I was completely unprepared for the realities of Watch Dogs: Legion. The second game was something that I became addicted to on the PlayStation 4. Watch Dogs Legion launched as a broken game that has been skipped over by most players. As of now, Ubisoft has fixed some of the game’s problems, but even week’s after launch when this review goes live, it still crashes at an unacceptable rate. It is really a shame too, since the story and city really are quite the draw.
Developer & Publisher // Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft
Platforms // PlayStation 4|5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
MSRP & Release Date //$59.99, Oct 29, 2020
Reviewed On // PlayStation 4
London is on Fire
London has fallen into the hands of a private army run by Albion, a private company that has completely taken over the boroughs of the city. From the moment you press start, it is a race to save the people of London. To do this, you need to find out who is behind the mass bombings that took place on Zero Day around the city. What seems straightforward, unveils a web of intrigue that spans the criminal element to the private army of Albion.
The story hooks you like a great book you can’t put down. Even with the constant crashes, I just couldn’t give up. The story is split into five chapters which intertwine into one long encompassing story. As I progressed through the game, which took me around 40 hrs, I found myself getting sidetracked with all the different missions. It felt like this had more things to do than the previous game. Especially after you finish the main story, there is plenty to do after that.
As I progressed through the roughly 40 hrs it took to finish the story, I found myself getting side-tracked with all the different missions. It felt like this had more things to do than the last game. Especially after I finished the main story, there is plenty to do to keep me occupied. Many of the NPCs you meet have interesting stories with loose ends they want you to tie up once the main quest finishes. Even Bagley the group A.I. has some unfinished business with his past life.
A Beautiful City Well Rendered
The city of London is especially wonderful, given that most games feature American styled cities. I started to wonder how much detail has gone into its design. It is a vastly different feeling than, say, playing a game in a city like San Francisco that I am familiar with. Being able to go to places I haven’t seen in the real world bonded me with the game and made me want to visit London even more than before. The dreary streets of the city are lit up with flying drones and color paintings from DedSec supporters that line the streets after you make a borough defiant to Albian rule. It reminded me of art from the 1960s in San Francisco as that society was in constant protest to what was happening around them. Some moments caused me to stop and take a second look like seeing Parliament or The Tower of London. These are places I’ve always heard about and never gotten the chance to see them. The architecture of the city is something to enjoy, especially for someone like me who has yet to visit.
The Spice of Life
Variety is king when it comes to gameplay in Watch Dogs Legion including the ability to quite realistically never get shot at or hurt anyone yourself. The games hacking feature gave me a long list of ways to complete a mission. The thing is though you have to find tech points to unlock most of these things. These tech points are located around London, it’s not an easy task to find them all. I had to use spider-drones in certain areas, it became tedious and took time away from the game. Most of the hacks and little perks in the game are unlocked when you build your team.
The Tech menu is not as robust as what you would find in Assassin’s Creed: Vahalla. In that game, you have a skill tree that forces you to think about where you really want to use those points. It reminded me of all the grinding I did in Watch Dogs 2 to finish those tech points. I was really looking for something that would be more enjoyable complete. Sometimes grinding in a game came really feel rewarding. Remember the game’s title has Legion in it and that is exactly what you are doing. Recruiting a legion of different agents that can help save London from this oppression.
Welcome to the Legion
As you progress you recruit plenty of people that will help you out. What I really enjoyed about recruiting people is how it helps you play through the game. By recruiting a lawyer you can save your operatives from extended jail time. Similarly, recruiting a doctor or nurse will reduce the time spent in the hospital. Each operative really does affect how you can enjoy this game. Unfortunately, getting these operatives can be a tedious task that forced me to walk away from the game. One mistake will cost you the operative and then you will have to complete a new task to get them back. That is easily another fifteen minutes gone. These missions all start to feel the same after you have returned at least five people. They start to blend together and become tedious.
Operatives feel like more than just a convenience button, especially when the actions you take have consequences. When you hurt an Albion guard or a member of Clan Kelly, be prepared for some retribution. Your operatives exist in the world. They can be kidnapped while walking around which initiates a revenge mission. These revenge missions were completely unexpected when I first started, and they changed the way I played through Watch Dogs: Legion. These missions added moments that I didn’t want to happen. I didn’t want my favorite operatives being taken away. So, I no longer used non-lethal weapons on my missions. I made sure that no one could come back to haunt me.
The Devil is in the Details
Parts of the game seem pointless. With all the work put into driving and music, I hoped for something more. I have an affinity for quality music and voice acting in games. I still listen to the Elder Scrolls soundtracks every week. However, not every game will make music that hooks you in. Or in this case, the way to listen to music. Driving is the only way to really enjoy the soundtrack the studio put together of some of London’s better music.
They built wonderful Grand Theft Auto-like radio stations that you never really get to enjoy once you unlock fast travel. During my time playing, the game never had any background music playing. I had no reason to listen to it if the phones didn’t play it like in the previous game. The massively impressive voice acting is something that should not be overlooked. Given the size and scope, with so many different characters, it is amazing to see the finished project when it works.
Future Tech? Hardly
The menu seems like it was an afterthought for this game. With all the work that has been done for the city, with multiple playable characters, vehicles that can be hacked on a whim. It seems like no one really wanted to make the menu something special. It would be nice to not have to log in to Ubisoft Connect every time I wanted to see a stat of my gameplay. In Watch Dogs 2, your phone is always with you, it is used as a menu. Now in this game, we never get that chance. It seemed like some of the better features from the past game weren’t brought over to this one. Just when you think a company will continue with a great idea they squash it for something mediocre.
The Tech points that are used in the game seem like they were rushed. It seems like the idea of upgrading certain parts of your character would only happen when you recruit different operatives. Making the idea of having skills to unlock with tech points absolute, it’s like they added it so players would have something to keep them busy. I would have rather seen the game delayed into 2021 than get constant updates that slowly make the game playable. Especially since this game was released right when the next-generation of consoles showed up.
In The End
My hope for the future of Watch Dogs: Legion is that the crashing is fixed. Too much time and money have been put into this wonderful game to see it just fall by the wayside. It really has some smaller issues that don’t take from the overall experience of the game. With the game on sale, it’s a great time to pick up this hopefully fixed very soon game. It has been a pleasure to play even if some of the game crashes constantly. My experience before the patches is what kept me playing even when the game constantly crashed over 20 times in one playthrough. I could have waited a few more months for a polished game.
Take a look at some of our other reviews like this one for Cyberpunk 2077.