Watch Dogs Legion is one of the more ambitious games to come out of any Ubisoft studio. And, that is saying a lot based on the company’s recent launch history. While the first and second Watch Dogs games focused on specific protagonists, Watch Dogs Legion instead gives you the option to play as anyone.
Set in future London, England, you play as numerous DedSec operatives vying to take back control of the city. Can you rid London of the militant group, Albion?
Watch Dogs: Legion Details
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, Stadia, Amazon Luna and PC
Reviewed on: Staida
Release Date: October 29, 2020
Developer(s): Ubisoft Toronto
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer (coming in Dec. 2020)
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
Welcome to the Resistance
While once a thriving orginzation keeping the peace of London, the group known as DedSec is blamed for major bombings around the city. As a result, the organization goes completely AWOL. Consequently, the militant group Albion is brought in to restore peace and maintain order. But, are they simply a puppet for a grander scheme? Fast forward a few years and London is now settling into life under military rule—while the propaganda paints a clean picture of London, the reality is much darker.
Automation is replacing jobs, leading to unemployment and unrest. And, Albion deals with unrest in one way—elimination. That is when you stumble on the scene, making your way to the abandoned DedSec headquarters, and ultimately reviving the organization that has laid dormant for many years. As you roam the streets of London, recruiting members to the DedSec cause, you slowly dismantle Albion and uncover a great evil at work.
Assemble your team and take London back from the opportunist and authoritarians
Abandoning a primary protagonist is a bold move. While playing through the story as literally anyone is loads of fun, the lack of a central character to care about takes away from the punch the story could otherwise provide. Although, I would still classify the story as good, it would be even better with a primary character to identify with.
The gameplay will have you coming back day after day. In Watch Dogs Legion, imagine yourself playing as the organization. Let DedSec be your central character, and treat the various characters you will recruit as a means-to-an-end. This is truly where the title shines, and where the fun is had.
Recruiting anyone is easy, choosing the right one for the job is key
Like so many titles from Ubisoft, there is never just one way to accomplish anything. That is the philosophy that the gameplay in Watch Dogs Legion is built upon. After you are taken through some early game hand holding, London opens up and you can accomplish almost anything you want.
Recruits are the central focus of the game, as you hunt down someone with specific skills to aid in your cause. Although your DedSec organization is capped, early on you will feel that your recruitment efforts are endless. Want a video game developer on your team? Done, find him, recruit him, and he is yours to play. Want that nice old lady who feeds the birds in the park on your team? Done, find her, recruit her, and she is yours to play.
Ubisoft has built a method to this madness, however. Each person you can recruit will provide different skills and different technologies, to your team. If you are playing as a construction worker, for example, you can call in a construction drone and fly almost anywhere on it. If you play as an electrical engineer, you can unlock doors more efficiently. And that video game developer I mentioned? He can download data faster than the average person.
All of these different abilities help you achieve your goal of overthrowing Albion. Control wise, Ubisoft Toronto has made this pretty easy. Everything is mapped well, using radial wheels where necessary. And, in general, mapping specific actions to specific buttons, regardless of which character you are playing as. LB on the Xbox Controller quickly becomes your best friend. Ubisoft has streamlined the gameplay here, and I really enjoyed it.
A massive urban open world with iconic landmarks
At the time of this review, even with the latest patch, there are a number of hiccups in the game. I’ve encountered a number of oddities in my 25+ hours with the game. This includes cars driving through characters, the game freezing up and even the odd time where enemy NPCs do not even realize I am present—making some missions far too easy.
Regardless, when the game is running as it should, things look great. Character models are fairly detailed and the environments, both the look and the sound of them, are incredible. When you stumble on a specific landmark or notable building, it is quite amazing. I even found the Canadian Embassy!
Although not without its flaws, Watch Dogs Legion is an enjoyable adventure with lots to see and do
With such an ambitious project, perhaps one of the largest in video game history, Watch Dogs Legion is an impressive feat. Before even getting started on the story, I spent countless hours walking and driving the streets of London, taking in the sights, and seeing who I could recruit. The moment-to-moment action and exploration is loads of fun and had me coming back for more.
Though I miss having a single protagonist to connect with, the ability to play as anyone walking down the street is truly mind boggling. Although there are some bugs in the game, it’s good to see Ubisoft working so hard on bringing fixes to Watch Dogs Legion.
+ Play as anyone
+ Vast and detailed city of London to explore
+ Great strategic depth
– No single protagonist
– Some performance issues
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF WATCH DOGS LEGION
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5