Dedsec is no longer in nearby London. Framed by a terrorist attack, the hacktivist group has been purged from previous Watch Dogs games and the city has been transformed into an authoritarian state monitored by Albion, an evil mercenary company. The subject citizens, however, carry the spark of resistance; It’s up to you to turn it into wildfire of rebellion. Rather than giving you control of a single protagonist, Watch Dogs: Legion brings you thousands of angry Londoners, giving you the freedom and flexibility to fight like never before. Despite some bad apples, they don’t spoil the ultimately fun struggle for freedom.
Your goal is to take back London from its enemy kingpins. You will explore and recapture districts through a variety of activities including sabotage, evidence gathering, and promoting your own propaganda. Where Watch Dogs: Legion stands out from many open world games, its town is full of potential heroes.
Gathering your army of agents is a fulfilling and strategic endeavor. Anyone can be recruited, and I felt like a kid in a candy store scanning Londoners thanks to the cool combinations of skills anyone can bring. For example, one of my favorite members was a futuristic beekeeper who commanded swarms of robot hornets. Tech freaks are hacking gadgets faster, investors make more money, protesters can bring spectators together for battle, and spies bring gadgets and combat expertise. It’s wonderfully silly to command a group that resembles a tech-savvy villager, and the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, so the absurdity is fun to enjoy. I appreciated certain team members for their skills and insanity (mostly because I played with optional permadeath enabled).
Most of the side content is to meet the needs of potential recruits. They are decently fun tasks, but they repeat themselves too soon. City riots offer better distractions thanks to their diversity and the exciting final missions each neighborhood offers. Lower activities like package deliveries and graffiti tags make for a lighter thrill, but they at least offer an excuse to check out Legion’s beautiful, high-tech version of London.
The main missions are much more enjoyable. Four truly despicable villains are motivating London to break free of their tyranny, and your tasks aimed at getting them down on a regular basis surprised me with their creativity. One of the best is a surprisingly heartbreaking hike through the disturbing home of a scientist obsessed with digitizing the human mind.
Smart level design forces players to find the right person for the job while allowing multiple approaches. Entering an Albion Fortress disguised as an employee makes just as much sense as sending combat drones to eliminate threats in advance. I’ve always enjoyed examining a situation and deciding which combination of tools to use. To this end, the game makes excellent use of its devices such as drones, cameras, and towers. I particularly like the Spiderbots – arachnid-like drones that provide a satisfactory way to bypass heavily guarded areas. Besides, I also liked the stealth platform segment dedicated to them.
Commanding different robots is also fun in combat and when solving puzzles. Driving on large cargo drones like Spider-Man’s Green Goblin is particularly impressive. Not only can the soaring get around a lot of obstacles, but it’s also extremely fun to rain hell down on. I love how Legion allows players to combine their tools for creative improvisation. I enjoyed installing spider towers on cars or cargo drones to build mobile murder machines. Enemy AI can be headless at times, but the gameplay is a blast that gets better with every upgrade and skill unlocked.
While Watch Dogs: Legion mostly sells the imagination of a completely unique population, listening to the same handful of voice samples, or viewing similar character portraits with slight variations, this taints the vision a bit. Another small but regular disturbance occurs in the loading time when changing agents (at least with current generation hardware). It’s not terribly long, but it’s just enough to break your stride.
Legion feels like the realization of the hacking fantasy that the first guard dogs tried to capture. Between fun team building, fantastic mission design, strong narrative and a beautiful world, everything comes together in one largely entertaining and cohesive package. Whether you’re controlling a trained super spy or a gaseous grandmother, Watch Dogs: Legion is tons of fun.
This rating has been updated from the original version. Removed a section about characters not being able to be withdrawn manually to accurately reflect the final launch version of the game.