Games are always evolving by experimenting with new ways to make the process of gaming much more unique and personal. Thus, when Ubisoft decided to take one of their most famous franchises down a different direction, it intrigued me. That’s right; I’m talking about Watch Dogs: Legion, the game where you can play as anyone you want.
Even though this concept is new and unexplored, it certainly has a large degree of risks involved due to the possibility of it not working out as intended. However, just speculating about it isn’t going to help anyone, so we’re here to finally review this highly anticipated game to see what the fuss is all about! Let’s dive right in.
What is Watch Dogs: Legion?
Watch Dogs: Legion is the latest entry in the Watch Dogs franchise that is known for its futuristic take on a world that heavily depends on technology and often then not ends up paying the price for it.
Developed and published by Ubisoft, the game is an open-world action-adventure that takes place in London where you’ll decide how to save it by making use of whoever you want. Instead of using the traditional method of a fixed protagonist, Ubisoft has chosen to do things differently by giving players the power to decide who their protagonist is.
I’ll admit, at first I thought it was a risky move on Ubisoft’s part, especially given how the overall story might get downplayed if there was no clear protagonist. However, as I began playing the game, I was glad to see that that wasn’t the case since having no protagonist was the entire focal point of the story. Anyone could be a hero in Watch Dogs: Legion.
Let’s start with the story of Watch Dogs: Legion and spoilers alert as I’ll be covering the prologue mission involving certain characters but nothing too detailed; skip ahead to the next section if you’d rather not know.
The game starts by setting up the scene by taking a page straight out of the James Bond franchise, where a spy gets sent in to investigate a government threat in Parliament. And right off the bat, you start to appreciate the distinct British accents, dialogues and humour that makes it all the more evident that you’re in London.
You begin your journey by controlling Dalton Wolfe, an MI-5 agent and a member of a DedSec cell operating in London under the charge of Sabine Brandt. As you progress through the prologue, you soon realize that the situation is worse for wear with bombs ready to go off while implicating DedSec along with it.
After dealing with waves of enemies and fighting against time, Dalton manages to defuse the bombs but soon realizes that it was only a small part in a much larger scheme and he had just walked into a trap.
Enter Zero-Day, the antagonist of Watch Dogs: Legion, who begins to explain that destruction is the cure to make changes and that it’s time for a hard reset. He then goes on to blow up key locations in London and kills off Dalton Wolfe. Honestly, it felt like a badass introduction for Zero-Day, but it sucked that we had to lose a super spy!
Soon after DedSec gets framed for the bombings, London begins its slow descent into a police state when the government hands over control to a private military company called Albion led by Nigel Cass. Thus, begins the story of the Resistance taking back London from its oppressors with a fresh recruit at a time, while working to clear up DedSec’s name in the process and hunt down Zero-Day for its crimes.
Gameplay of Watch Dogs: Legion.
Play as anyone.
Right after the prologue ends, you are introduced to a list of operatives to choose from within the game. As you survey through the list, you’ll notice that each character comes with their very own skillset; some can be quite useful while others are just absolutely ridiculous, which makes it all the more fun to try it out!
You’ll also notice that each character is entirely detailed out and not just a shell. Think of Watch Dogs: Legion like it’s the Matrix, where every person is alive with thoughts, a life filled with associates such as family and colleagues, careers and capabilities.
As you begin exploring London, you’ll come across a vast number of people that you can recruit to join your team of operatives; however, the process it’s not as simple as just hiring them. You’ll need to work to earn their trust, and even then some will be harder than most.
After the bombings, most citizens have a poor impression of DedSec which is noticeable with the red thumbs down icon found on their profile. Due to this, you will get restricted from recruiting them, and the more harm you do to this individual or their known associates, the higher the red icons will get.
One of the most riveting components of Watch Dogs: Legion, is that these characters are capable of memorising everything that you did to them or their associates and thus ultimately leading them to either hate or love DedSec altogether.
Every action has a consequence in the game. For example, some of these characters might decide to retaliate by hunting you down for hurting their loved ones. So if you intend to play aggressively by taking everyone out, be prepared to make a lot of enemies in the world of Watch Dogs: Legion. The only way to make things better is by improving your reputation by helping them out directly or indirectly.
Recruitment missions are personal and unique to each character; some can be as simple as clearing a bad debt from a gang while others can be as difficult as breaking into a secure building to wipe out their criminal records off the servers. No matter who you choose to recruit, you’ll have a blast doing it while learning more about this person.
Boroughs and side activities.
