As the third installment in the series, Watch Dogs Legion lets you take on the role of DedSec operatives fighting together with one objective in mind: Take Back London.
Legion takes you to London in the near future filled with self-driving cars, patrol drones, surveillance cameras, all of which tie into the central themes of the game. As a member of DedSec, your aim is to stop an organization called Zero Day after being framed by them for a bombing attack. This sparks the formation of the resistance, willing to stand in the way of a corrupt private army, crime syndicate, and all other oppressors to take back London. Thanks to the whole city being oversaturated with tech, London becomes the perfect playground for hackers and members of DedSec.
In terms of visuals, Legion captures the look and aesthetic of London excellently thanks to the accurate depiction of world-renowned landmarks such as the London Eye and Big Ben to name a few. One of the most interesting aspects is the diversity and cultural differences between districts which are highlighted by graffiti, style, and fashion. Throughout my initial playthrough, I did encounter frame rate drops in overcrowded areas even after exceeding the recommended specs. However, as of writing this review, Ubisoft has released a patch that optimizes performance across all consoles and also addresses other technical issues that have been resolved.
One of the most notable features that help Legion stand out from the crowd is the ability to recruit and play as any NPC in the game, unlike prior iterations which had main protagonists. After scanning an NPC with abilities you like, the recruiting process is as easy as talking to them and completing a simple favor to earn their trust. The roster of playable characters is very diverse and includes anyone from spies to construction workers to old grannies and many more.
By playing with permadeath enabled, you run the risk of losing members of your team if things go south during missions and you get gunned down. This raises the stakes and makes infiltrating restricted areas even more intense especially in the later stages of the game. Thankfully, it is always possible to find new recruits since you have the entire population of London to choose from. Since characters aren’t fixed, the upgrade system applies to your entire roster such as weapon upgrades, an invisibility cloak, and many others. This can be accomplished by collecting Tech Points usually found in restricted areas during missions and side-activities.
The core gameplay loop revolves around entering a restricted area and downloading/uploading certain information before making an escape. This is consistent all throughout the game but the methods you use vary depending on the approach you choose to take. The most rewarding and satisfying methods usually involve stealth and using the environment to your advantage, however, going in guns blazing is also a viable alternative and can be quite enjoyable. Some sections also involve puzzle challenges that feel refreshing and sometimes help in collecting the aforementioned Tech Points. Driving overall does not serve much of a purpose other than driving to and from objectives, which isn’t a bad thing considering the large map size. However, it would have been a good idea to include some missions with high-speed chases and hacking while driving to change up the pace every once in a while.
Like many games nowadays, Watch Dogs Legion will feature free content releasing in the next few months including an online mode this December as well as extra content sometime in 2021. We will also be seeing the return of iconic characters such as Aiden Pierce and Wrench in the Bloodline story expansion bundled with Watch Dogs Complete Edition upon getting the season pass.
Watch Dogs Legion takes the series in an interesting new direction with innovative gameplay mechanics never seen before such as playing as any NPC while still staying true to hacking elements of previous iterations. The game takes a lot of risks and for the most part, they pay off quite well with the exception of the slightly unengaging story at times. The fun mission design, breathing open-world and strong message help Legion establish itself as a solid entry in the series with personality and flair unseen before.
GameRev was provided with a digital download code for the purpose of this review.
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