec has been framed for a series of bombings around the city and are branded as terrorists. Of course, they had nothing to do with it, it was the brainchild of a mysterious new hacking group called Zero Day. Many of DedSec’s members were either killed or captured so the group has to crowdsource new members to gain back some strength in numbers and fight back against Zero Day, private military group Albion and other enterprises around the city. It’s definitely an us against them story.
London is still very much the same city that we see in the real world today with a lot more technology thrown in. All types of drones flood the skies while huge electronic billboards are seemingly everywhere. The city’s landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace are all represented under a futuristic backdrop. There are even self-driving cars which I don’t think I’ve seen in many games before. There are towering buildings that add a different dynamic to how you approach different missions. There are a lot of buildings you’ll have to hack your way through as well but I felt like they were all very similar to each other.
Hacking is still the name of the game of course and I feel that it’s probably the best in the series in Legion. There are endless things to hack in every location which gives you endless ways to complete your mission. If you want to go in guns blazing, you still can, but it’s a lot more fun to try and do things quietly. There are different types of drones and spiderbots to cause havoc without stepping foot in an enemy compound. You can even use a cargo drone to lift you to places you can’t get to on foot or to use as a little command center out of the way of suspicious eyes.
There are still plenty of puzzles that you’ll have to decipher and drone obstacle courses to get to certain areas that you’ll have to navigate as well which breaks up the gameplay a little bit. I didn’t love those sections a whole lot because they seemed to drag on a bit long but it was nice to have that variety thrown in. The gunplay is still solid and there’s a variety of weapons to use from stun guns to paintball guns to regular machine guns and shotguns. There are only a few small differences in enemies from what I’ve seen but they have their own drones, turrets, and security systems to slow you down. If you trip an alarm, you’re in for a world of hurt and firefights can be rough to get out of.
The big feature in Watch Dogs: Legion is that you can recruit new members to DedSec to join your cause right off of the street. I wasn’t sure how well this feature was going to be implemented but it is kind of cool to see in action. Every character has some type of backstory and occupation. I recruited a construction worker with a nail gun as a special weapon for my first addition. I ended up getting a beekeeper, an accountant, a CEO, a drone pilot, and a bunch more. Some have special weapons, others have certain perks like the ability to gain the allegiance of drones or crazy things like spontaneous death. I kid you not. Ubisoft really went all out with the different characters giving them little backstories and highlighting their relatives or acquaintances when you see them in the world.
The coolest thing about all the characters in the world is that your actions affect their affinity for DedSec. If you run over someone with your car and they survive, you might meet them later on and they’ll be more difficult to recruit and it will show what you did in their file. This makes the world feel more fluid and alive and like every little thing you do matters. Recruitment was a bit of a pain for me as I felt like it was a lot of filler missions to get a certain character into your good graces. It can take a considerable amount of time to gain a new recruit and once I got a solid group of a dozen or so I didn’t feel the need to keep wasting my time adding more.
I did feel that having so many different characters at my disposal took away from the narrative a little bit for me. This probably won’t be the case for most people but I just really felt like I didn’t care about the story as much because I was never invested in the characters at all. Coming from Marcus and the gang in Watch Dogs 2 it just felt really generic. Sure, I cared about DedSec’s mission but I was never thinking, “Oh, I really hope so and so doesn’t die”. In fact, I can’t tell you a single name of any one of the characters I used in the game off the top of my head.
I did have some pretty big technical issues on the Xbox One S while playing through Legion. There were four different times during my playthrough where the game would freeze up completely out of the blue and emit a buzzing sound from the speakers. The game would then drop back to the dashboard and I’d have to boot into the game all over again. I don’t know if this will be a problem on the next-gen consoles or if it’s a problem on PS4 or PC but it was a notable issue that led to me having to replay some sizeable missions.
Watch Dogs: Legion is another fun hacking romp with tons of cool characters to play as and the ability to hack a wide variety of objects to complete your objectives. London is a beautiful setting with futuristic vibes as far as the eye can see. If you can get past the technical issues that I was experiencing, it’s definitely worth the playthrough.