London is essentially divided into eight boroughs, and your job as the Resistance is to free the people from the tyranny of Albion by sabotaging, eliminating and exposing them by any means necessary.
Each borough will have its very own individual mission objectives to be cleared before a final mission for that area gets unlocked. After completing, the people will become inspired to stand up against their oppressors and in turn, makes it easier for you to recruit them.
Clearing each borough will also yield a special operative that’s generally more difficult to find them around London unless you look around long and deep enough. These operatives are usually a cut above the rest and tend to come with some cool skills. For example, the Spy operative that I had unlocked could summon a car that was decked out with cloaking and missiles!
London has more things to offer than just fighting against power. Various side missions in the game will give you a break from the standard routine of battling the man in charge.
For example, you could get down and bloody in the underground fighting clubs to be the ultimate victor, which might lead you to meet your next heavy hitting recruit. Or if you’re just tired of fighting, why not take up a simple task of delivering parcels to some shady people for a quick buck?
Combat, Hacking and Skills.
What’s a Watch Dogs game without gadgets to enjoy? Watch Dogs: Legion has a fair share of technology to be unlocked that makes your overall gameplay all the more engaging and fascinating.
Technologies are split into four categories: Hacks, Upgrades, Weapon and Gadgets. Depending on your playstyle, some upgrades will be more useful than the rest. For example, in my playthrough, I decided to play by sneaking around with a non-lethal weapon in hand. And so I focused more on the Gadgets and Hacks unlocks to give me an edge.
To unlock an upgrade, players will need to look for Tech points all around London. You can either look for it by exploring London or choose to clear a borough to make them appear on the map. No matter which route you take, getting them will not be as easy since some are quite tricky.
Combat and Hacking in Watch Dogs: Legion is exceptionally immersive and fluid. Combat has gotten completely revamped to cater to different fighting styles based on professions. For example, a Hitman will use a fibre wire to takedown his adversaries from behind and utilize badass fighting techniques when confronted head-on.
Whereas, a Doctor will use basic punches to take down his opponent and then finishes them off with a defibrillator! You’ll never get bored trying out the different professions, and it just adds more to the element of replayability.
As for hacking, it has gotten simplified to just a few buttons that make it so much less disruptive and more immersive during the gameplay. You won’t be fidgeting through the controls to execute a hack like before; instead, you’ll be moving through a battle while seamlessly hacking and attacking enemies. Thus, everything ends up feeling so smooth and natural.
One of the most beautiful things in Watch Dogs: Legion is London itself. I’ve never been to London before but seeing it and walking around it in the game makes me feel like I’m truly experiencing it for real. The people, the building and details bring all of London to life impressively and adds the element of realism to it.
The fact that the Watch Dogs: Legion looks so authentic on the PS4 makes me wonder how marvellous it will look on the PS5! And throughout my playthrough, I didn’t experience any visual issues except for some rare crashes which will probably get fixed in upcoming patches. On that part, I’m glad that the delays for the game have genuinely improved it to such a high standard.
Another great addition to the game is the ability to customize and make your character your own. As an RPG lover, I love creating my characters to suit my playstyle but in Watch Dogs: Legion you don’t get to do that. However, you do get to change up everything that your avatar wears to make it unique and different from other players. This feature will be quite useful once the Multiplayer portion of the game gets released and you start to play with other users.
There are two ways to get more customization options for your characters. The first one is through shopping at various in-game clothing stores, and the other is by purchasing it through the online store in the game with real currency. I’m not a massive fan of microtransactions, but even I’ll admit that some of the designs are badass.
The Bottom Line.
We have come to the end of the review, and it’s time to decide if Watch Dogs: Legion is worth your time and money? After playing the game for days, I can honestly say this is probably one game that I didn’t expect to enjoy so much and that everyone should give it a shot.
Despite my initial reservations, Ubisoft went all out and made an incredible game. Trust me when I tell you that you’ll spend more time roaming London, enjoying everything it has to offer and finding recruits before you even finish the game.
One thing that became apparent to me in my playthrough is that the game becomes too easy overtime with all of the upgrades and thus probably played best with the option of Permadeath mode enabled; adds more depth to your mistakes in-game.
An entertaining game that introduces a whole new concept of playing as anyone, thus taking replayability to the next level.
- Play as anyone.
- Extremely fun.
- Detailed and beautiful world.
- Character Customization.
- Characters are very ‘alive’.
- Minor bugs and crashes.
- Unable to create a character.
- The game becomes very easy with more upgrades.