The latest of the popular Watch Dogs games has arrived with Watch Dogs: Legion and ushers in an exciting new chapter in the series. Set in a near future London, players take on the personal of operatives for a hacker group known as Dedsec.
In the aftermath of a bombing by an entity known as Zero Day in which Dedsec is blamed. London has become a police state thanks to a private security company named Albion who were installed to keep the peace. Players must complete various infiltration and hacking missions across the sprawling city to get the needed evidence behind the attack, as well as correct various criminal injustices that arise during the course of the game.
Since the game takes place in a very large and highly-detailed city, there are some vast distances players must travel to complete their various missions. Thankfully there are numerous cars, trucks, busses, bikes, scooters, boats, and more which can be used to navigate the city. Late in the game I became a big fan of using the Underground to move around the map and be closer to a mission objective.
Once on mission players can hack security systems by completing puzzles or using a Spider Drone to navigate air vents to hack cameras and other systems. Hacking is such a vital part of the game that players will soon become very skilled at hacking security systems, copying digital access keys, computers, and so much more.
One of my favorite things to do was to hack a large cargo drone and ride it to a destination. While it did move slower than other vehicle options, it did allow me to avoid many of the circular roads of London which added to the at times extended travel. Another bonus of using the drone was being able to pick up anything from cargo from containers to construction explosives, and even use it as a bomber in various situations.
Combat is a very big part of the game as while players can opt for stealth at times, and in fact combat is unavoidable on many of the missions. Your weapons are based on which Operative you select, and they are a varied bunch. One has a pistol and a TASER while another has an assault rifle and grenade launcher. The diversity of weapons are as varied as the operatives, and players can recruit new members by assisting and performing various side missions.
This leads to one of the more interesting aspects of the game as players can opt for a permanent death or can have their fallen operatives become unavailable for an amount of time as they sit in jail or the hospital.
This allows players to recruit medics and barristers to the team as having them will reduce the amount of time that a player is unavailable for use. The game is broken down into chapters and each of them allows players to complete the main story missions but still has numerous side missions and recruiting options available.
Players can also earn money by delivering packages and other activities which can be used to purchase new clothing to enhance their look and mix things up as they play. The operatives are a great mix of genders and ethnic diversity which allows players to really experience character variety. This is something you don’t see very often in games.
While the game had some glitches at launch, a recent patch for the PC greatly improved the performance of the game and made it a highly immersive and enjoyable gaming experience.
The city is remarkably vast, but Ubisoft are masters at this, creating sprawling yet finely detailed urban environments for such games as Assassin’s Creed, The Division, and Ghost Recon. It was great fun to go by various London landmarks in the course of my missions and floating over Parliament on a drone was a great gaming moment.
The game also offers a nice mix of enemies. While there are many soldiers to contend with, being able to dispatch them with weapons or hand to hand is always fun, as is having to avoid a huge contingent of drones and security forces who are in intense pursuit.
The game did have some issues at launch having to do with sound, but a new patch resolves them. With the sound corrected, the the various voices and sounds of the city combine to make a very immersive gaming environment. The graphics of the game are very solid, and while some of the character facial animations seem a bit dated at times they in no way detract from the game.
In the end Watch Dogs: Legion is a winning new entry in the series and I look forward to the online option of the game which is due in December.
4.5 stars out of 5