Watch Dogs: Legion
We sit down and review Watch Dogs: Legion. The next and most ambitious title in the hacking franchise. Here is our review of Watch Dogs: Legion
We have all waited after so much time and Watch Dogs: Legion is finally here and out there for us all to experience. The third main title in the franchise with this one being touted as one of the more ambitious titles that Ubisoft is placing out there. The biggest culprit for that claim being that and character we see in this world of Watch Dogs can be our main character and that can shift as we hack our way through the story. A nice selling point, but how does it all handle at the end of the day. Here we go with our review of the game and if the hype finally panned out for it all.
It is a bit into the future for London in the surveillance world of Watch Dogs. A new hacker group, Zero Day, has caused a few big booboos around the area and left DedSec to take the blame for it all. Many of the big players in the group there have had to go to ground, been killed off, or just no longer in the game. That is where we as a new recruit need to step up and help take back London. Even if we used to be a lowly construction worker, former MI6 agent, or even video game designers. No matter the case, we get the crash course in hacking and are then set to task.
I did not want to have to start my review this way, but it will be needed to better inform the rest here, but Watch Dogs: Legion is a very glitchy game right out the gate. Even with the updates and patches that have been placed out there, there are still so very many issues with crashing and game stuttering that it cannot go overlooked. All of which can be fixed over the lifecycle of Watch Dogs: Legion, but it is there from the start and can be overly maddening to have the game crash just before finishing a mission or as you are in the middle of a mission have your vehicle freeze midair while the audio carries on, only to have it unfreeze and you have to course-correct from losing your flow in the game. It was a major fault out of the gate that I kept, and keep, encountering, and could turn people off from the game from the start. Especially if it blends into a few of the other things we have here.
There is also a bit of a UI change here in Legion than we have seen in the past Watch Dogs titles. Not something that is generally frowned on here, but it feels less intuitive than before and when coupled with the above issue can lead to a lot of frustration. Part of this could be from how we are re-introduced to it all with a limited tutorial as well. It was as if Ubisoft wanted to add in a learning curve that was not fully needed in Watch Dogs for some reason. I say that as once you learn to navigate it all a bit more, it can be insanely useful and time-saving. I just know that I have Deactivated too many drones when I meant to Hijack or raised a few platforms too soon when I meant to time them out better. When mixed with the stutter above, it can lead to frustration really fast and then a lot of failed missions.
This last issue is a little bit of a mixed bag here for Watch Dogs: Legion and mostly points at the procedurally generated content in the game. There is no doubt that it makes the world feel a bit more living and breathing but It also leads to a lot of the same areas and missions being repeated to get all these random members of DedSec on board. I think I have played the same “My Friend Is Addicted” mission enough times to have 80 years’ worth of this drug that is supposed to be hard to find. When going into the mission the locations are different, due to the fact it always chooses a location on the extreme opposite end of the map to go to, but it loses a bit of the flavor when the same story is brought up and we can more or less go about the mission in the same way. It is a solid effort but seemed to lack true diversity for my playthrough.
To that extent for the procedural system in Watch Dogs: Legion, I will applaud that it did offer up so many different character options with vastly different abilities, gear, and perks for me to go through. Some were obviously funny given how the system put things together, looking at you unintended pediatrician that recently broke up with a client, but many offered up the way I like to play these kinds of games. Something I felt gets lost in many video games out there and the Watch Dogs franchise at times. I like to play going in as stealthy or clever as possible and with the various different options we have for recruits I always found one that fit the bill and could still get the job done. Even if I did stumble upon a vastly overpowered combination right from the start of my game through some happy accidents. This is what made it truly shine when it came to this mechanic the team put together. I also have to say that this all leads to Watch Dogs: Legion feeling like one of the more organic and living video game worlds I have played in to date. Sure, it is a bit weird to see no children running around London but this type of generation would show up in minor ways on how these NPCs were linked and it always felt like a bit of a nice touch to see that.
To go along with this, it also felt like the entire world of Watch Dogs: Legion was planned out with as much care as possible to allow for the various play options. Almost like many of the other games that let you come at the game and missions how you want. Want to go in on a frontal assault with guns everywhere? You can. Would you rather fly a spider bot over the wall on your delivery drone while watching from the safety of a different building? You can. All while never feeling like it forced you to do it one way or another. Sure, there are sections in the main story that require you to go about it in a very specific way, but the rest of the Watch Dogs: Legion world is as open as you want to make it with your character choices. It is quite a marvel to see and leads to a whole lot of replay fun. Something you will have to do as I mentioned for the various reasons above. At least it can offer up fun in the mix of the faults the game still has.
Lastly, and this could just be based on the times we are living in, but I love the overall story and ethical looks that Watch Dogs: Legion takes at the world in general. It is interspersed into the core gameplay loop and structure that it poses those questions and thoughts in a way that makes one think on which side of the Good/Evil scale they are. Do the means justify the end? Things that we will be seeing here in the real world hit hard soon. Sure, many do not look to their video games for these kinds of things, but when it can get mixed into a solid loop it can get people thinking. Kind of the way we have to do for the people in the city of London in the Watch Dogs universe. It works because it is subtle to me and in the end adds to the actions we take in the game; well for me, it did. Something that added to the enjoyment of it all that I was able to keep pressing on with the game while the glitches kept happening. Without that, I think I would have given serious thought to just putting the game down.
Does Watch Dogs: Legion have its issues and could have released better with more time in the oven? Sure. As of this writing, the game still has glitches and crashes on occasion. Something I fill will get patched and fixed before the next-gen launch in about a week, but it is worth noting for those looking to pick it up now. Thankfully, it does look like many of the gameplay elements that Watch Dogs: Legion was touted to have early on made the game shine. It feels like a living and breathing representation of our world with the different characters all throughout. One that lets us come at everything in different ways and offers up a new way to look at the world. Just as the previous titles in the line, as long as you know the issues are out there and can be ready for them, it is a solid entry to experience. Just know that you will be spending a lot of time finding the right combination of things while getting used to some of the new UI. Still fully worth it in my eyes.
I give Watch Dogs: Legion 91 Recruited Operatives on the Recruited Operative scale.
Watch Dogs: Legion — Launch Trailer
Watch Dogs: Legion was developed and published by Ubisoft for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 29th, 2020 with the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions to launch with the systems. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.