While not our first time getting our hands on the upcoming Watch Dogs Legion from Ubisoft, we did get to dive deeper than ever before with a recent hands-on session with the game. Legion aims to take the franchise where it has never been before both in terms of location and scope of gameplay. There was a lot to love regarding our time with Watch Dogs Legion, so we'll try to keep our gushing to manageable levels when sharing our thoughts.
Quick disclaimer: while I enjoyed the previous two games, I never seemed to have the connection to the hacking adventure that others seemed to have. Because of that, you can imagine my surprise when I didn't want to put the controller down when perusing London as an 80-year old white woman, a black man in his 30s, and a man that suspiciously looked like Mister T. I pity the fool that doesn't get him as a recruit because he was by far one of my favorites.
Where the first game tasked players with becoming one character, Legion challenges players to become literally anyone. There were so many recruitable NPCs that I met as passersby during my open-world perusing, all with their own skills, their own voice lines, and their own (wildly different) personalities. This right here is a core design of the third game and this move takes the series in a massively different direction that inspires limitless playthroughs and outcomes.
There are a lot of aspects of this game that reflect what's going on now in the world: divisive politics, protests in the streets, people trying to do what they think is right in the face of oppression, and oppressors that think they are genuinely right in their efforts as well. The narrative is solid, relatable, and the perfect blend of futuristic flavors with modern-day styles. Basically, this game is like if Cyberpunk 2077 got filthy drunk with Grand Theft Auto and had a love child and lemme tell ya, I'm here for it.
The setting itself is not that far into the future post-Brexit and players will find a lot of familiarity within the landscapes. The entire game's settings is one fueled by revolution with a society on the precipice of change in a world where privacy doesn't exist and choice is an illusion. Players will transform into various members of an Anonymous-inspired hacker team build on taking out the New World Order.
Each new recruit has their own strengths, weaknesses, and personalities, which makes everyone a valuable member to the growing arsenal. For instance, some stealth missions will require players to go deep into highly classified areas. This is where having a police officer or other government personnel on deck comes in handy. Or a construction worker to go onsight. Or a bar owner to blend into the party scene. Everyone has their part to play and this gives players the freedom to play effectively to any playstyle they want.
As in real life, each person also has their limitations. I tried making my 80-year old hacker scale a tall building and that went as well as one would expect, but it was hilarious to try and her commentary was pure gold. It is those tiny details that offers life to this world and makes every interaction a treat and one unique to the player. The number of times the developer assigned to me would hear a voice line he's never heard before was uncanny and speaks to the massive scale that Legion has, making it live up to its promise of total freedom.
Just like the previous two games, there is a lot rooted in stealth. Some missions, being detected even once can result in automatic failure but most times you can take on a job any way you see fit. I'm not the stealthiest of players, something the dev attached to my demo couldn't help but to laugh at. I like to blow things up and cause mayhem and you know what? I did just that. Using a construction worker's ability to control air mechanics to drop a huge explosive crate onto a building was wildly satisfying and being able to take control of turrets was bliss in its purest form.
You can also freedom fall into the water like in Assassin's Creed, equipped with the eagle sounds and all.
While the recruiting system is totally new and more immersive than I ever thought, the rest of the mechanics, including combat, felt very similar to that of Watch Dogs 2. While the previous two games didn't hit me in the way that they seemed to elsewhere, Legion made me a firm believer in the cause and I can't wait until it launches on October 29th, 2020! Viva la explosions!!!!
- Watch Dogs Legion Devs Discuss Unlimited NPCs, Unique Voice Talent
- Why We Are Doing Away With Review Scores
- Best, Most Hilarious Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Mods