From London with Love- Watch Dogs: Legion Review

Welcome to Brendan’s profile.

Not going to lie, I honestly did not want to give this game a try. The only reason I did was because Best Buy had it on sale for $30.

Nothing about this game looked good to me. The concept of recruiting random individuals off the streets of London to join your plight seemed cool and ambitious, but the skeptic in me realized there’s no way this could create a cohesive story. Needless to say, I gave it a try, and we’re going to talk about it.

Also, I’m going to be pumping out reviews left and right so buckle up folks. It’s the Holiday season.

What You Need to Know

Watch Dogs: Legion takes place in a futuristic version of London. A conspiracy puts the city under lock down by a military force known as Albion, and it’s up to DedSec, a well known group of hackers, to get to the bottom of it. As the “main character”, you’ll build up an army of operatives who share the same goal as you; free London and kick ass.

Gameplay

If you’ve played any of the Watch Dogs titles before, you’ll see that this game follows the same trend as the previous two entries.

Hack, shoot, hack, and cause chaos.

The hack abilities are actually all unlocked at the beginning which makes it feel a little cooler at the start. You’ll unlock higher end hacking abilities on drones, but nothing I want to spoil for ya.

What makes this game different is in the Legion part of title.

There is no main protagonist. There’s no Marcus Holloway or Aiden Pearce. When you start up the game, after a intro sequence, you choose a character and that becomes the “main character”. Characters have their own perks and traits that make them pretty unique. My starting character has a perk called “Priority Care” which means shorter team injury time. Your characters can injured in the field taking them out of the action for a set period of time. Priority Care reduces that time.

The second aspect of the Legion title comes in the form of the army you build. You start off as a single body and can recruit anybody to your team. Pull out your phone and you’ll see that innocent grandma is actually a hacker extraordinaire. Initiate a conversation, and she’ll send you to do a mission for her. Upon completion, she’ll become a member of your ragtag team offering her unique skills and abilities. Some characters with added bonuses like their own personal weapons or access to restricted areas. Get you a construction worker to sneak into a construction site or get a doctor for restricted hospital access. It feels almost Hitman like in a sense. You can switch between operatives at any time which brings up a cut scene similar to GTA V where your characters will either meet up and swap out or they’ll be in the middle of an activity and stop what they’re doing to cause trouble.

Besides that, it’s typical Watch Dogs fashion: an open world with plenty to do. The map is broken up into boroughs, and each borough has an occupation level. Free the borough, and you’ll unlock legendary operatives. There are so many character varieties to discover, objects to hack, gadgets to unlock and things to see. Activities range from package deliveries to bare knuckle boxing (which looks great when you’re playing as grandma).

Conclusion

Now comes the part where I talk in first person and critique the game.

This game’s foundation is actually solid. The concept that I wasn’t sold on actually turned out pretty solid. I had a ton of fun recruiting different characters and using their abilities to my advantage. It was a lot more in depth than I realized. One character in particular didn’t like DedSec so he wouldn’t join no matter what I did. As I passed by him on the street, 3 minutes away was a woman getting beat up by Albion. I saved her, and it turns out she ended up being the aunt of the character I wanted to recruit. He then opened up and joined our cause. I guess there are other ways of getting people to join your cause, and I didn’t even know until I explored the game’s menus. Morale of the story, it’s good.

Gameplay wise, I think the hacking remains solid after 6 years and 3 titles of the same formula. Maybe it’s just me, but the game feels like it also feels more accommodating of a wide variety of play styles, and I fully took advantage of being stealthy. I enjoy that stuff. Each character feels unique and different which is something you want in a game of this magnitude. Driving is solid and comes with an auto drive feature in case you just wanted to sight see. The shooting is good, but the fist fighting is bad. I don’t care what you say, but it’s bad.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t as peeved as I thought I was going to be, but a few little things bothered me. I got the PS4 version and used the free upgrade, but to me, this doesn’t feel like a next gen title. You could’ve told me this was mid generation release on last generation consoles. There are moments where it looks really good, but then otherwise, it just doesn’t. There is a photo mode that comes with this, but it’s basic compared to something like Miles Morales or Ghost of Tsushima. Load times are good though!

On the other hand, the Ubisoft trend is getting old. They seem to think everybody enjoys the tried and true formula of open world with activities, but it’s old now. Really old. The reason for mentioning this is because the next game up is that other Ubisoft title that has been really dividing fans. I will say this world feels a bit more lively since the game revolves around you profiling characters and recruiting them. The dialogue is cheesy/cringe to an extent, even worse than I think Watch Dogs 2 might have been. The story has some interesting themes, but I wouldn’t say expect too much from it, especially when Cyberpunk 2077 has a similar setting and probably will give you a better story. Also, enemy encounters are easy with enemies having almost no field of view and just being dumb. There is an option for Permadeath which kills your characters off for good, and if you’re into that, I’d say go through it for the added challenge.

When I picked up this game, part of me wanted to not like. After having sat down, and built up my legion, I can say it’s actually pretty good. The more time I spent going around London grew on me. I will say if you’re not sure about this game, get it when it’s on sale. I love the series, and I hope they come back with something that makes it a lot more intimate story wise but carries some of the improvements this game brought to the table.


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