Watch Dogs: Legion Review

A hack and stealth open world adventure

Release Date
October 29, 2020
Developed by
Ubisoft Toronto
Published by
Ubisoft Toronto
Genre
Action-Adventure
Consoles
PC (Windows), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, Google Stadia

I must say that Watch Dogs: Legion is certainly Ubisoft’s first step towards innovative gameplay as it opens up a lot of potential in the future for the series. After playing Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2, Watch Dogs’ gameplay: Legion makes it stand out as its own title, which might explain why Ubisoft avoided the title Watch Dogs 3. Watch Dogs: Legion is available on PC, Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and the Xbox Series S/X. This review will be primarily based on the PC version of Watch Dogs: Legion.

The story of Watch Dogs: Legion focuses on a near-future London that became a locked-down surveillance state following the horrific events of terrorist bombings across the capital. After being framed for this disaster by an unknown organization known as Zero Day, DedSec, the franchise’s hack and stealth savvy heroes, must build resistance to clear their name and fight to save the capital from facing its own downfall. What caught my attention is that there is no main protagonist. 

I was extremely excited to dive into the gameplay of Watch Dogs: Legion after hearing about the new concept of playing as anyone with the ability to recruit anyone. This new style of playing for the series, however, comes with several changes. For example, Aiden Pearce (Watch Dogs) and Marcus Holloway (Watch Dogs 2) gain new abilities through story progression, but the playable characters in Watch Dogs: Legion do not. Some players might feel that this is a limitation since most characters only have a few abilities, skills, and weapons. Personally, I like the idea of not playing as a “jack of all trades” protagonist. It adds a sense of realism that everyone is unique in their own way. Players like myself might also find that they do not need to fill all 40 available operative slots or use more than one operative to complete the game.

Watch Dogs: Legion Review 1

By exploring every area of the map, you can obtain tech points. You can use them for a set selection of upgrades to unlock and apply to your team of operatives. Tech point upgrades help push the overall progression of the story as you play through the campaign. Meanwhile, earning money in Watch Dogs: Legion feels quite useless since the currency is only used to unlock more clothes instead of purchasing new gadgets like in Watch Dogs 2

My personal favorite recruit throughout my playthrough was a magician. I had to go through repetitive recruit missions and some rehashed cut scenes for her. I recommend helping an operative by finding out their personal information. It’s much easier to gain a member by saving their grandma instead of trying to blow up or steal evidence. The most interesting characters, similarly to my magician, play substantially different. Players have the ability to recruit a member of the private police or a doctor and use them to infiltrate heavily guarded areas, which feels like a Hitman game. 

Watch Dogs: Legion Review 2

Playing the game on hard mode with permadeath enabled, I felt that the stakes were higher than the previous two titles. I had to be cautious after losing a few characters. As advertised in the trailer, losing any operative in permadeath means they are dead, and if the entire team dies, the game ends. If you choose to play with permadeath turned off, by default, characters that are beaten down or shot are sent to the hospital. Any operatives that get arrested are sent to prison. Either situation makes them unavailable to play until they pay their debt to society or recover. 

An interesting feature I noticed in my playthrough is that any operative you do not play goes back into the world as an NPC, living their daily lives in the dystopia based London. This leaves them open to the dangers in the city, such as human trafficking and police brutality. I have lost operatives from either being randomly kidnapped off the street (yes, this happens) or being victims of police brutality by the private police force. Although some of those operatives were replaceable, one of the operatives I lost after they were kidnapped had a rare ability that is extremely difficult to find in the game. Fortunately, Bagley—DedSec’s snarky AI—helps point you to new elite types to recruit. 

As with any new game, Watch Dogs: Legion does not come out unscathed from glitches. I did experience some frame-drops after extended hours of gameplay. Not to mention all of the silly in-game glitches like unhackable drones rubbing against the pavement or cars randomly flipping over as police officers chased me down the street. The graphics for Watch Dogs: Legion are absolutely stunning. I was able to get a nice experience of ray tracing throughout my gameplay. The finer details of the game show how far technology has gone for the development of games. There is a huge roster of playable characters available with well-done randomization. Each character’s appearances and voices are distinctly randomized enough that I did not see any repetition of characters in my playthrough.

Watch Dogs: Legion Review 3

I must admit that the music on the radio is repetitive. If I got into a car, one of the same three songs would play for me unless I changed it. Even with the full list of songs available, I did not get to hear every single one in my playthrough. On the other hand, the background music for missions is well balanced with the game audio. Underneath the sounds of flying bullets, missiles, and exploding drones, I could still hear the background’s recognizable techno stealth music. 

Watch Dogs: Legion Review

So what’s my take on this new title? The ability to swap between the citizens at will with this variety makes up for not having a traditional story-progressing protagonist. Playing with permadeath enabled and on a harder difficulty will increase the risks of infiltration missions during your gameplay. The map is extremely detailed and filled with a variety of things to explore with drones’ help. The open-world hacker sandbox style of Watch Dogs: Legion is what sets its gameplay apart from the previous titles and other open-world titles such as Grand Theft Auto.

 

Watch Dogs: Legion Review
The John Wick-esque gameplay continues
The open world hacker sandbox style of Watch Dogs: Legion sets its gameplay apart from the previous titles and other open world titles such as Grand Theft Auto.
Pros
Playable characters and NPCs are a reflection of modern world politics
Open-world sandbox
Character skill progression
New drones
Cons
Repetitive recruitment missions
Radio station
Lack of character development in the narrative
Frame drops
Silly glitches
3.5
Score
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