Review: Watch Dogs Legion

Watch Dogs is a multifaceted series, where we followed the story of Aiden Pearce, all the way to the hipster activists in DedSec in the second part. This time you can play as anyone in Watch Dogs Legion. Will you help save London?

Watch Dogs Legion is the third installment in the series. This time in a post-Brexit London, where Albion controls the city and where a bad-guy hacker group Zero Day blows up parts of the city to make a certain statement. Here you come, someone who wants to stir up DedSec by getting as many people together as possible to start a revolution. Is Legion a worthy third part? Read it in our review!

Story

Watch Dogs Legion is a game where you can spend a lot of time and where everyone has his or her own story. The main missions are quite interesting and varied. Still, the game doesn't make the best first impression with this. The opening mission is very cool, exciting and full of action. However, after that it gets a bit sturdier. This doesn't last long, but you have to bite through a boring beginning where you try to find certain people and look for targets. As the story progresses, you get more challenges including hacking puzzles and deep combat. The game can also be quite tough. When you first start the game, you will soon be given the option to turn permadeath on or off. This means that every recruit you have on your team will never come back after death.This ensures that you will play the game very differently and that you will think more about your choices.

I myself have chosen to disable permadeath. I wanted to experience as much of the game as possible in the short amount of time I had before posting this review. With permadeath off, people who die will end up in the hospital. Then you cannot use them for a certain period of time. This removes some of the risk, but can provide a play session where you will get some more daring actions. All in all, the story is fine, but often the side objectives are quite generic and boring, such as delivering packages. In this case, you have to hang the garlands yourself a bit. What can be annoying is that the credibility of the story is sometimes tested by the recruitment system. I will get back to you. The story is varied and the possibilities for your characters are very diverse.The game can also be brutal at times, I've seen slaves in an attic, people stealing organs and so on. 

Build your resistance

In the story you will have to write your revolution. For example, you can recruit everyone in the game to get into DedSec and fight for a free London. The citizens you can recruit are very diverse in terms of voice, gait, body, face, personal information and what their capabilities are. Some have a personal car or motorcycle, others like to dance in front of small audiences. Some grannies used to be spies and still have a car with missiles in the garage and some citizens are simply hipsters with paint grenades. Whoever you recruit, everyone is different. Yes, you often encounter the same traits in citizens in the beginning, such as a getaway vehicle or an MP5. If you search carefully, you will often find interesting or very funny people to recruit.

Some team members may enter areas without being recognized, such as construction workers or members who work or have worked in a hospital. These can also, for example, help your teammates get out of the hospital faster. Every team member adds something new and you can make your team look like you had in your head. This is a very cool element to Watch Dogs Legion and well developed from a technical point of view. Some people don't like DedSec, so you'll have to convince them first through a skill that you can unlock or by helping them. You can also learn that skill to redo a failed recruiting mission.

Welcome to London

Legion is set in post-Brexit London and as someone who has been to the city many times I can say that many buildings and areas are made very accurately. For example, there was a shop called Cyberdog in Camden Market that I really liked during my visit to the city, which was just there in the game in that same place. This was by far the best in the game, the atmosphere of certain neighborhoods was conveyed immensely well and the strong graphics help of course.

However, I also regret a few elements. For example, you could not really enter clothing stores and other buildings. You can only enter a building if the game asks you to. You buy clothes in front of the door. This just feels really weird. Other than that, while playing it doesn't feel like London is being monitored as closely as you might think. I can often just mow down entire streets before the 'police' realizes this. The suppressed atmosphere just isn't there until later in the game and during story missions. I think this is a shame, because it doesn't really help the credibility of the story.

gadgets

As a hacker it's all about the gadgets and that's where the game is more than fine. There are relatively few weapons to get in the game, but the number of gadgets is really cool to see. From drone spiders to multiple different drones that you can spawn and take over. Construction workers can summon cargo drones to stand up so you can get to where you normally couldn't. You can call drone strikes that fly into your enemies like a kamikaze. There are plenty of possibilities here and this differentiates the game from other open world third-person story games. 

Audio and music

The songs you hear on the radio are as you would expect them to be. British bands, pop artists and DJs dominate the radio stations. This way I could thoroughly enjoy Architects and Bring Me the Horizon songs! The music and the audio are generally just fine. A skidding car sounds like a skidding car, that's all there is to say. What I can't get used to is how bad the voice acting is in Legion. I'm sorry, but autotuning voices just doesn't work for me. Also the actual voice actors were not the best quality

Performance

Watch Dogs Legion runs great on PC as far as I could tell. However, this does not apply to the base PS4. I had screen tearing where I normally never have and the frames could drop below 20fps more often. The game is also made with next-gen in mind and we're approaching the end of a console generation, so from one perspective this is acceptable. Still, it was very frustrating at times. Combat, both close and mid-range feels great, stealthing is nicely done and driving feels almost the same as in Watch Dogs 2. Hacking is a bit more thoughtful, so you often have to open doors by solving a hacking puzzle.

Verdict

Watch Dogs Legion isn't a perfect game, but it can distance itself from the usual gameplay elements in a third-person open world shooter to a certain extent, mainly because the hacking gives it a different twist. Using your environment is also quite clever, in terms of drone use. It is a unique experience that is certainly worth the full price, but also has some areas for improvement. It lacks the impact of a dystopian London, but instead brings intriguing gameplay and loads of content to explore and gadgets to use.

 

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