As we face further restrictions on our freedom and liberty in real life, video gaming offers escapism little else can match right now. So, today, we’re doing an honest review of Watch Dogs: Legion.
The sandbox action adventure played from a third-person perspective takes place in a dystopian London – not to be confused with the dystopian London of today! – but one in the not too distant future.
You traverse the open world on foot using your parkour skills, in vehicles or zipping about on London’s Underground network.
Watch Dogs: Legion review – Missions
The game is a composite of different types of missions. Those that progress the main story – ‘liberation missions’ – are designed with the aim to free the city’s boroughs. ‘Recruitment missions’ are for new playable characters and various side missions.
You have freedom to choose what mission to tackle next or you can simply explore London’s streets for Easter eggs and other collectibles.
In terms of choice, Watch Dogs: Legion is like a Russian doll. Choices open up as you peel back the layers.
Your choice isn’t limited to what mission you do next, but also deals with exactly how you want to take on that mission and its objectives.
Missions can be handled in a variety of ways, be it all-out combat using weapons, a stealthy approach where you interact with the environment and city around you to avoid detection, or by hacking to beat your enemies and set up traps and distractions.
The crowning achievement of Watch Dogs: Legion
The crowning achievement is the all-new focus on multiple character use in Watch Dogs: Legion.
Unlike previous games in the franchise, Watch Dogs: Legion allows the gamer to use different characters at will throughout the game.
Each can be recruited from around the game’s setting, including those working for your enemies. Each character you recruit then becomes an operative you can switch to freely at any time.
Another layer in freedom of choice comes in the fact you can customise each character with clothing options.
Hope, unity and perseverance
Most liberating of all, though, in these depressing times for so many of us is the genuinely powerful message of hope, unity and perseverance in the face of adversity that runs throughout Watch Dogs: Legion.
This provided some sorely needed escapism for me personally – and I’m sure hundreds of thousands of others – having been working from the confines of my house for the past eight months. By the way, I fully appreciate the fact I can do so and still have a job.
I personally favoured and enjoyed the hacking and recruitment elements most. For me, the hacking is what has always set Watch Dogs apart from similar games in the genre.
There’s great satisfaction in completing missions using this method and you can get really creative along the way.
Cool and clever
A dark humour runs throughout the game, particularly when it comes to the different characters you meet and recruit. Watch Dogs: Legion sets itself apart by being both cool and clever.
There are some negatives, namely the inconsistencies that have a tendency to frustrate. The freedom of choice when it comes to missions also somewhat diminishes the importance of the main thread too, while the key objectives and storyline is a little diluted as a result.
There are some elements of grind and repetition when it comes to certain missions, which sees gamers forced to revisit the same locations and objectives over and over.
Watch Dogs: Legion marks a coming of age for the series
But make no mistake, Watch Dogs: Legion takes a big positive step in a brave new direction and feels like a coming of age for Ubisoft’s series.
For me, Watch Dogs has always felt like a mish-mash of classic games without truly standing out in its own right. A bastardisation of sorts with influences from the likes of GTA, Saints’ Row, Crackdown and Assassin’s Creed.
But this time, with the team element and increased freedom of choice, it finally feels like it has found its niche, standing alone as one of the most technical titles in the sandbox action genre.
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