Watch Dogs: Legion
With Watch Dogs: Legion we are once again part of anarchist hacker group DedSec and of course we are trying to overthrow a corrupt organisation, called Albion, a militarized police force that has been given free rein on London after a series of terrorist attacks. This time you’re not forced to play the central character, instead Ubisoft has employed a new feature: “recruit and play as anyone.” This and the fact the game is played in London, a city I have visited many times, made Legion a game I was extremely excited about. Being able to play literally anyone in the game, turning NPC into playable characters. who would bring their own unique set of skills to the table, was a truly revolutionary idea.
You can’t just go up to anyone and instantly recruit them. Some people just won’t talk to you, and let’s be honest, you’re going to want to hack the phone first to see just what they are going to bring to the table. Once you’ve initiated a conversation with a potential new recruit you’ll have to complete a mission for them, such as breaking into a gang HQ and hacking a computer to wipe their debt, or hijacking a drug shipment. You know, the usual stuff. But once the new recruit joins DedSec, you can instantly play them. From time to time the DedSec mainframe will find a potential recruit for you, or the mission will require a specific type of recruit. It all works the same, however, and it works surprisingly well.
Each new recruit comes with their own set of skills and equipment, voice, look, and attitude. And whilst you can achieve most missions without having to change character, it’s fun to experiment.
The villains, however, don’t have the depth or variety of possible recruits. Other than being stronger or better armed, they all come with essentially the same attributes.
London however, is fucking amazing. Its near-futuristic setting is a little off-kilter to what I remember from my childhood, but everything is familiar, and add to this the fact that your secret DedSec HQ is in a banded part of the subway accessible only through a secret room in a fucking pub, and you have just the right vibe.
Legion pushes the current-gen to its absolute limits, bringing possibly the best looking, most immersive open-world game my Xbox One X has ever seen. The result is occasionally you’ll get a frame rate drop or see some weird glitches. But this has been minimal and doesn’t really affect gameplay.
In this futuristic London, drones rule the sky, and whilst these will hunt you later in the game, they can also be hacked, and at least one operative that you can recruit has the ability to call in a cargo drone, which you can then jump onto and access parts of the game that would have been a challenge or even impossible with the drone’s capabilities. Of course, attack drones will become a problem, but as with any decent open-world game, Legion has its own tech tree of unlockable toys and skills. Gather enough XP and you’ll be able to hack and disable just about any drone, or even hijack them.
Another element of open-world games and in fact most Ubisoft games is the sure and certain repetitive nature of doing missions. It is what it is, you can’t escape it. If you go around recruiting lots of operatives, the missions will get very familiar after a while. But the main story missions all seem to have enough of a difference – for example, one can only be completed using your spider bot, and one has the annoying stealth rule where is you et discovered mission over. Which is a handy lead into combat and stealth. Most missions presumably can be done stealthily, but being the guy I am, if my character has a nail gun, I’m just gonna nail the bad guys and get the mission done with a decent body count. For those of you that aren’t as bloodthirsty as me, but lack the required skills to be a ninja, most operatives carry non-lethal, stun weapons.
Watch Dogs: Legion is a fantastic game, that lives up to its own hype, a game that improves on its predecessors whilst retaining the same feel. It’s even a game that has me wondering just how much better it might look on an XBox Series X.
Rating: R16 Restricted to persons 16 years and over. NOTE: Violence, offensive language & content that may disturb.
GEEKERY rating: 4.5/5
A copy of Watch Dogs: Legion was provided by the publisher for the purpose of review.