Watch Dogs: Legion Review
London’s facing its downfall courtesy of state surveillance, private military, and organized crime. Recruit a well-rounded resistance to overthrow the wankers ruining this once-great city. The fate of London lies with you. As heavily advertised, Watchdogs Legion allows you to play as anyone. Each character has their own backstory, personality, motivations for joining, and skill set – all of which comes into play as you customize your team. From professional hitmen to government officials, grandmas, and even those creepy people who perform on the street as living statues everyone has something to contribute to the team.
I’ve been a big fan of the Watchdogs series since the first one, although admittedly that one seems to divide folks. Watchdogs always had a great story as the backbone followed up by a strong cast of characters (evident in Watchdogs 2 especially). But one of the most unique things about the series is that it truly lets you play as you want to, and this one ramps it up even more. As you decide the best way to break into a police station to hack the database, you are really presented with options to adapt to how you want to play. You could go in guns blazing and lay waste to everyone inside, you could hack the security cameras and drops the defense systems to make it easier for you to creep around and use non-lethal force to get through, maybe you prefer to toss your spider bot in to creep around and get the data you need, or you could just recruit a police officer and walk right in and get it, heck you could hack a cargo drone and ride it to the top of the station and work your way down from the roof. My point is, you can really tackle all the different objectives however you want.
If you’ve played Watchdogs 2, admittedly Watchdogs Legion looks and feels very similar with some slight enhancements. Looking forward to seeing what the next-gen hardware does for the game. While the virtual town of London is very detailed and extremely alive and active at all hours, many of the characters are not so great to look at during cutscenes and such. But a game of this scale with THIS much going on all the time I expected some shortcomings in that dept. In typical Watchdogs fashion, there is a giant map with TONS to-do, not just side quests either. Always keeping in mind to scan the crowd for your next recruit, I would typically look and see if they had a profession that would help me with a decent skillset. Like someone who works in the medical field will ensure that if your agents fall in combat they will come back into play sooner, or a lawyer who can help release arrested team members.
Now as much fun as it is building an army of Dedsec agents, I do find myself missing the great memorable characters like Marcus, Wrench, and the gang, although some fan favorites are returning in DLC. Sure, I have my favorites on my team that I enjoy playing as, it’s more for their unique skillset, vs narrative reasons. Speaking of the narrative, this one is a doozy. It is unabashedly political and so 2020 it’s not even funny. Right from the start of the game, Dedsec are the bad guys. There are multiple bombings and Dedsec has been set up. From there they are all but disbanded and it’s up to you to rebuild the team and take down those responsible for putting London in a police state (except it’s not the police it’s a brutal privatized military force Albion) who do not shy away from publicly beating innocent people handcuffed in the street. Throughout the game, you are attempting to help London rise against the oppressors and take back London. The story goes in some EXTREMELY dark places and has some questionable narrative points that made me stop and think what-if numerous times. But brutality, fake news, spying on folks, riots, and protests, this is 2020 the game.
The main campaign takes around 20 hours to complete, but there is non stop additional content going on in the form of pop up events, side quests, recruitment missions, and special missions that help convince the town to join the fight with Dedsec. There is always something to distract you and keep you upgrading whether it’s in the form of new and upgraded tech, weapons, skills, gadgets, or recruits. This is all without the multiplayer or DLC story content coming (four in all) to help keep this game going.
The game does have its moments where it chugs along and I did experience some game crashing as well, overall though nothing to really detract from my enjoyment and I look forward to seeing how it runs on next-gen hardware when I have the chance to. Driving is improved but still really not good overall, the steering feels floaty and loose at times, however, you can always utilize the subway system to fast travel instead. The music is fantastic with lots of song and music styles familiar to those in the UK with a strong line up including The Gorillaz, The Prodigy, and more.
If you are a Watchdogs fan, then this game is for you. It feels familiar with new stuff added in to further enhance your experience and playtime with a gripping story that sometimes feels too real. If you’ve never liked a Watchdogs game in the past, sadly I don’t see this changing your mind. I, however, will continue to play this through the end of the year no doubt and will be writing about next-gen performance, DLC content, and more as it comes out for sure.
Thanks to Ubisoft Canada for the opportunity to review and play this game early!