Watch Dogs: Legion Review
A little over a year after being announced, Watch Dogs: Legions is finally here. Is this dystopian version of London worth a visit, or should you pass on this one? Check out our review and find out.
Watch Dogs: Legion Review
Watch Dogs: Legion begins with you playing as a member of DedSec, who is infiltrating the Parliament building. While inside, you come across a bomb that is set to blow it up. You disarm it, only to find that many more have been planted around the city, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Another hacker known as Zero Day then kills your agent, and DedSec is forced to go into hiding. The terrorist attack forces the government to call in Nigel Cass and Albion to take over the city’s security.
Nigel and Albion act as the game’s main protagonists, but there are a few other baddies as well. Albion runs the town without answering to the government, so you have to revive DedSec and fight back. You start as a lone operative, but quickly swell your ranks and bring the fight to Albion. You also need to find Zero Day and make him answer for his crimes. Overall the game will run you roughly 20 hours for the main story, with optional content increasing that time by quite a bit.
I feel like this is more of a Watch Dogs 2.5 than a full-blown sequel, but there are some significant changes from the previous entry. Legion’s main gimmick is recruiting folk to join your team at DedSec. It is an excellent idea in theory, but it robs the story of the main protagonist, and the narrative suffers greatly as a result. It is hard to feel connected to the city’s plight when you don’t even know your character’s name because it was randomly generated. I found myself calling them by their profession instead of names: hitman, construction worker, hacker, spy.
That isn’t to say the recruitment is terrible; it just hinders the narrative. The excitement of finding a promising recruit can be one of the main driving forces of the game. The trouble is when you have a good squad, you will rarely switch from them. There is a permadeath option, but it doesn’t feel rewarding to turn on. I had just got my four skilled hitmen and was ready for a mission. I flew up to the top of a building with a drone, ran to jump, hit an invisible wall – one of the hitman falls to his death. That was the end of my permadeath run.
Combat consists of two main elements: Stealth and third-person shooting. The shooting is okay; not exceptional, but functional. The auto-aim to headshots is powerful, though, so it can be a little too easy. Stealth is excellent once you get a specific skill. When you stealth and take down someone, they turn invisible and other enemies can’t see them. It is a game-changer for me, and something I will gladly like to see implemented in other games. The only bummer is that the AI can be straight-up blind as you sneak-walk past them.
While rebuilding DedSec, you will also be freeing the various sections of London from their oppressors. By liberating these zones, you gain some strong allies in the form of max level recruits. You also get some scumbags off the street, like the slave trader or the crazy woman who implanted herself into an AI. Doing these missions increases DedSec’s influence in the area, and more people will begin to trust you. This helps you seem like the good guys and Albion’s group seem like the bad guys.
It wouldn’t be Watch Dogs without drones, and they are often used in Legion. They consist of camera drones, cargo drones, combat drones, spider drones, and more. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Once you find out that cargo drones can fly you up to high places, many side missions and collectibles become trivial. Why fight or sneak your way through an enemy compound when you can fly to the top of it? Then there’s the spider drone, which often gave me déjà vu of Watch Dogs 2. Using it every now and then would be fine, but it seemed like I had to use it every other mission.
The repetitiveness of these activities begins to grind at you after a while. Navigating vents becomes monotonous, and I swear they re-used some of the vent puzzles from Watch Dogs 2. Speaking of puzzles, the laser puzzles return for Legion. These I didn’t have a problem with since they were quick for the most part. The worst drone missions are the ones where you are in the dark. They want you to move your character, switch to the drone and move that, change back and move yourself, and so on. Those missions are 0 fun and should be removed from the game.
The skill tree, however, is fantastic in Legion. Every skill applies to all of your characters, so you don’t have to redo them constantly. You get abilities to control drones and turrets, new non-lethal weapon upgrades, and new gadgets that can disable your enemies or their equipment. While all the skills are cool, the regular hacking still takes center stage. Hacking cars, traps, roadblocks, and scanning people for personal info is still amazing to mess around with. I couldn’t stop myself from hacking other cars while driving around in the game.
One thing Ubisoft has never really nailed is driving, and Watch Dogs: Legion does not rectify that problem. If you enjoy the feeling of driving on ice, then you will love it. If not, well, at least there is an auto-drive function. While I didn’t run into any bugs or frame drops, I did have multiple crashes. I also think this game would be much better with co-op, which doesn’t release until December.
Watch Dogs: Legion is more of the same, albeit with more technical problems. Even the most diehard of Watch Dogs fans should wait for a patch or two before jumping in.
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