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Review – Watch Dogs: Legion

I didn’t really understand the full impact of Ubisoft Toronto’s ‘Play As Anyone’ tagline for Watch Dogs: Legion until I was an hour or so into the London-based open-world stealth-heavy action title, playing on hard difficulty with permadeath turned on.

Permadeath is an option in Legion, but unlike other games it’s not the end of the world if you make some poor choices and lose your character in a hail of gunfire. Instead losing an operative means picking up where you left off with another of DedSec’s recruits – if you have any left. Lose all your recruits and it’s game over, so pick them smartly but don’t be too selective…

This ‘Play As Anyone’ approach serves a couple of purposes in Legion. First off, you’re going to be playing a bunch of characters that you’d likely never have created yourself. I spent much of the first few hours as Klaudia Kowalczyk, for example, a middle-aged woman with a red spiked mohawk who made up for her lack of mobility with a silenced pistol, the ability to hack access keys from unlimited distance, and a bit of cloaking tech I invested in that made her functionally invisible for short stretches.

Each operative you recruit has a selection of random traits from an extensive list of possibilities, but not all of them are positives. Maybe you find an MMA fighter who does double damage with melee attacks, but he’s a celebrity so he’s randomly recognized. Or maybe he’s not great at stealth thanks to the ‘flatulence’ trait, or got unlucky and wound up tagged with the ‘randomly dies’ trait… Some of these combinations don’t make a lot of sense, like why does an office worker have an AK-47 and the ability to automatically steal money from people he takes down, but if you want to make up your own backstory to fill that in I’m sure there’s room to explain it.

Secondly, you’re going to see emergent gameplay from this – like when Klaudia wound up in arrested and I had to send in Elia Healy to rescue her. I had recruited Elia solely for the comedy value of her ability to summon flying cargo drones, which can be ridden to avoid ground traffic and shortcut your way to some objectives. After all, why sneak, hack, and shoot my way through multiple floors of a building to rescue Klaudia when I can – and did – just land the drone on the roof and go down one floor to free her.

This also works against you, however. Infiltrating a building I was using an agent who was gifted with speed hacking skills – only they didn’t do him much good against a riot drone that spotted him. The replacement I sent to do the job didn’t have the skills to take the same path, so I had to plan out a new attack – not every mission can be ‘solved’ with the cargo drone approach.

Check out the first 15 minutes of the game on Xbox One X.

Aside from the drones, the gameplay is familiar to those who’ve played past Watch Dogs games and if you enjoyed those, you’ll have a good time with Legion. The stealth elements are great, having been refined over the past titles, and the combat is equally satisfying.

The story is better than those past games, with characters that are more fleshed-out and a plot that seems pulled out of current headlines. A political crisis, a pandemic, anti-government and anti-police protests – there are a lot of references that, though this is set in London, could be straight out of the US.

This is a version of London that, though I’ve never been there, seems close to reality, but condensed. Some areas I recognized from movies or TV shows, and the game offers you the chance to check it all out at your leisure thanks to an ‘autodrive’ mechanic in all the cars that lets you set a destination and have the vehicle drive you there. While this impressively obeys all the rules of the road along the way I did find myself wishing someone had the ability to hack the autodrive into a ‘drive it like you stole it’ mode, however…

What I Loved:

  • Stealth-based action is a ton of fun
  • Prepping for a building infiltration using hacked cameras to find enemies
  • ‘Play As Anyone’ far more than just a marketing tagline
  • Great recreation of London

What I Liked:

  • Solid shooting controls
  • Impressive recreation of London
  • Good story that doesn’t drag on
  • A ton of tech gadgets to unlock and play with

What I Disliked:

  • Driving controls need work
  • Hard to find drone assailants during firefights

What I Hated:

  • Autodrive is such a granny driver

The Final Word: Congrats to Ubisoft Toronto for proving ‘Play As Anyone’ is more than just a tagline. Watch Dogs: Legion sticks you in the shoes of characters you’d never have chosen otherwise, and it works more often than it doesn’t.


Watch Dogs: Legion is available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Available at launch for PS5 and Xbox Series consoles. Reviewed on Xbox One X using code provided by the publisher.

Watch Dogs: Legion Post-Launch Content Unveiled

Ubisoft supports their games extremely well, so Watch Dogs: Legion post-launch content being unveiled before the game is even released comes as no real surprise.

Alongside the dropping of a new story trailer, the publisher revealed that the game’s multiplayer mode will be releasing December 3rd as part of a free game update. The December update, part of an ongoing plan for post-release support, promises to bring four-player co-op as well as a PVP mode for four to eight players.

Down the road there’ll be a new character, replete with new abilities, as well as new mission and a New Game Plus mode. Need more? Get the Season Pass and you can explore the world of Watch Dogs: Legion in a new storyline featuring characters from past Watch Dogs games as well as a crossover from the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

Watch Dogs: Legion is set to release October 29th on current gen platforms, November 10th alongside the Xbox Series S and Series X, and November 12th on PS5. The PS5 launch will be digital only, with physical discs not shipping until November 24th.

Check out the new story trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mOVusuXl7E

Here’s the press release:


WATCH DOGS®: LEGION RELEASES NEW STORY TRAILER AND UNVEILS POST-LAUNCH CONTENT

As Part of Post-Launch Content, The Online Mode of Watch Dogs: Legion Will Be Available December 3 Via Free Game Update 

Montreal – OCTOBER 6, 2020 – Today, Ubisoft released the story trailer for Watch Dogs: Legion that places the fate of London in players’ hands. Zero-Day, an unknown entity, has framed the secret underground resistance, DedSec, for the bombings that contributed to the fall of London. In Watch Dogs: Legion, players must fight to liberate London by building a resistance.

