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Game review - Watch Dogs: Legion

05 Nov 2020

The Watch Dogs franchise from Ubisoft has had a patchy history ever since the series was first announced at E3 2012. While the E3 presentation pretty much wowed everyone, people were not too impressed when the game finally came out in 2014. 

When I reviewed Watch Dogs on PS4 back in 2014, I remembered that I enjoyed the game. Sure the graphics weren’t up to E3’s standards, but I liked hacking people and the third person shooting was on point. 

Watch Dogs was also deemed a disappointment because people didn’t like the uncharismatic main character named Aiden Pearce. However, I didn’t mind the Chicago setting of the game as it’s a breath of fresh air seeing a game that wasn’t set in New York. 

Watch Dogs 2 in 2016 was a slight improvement, although the changes in that game weren’t enough to keep the San Francisco setting going. With Watch Dogs: Legion, Ubisoft has changed the setting once again and there is a new main character now. 

Well to be fair, Watch Dogs: Legion now doesn’t have one main character at all. This is because you can recruit many normal citizens in order to be members of the DedSec hacking group. You can choose to be anyone of any gender, and every character has their own unique skills and fighting styles. 

As for the story, Watch Dogs: Legion is set in a not so distant future in London, England. A terrorist group known as Zero Day has detonated bombs all around the city. The members of DedSec are framed, so the organisation has to prove their innocence and also find out what Zero Day is going to do next. 

Proving their innocence isn’t going to be easy because London has become a police state thanks to a group called the Albion. London is pretty much in chaos at the moment, so it’s up to the members of DedSec to restore order. 

I actually liked the setting of London because most games are set in the U.S. and I have not seen a modern open world game set in London since The Getaway series on the PS2. Another bonus point is that all of the characters all have strong English accents. It’s also nice to hear newer voice actors other than the overly saturated talents of Troy Baker or Laura Bailey…

What I like most about the Watch Dogs series of games is that it's most than just your average third-person shooting game. Hacking and solving puzzles makes a huge bulk of the gameplay, and this makes the game feel more diverse and exciting than some other open world games of the same genre. 

For example, in Watch Dogs: Legion I was able to take control of a robotic spider. This robotic spider can crawl into small spaces like vents and is good and hacking computers while your main character is hiding away. I was even able to take charge of a flying drone at one point of the game. 

I do have to admit, some of the hacking and spying missions can get a little bit difficult at times. This is because you might need to find a nearby camera or a tiny vent to crawl through. Sometimes the game doesn’t give you helpful directions, so it can be a pain not knowing where to go at all times. 

There are also many challenges where you have to direct electricity to the right places using the Square button. These puzzles are indeed tedious sometimes, although you will feel satisfied once you solve the problem yourself. If you get really stuck though, you could just watch a guide to save you all the trouble. 

In terms of combat, Watch Dogs: Legion still has very decent shooting mechanics. You can take cover and use lots of guns to kill many of your opponents. The shooting feels nice and smooth, plus it’s satisfying to participate in firefights. 

If you don’t feel like killing people, you can always take down enemies using stealth. In this game, you can take people down using several cool melee attacks. Stealth takedowns are always cool to execute and they are better at not alerting the enemies. 

Hand-to-hand combat is also available, although this feels like a mixed bag for me. This first character I used was really cool because she was able to use karate. When I used a different character, their combat felt stiff and slow in comparison. The melee combat also feels similar to how characters fight in the Grand Theft Auto games.

As for exploration, driving in Watch Dogs: Legion feels pretty cool. You can opt to drive around the city yourself, or you can let the computer drive to the locations for you. The latter option is fun, although the self-driving cars obey traffic rules meaning it’s really slow. Due to this, I decided to drive on my own at all times. 

Graphically, Watch Dogs: Legion looks okay on the Xbox One X. It’s not the best looking open world game out there, although I’m sure the game will look better if you play it on Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. We couldn’t test the next-gen versions yet as the upgrades aren’t available until next week. 

There are not many bad things I can say about Watch Dogs: Legion, although some people may find the missions can get repetitive. Some of the hacking puzzles are also frustrating too. Not to mention some of the waypoints in this game are very unhelpful. There were times I had to double-check where I was going because the waypoint didn’t put me into the right direction. 

Aside from a few annoying flaws, Watch Dogs: Legion is still a fun game to play if you are a fan of the previous two games. If you never liked the series, Legion doesn’t do anything new that will persuade you to pick this game up. Still, it’s an enjoyable open-world game with mostly good game mechanics and gameplay. 

Verdict: 8.5/10