Led by Ubisoft Toronto*, Watch Dogs: Legion will release on October 29, 2020 on Xbox One, PlayStation®4, Stadia and for Windows PC on Epic Games and Uplay. The game will also be available on UPLAY+**, Ubisoft’s subscription service. Watch Dogs®: Legion will also release on Xbox Series X | S on November 10 and digitally on PlayStation®5 alongside the console on November 12. The physical version of the game on PlayStation5 will be available on November 24. Watch Dogs: Legion will also be available on Amazon Luna when the Ubisoft channel launches.

Ubisoft also announced that the Online multiplayer mode of Watch Dogs: Legion will be available on December 3 as part of a free game update for all Watch Dogs: Legion players. Watch Dogs: Legion has a robust post-launch plan that will bring fresh content to the single-player mode, and introduce online multiplayer modes.

The Online mode of Watch Dogs: Legion will include the following features as part of the December 3 free update:

  • Free-roam open-world co-op where players can team up with their friends for up to four-player co-op and explore the city of London and participate in side activities
  • New co-op missions for two-to-four players using new co-op gameplay mechanics and giving players the opportunity to recruit the perfect team
  • Four-player co-op Tactical Ops missions which will require teamwork and efficiency
  • The first available Player-vs-Player (PvP) mode, Spiderbot Arena, where four-to-eight players control armed spiderbots and compete in a high intensity free-for-all deathmatch

New free content for the single-player mode will be available in a future update in 2021, and will include:

  • New characters with new abilities
  • New mission content
  • A New Game Plus mode

Additionally, players who acquire the Season Pass of Watch Dogs: Legion will get access to Watch Dogs: Legion – Bloodline, a new storyline which includes Aiden Pearce from the original Watch Dogs game and Wrench from Watch Dogs 2, fully playable in the single player campaign and online, along with two other characters which were unveiled today:

  • Darcy, a member of the Assassin Order, thanks to a cross-over with Assassin’s Creed®
  • Mina, a subject of transhuman experiments, who possesses the ability to mind control individuals

In addition to the unique playable characters and Watch Dogs: Legion – Bloodline story expansion, the Season Pass will offer extra DedSec missions, the original Watch Dogs Complete Edition from 2014***, and more. The Season Pass of Watch Dogs: Legion is available for purchase as part of the Gold, Ultimate and Collector editions.

Built with a next-gen concept, Watch Dogs: Legion introduces “Play as Anyone,” a never-before-seen gameplay innovation created by Ubisoft Toronto**, the studio behind Watch Dogs: Legion. Play as Anyone gives players the entire city of London to choose their roster of resistance members from. Every single person in the open world can be recruited and played, is unique and has a backstory, personality and skillset. Watch Dogs: Legion will also support hardware-accelerated DirectX Raytracing on Xbox Series X and full ray-tracing support on Nvidia RTX-equipped PC devices, bringing real-time ray-tracing reflections to the streets of London. Players who purchase Watch Dogs: Legion on Xbox One or PlayStation4 will be able to upgrade their game to the next-gen version (Xbox Series X or PlayStation5) at no additional cost****.

In Watch Dogs: Legion, London is facing its downfall. Amidst the growing unrest of a restless London, an unknown entity named Zero-Day has framed secret underground resistance DedSec for coordinated bombings across London. In the aftermath, criminal opportunists from every corner of London took hold and filled the void left by a defeated government. As a member of DedSec, players will be going up against those criminal opportunists in Watch Dogs: Legion; sadists, mercenaries, cybercriminals, and more; they’ll have to be prepared for a variety of situations. Players must recruit members into their DedSec Resistance to take on these criminal opportunists, liberate London and uncover the identity of Zero-Day.

For the latest news on Watch Dogs: Legion and all of Ubisoft’s games, please visit news.ubisoft.com.

For more information about Watch Dogs: Legion, please visit watchdogs.com, and join the conversation by using #watchdogslegion.


*Associate studios are Ubisoft Montreal, Paris, Bucharest, Kiev, Newcastle and Massive Entertainment, a Ubisoft Studio.

**$19.99 per month. Cancel anytime. The Ultimate Edition (Excluding VIP status) will be available as part of a UPLAY+ subscription at game launch. More information at uplayplus.com.

“***Stadia players will be able to access Watch Dogs Complete Edition later this year, while all other platforms will have access in available territories when Watch Dogs: Legion launches.”

****Watch Dogs: Legion leverages Smart Delivery allowing access to both the Xbox One title and Xbox Series X title when available. Watch Dogs: Legion PlayStation 4 Digital and Blu-Ray games gives access to the corresponding Watch Dogs: Legion PlayStation 5 Digital version at no additional cost, when available. Requires a PlayStation 5 or a PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, the game disc (if owned on Blu-Ray) must be kept inserted in the PlayStation 5 disc tray to play, a PlayStationNetwork registration, additional storage & Broadband internet connection. May incur bandwidth usage fees.


ABOUT WATCH DOGS
Watch Dogs launched in 2014 as the video game industry’s best-selling new IP at launch. To-date, the award-winning franchise has sold more than 40 million games worldwide. The hacker series extends to other entertainment media, including books and comics. The next opus in the franchise, Watch Dogs: Legion, will release on October 29, 2020.

ABOUT UBISOFT
Ubisoft is a leading creator, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and services, with a rich portfolio of world-renowned brands, including Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, For Honor, Just Dance, Watch Dogs, Tom Clancy’s video game series including Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six and The Division. The teams throughout Ubisoft’s worldwide network of studios and business offices are committed to delivering original and memorable gaming experiences across all popular platforms, including consoles, mobile phones, tablets and PCs. For the 2019–20 fiscal year, Ubisoft generated net bookings of €1,534 million. To learn more, please visit: www.ubisoftgroup.com.