Watch Dogs Legion leaves a lot to be desired. Ubisoft’s marketing angle for the third installment of the open-world hacking game sounded excellent. Take any ordinary Joe off the street and turn them into a badass by recruiting them into your hacktivist group known as DedSec. Every civilian you find roaming around the boroughs of London has unique occupations, perks, skills, and appearances—and you can play as any of them. These random people could potentially be the ones who help bring down Albion and save London. Occupations can range from things like street performer to game developer, to construction worker.
In theory, playing as anybody sounds amazing and full of potential—that is, until you reach a certain point and begin to question the point of recruiting. Your potential recruits in Watch Dogs Legion all have a variety of unique skills relating to their occupation. For example, a network engineer might have super-fast 6G download speeds, whereas a construction worker has a heavy melee weapon and the ability to summon a cargo drone. My personal favorite choice is a hitman with a silenced pistol and a custom spy car capable of firing missiles. After learning which perks are useful, there is no need to play as anyone else or try to optimize your team, and that’s one of the significant flaws in the game.
For some background: In near-future London, the city is under control of a megacorporation known as Albion, who uses their advanced technology to turn it into a surveillance state. Albion cameras, drones, and propaganda are around every corner. With your super hacking abilities, you can look at any electronic device and figure out a way to control it. Your objective is to use your skills to take down the power-hungry executives at the top of the food chain and dismantle Albion to end their reign of terror.
Under Sabine Brandt’s direction, your job is to revive DedSec, a hacktivist group aiming to bring down Albion. To start the group, you need to find some candidates off the street. However, it’s not even necessary to do this. After the prologue, you can select your first operative who has everything you need to never play as anyone else. The main story will eventually lead you to recruit another person, a construction worker who turns out to be the MVP of Watch Dogs Legion. Your construction worker can summon a supply drone, which you can climb on top of and hack to get anywhere in the city, including rooftops. Considering every recruit has a basic pistol, which, by the way, is enough to destroy anything in the game, and access to all the tech gadgets, what’s the point in swapping?
Character and Story
Sure, all the characters have unique appearances, quirks, and skillsets, but they have no impact on the game. It all comes down to aesthetics and how cool you want DedSec to look. For players looking to straight-up play through the game, the ability to play as anyone turns out to be lackluster. It leaves a bad feeling that resonates throughout the game. To top it all off, when you conquer each borough and turn them Defiant, you automatically unlock a super-powerful operative who is better than anyone you can find on the streets. Just another thing that defeats the purpose of diversifying your crew.
The storyline has its moments, but it’s not enough to redeem the overall experience. You can casually play through this game in 12 to 15 hours, and it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Each of the main characters has enough of their own identity to be interesting, but everyone else will likely have you mashing the skip button. Ubisoft also seems to tiptoe around the political issues that should be the main point of the game. It seems the game relied on the “play as anybody” angle to carry its success a little bit too much.
Performance Issues on PC
Nobody can deny that the game looks fantastic. It’s fun to explore London, and the team did an excellent job piecing together it all together. The city’s eight boroughs and landmarks include lots to explore, which should be plenty to kill some time. Unfortunately, from a PC point of view, performance issues made it challenging to see what the city offers. Even with a top of the line computer and graphics card, the game feels sluggish. There are unforgiving moments of lag that make aiming and completing tasks difficult. Even those lucky enough to obtain an Nvidia RTX 3080 will have trouble hitting 60 FPS at 1440p. It’s hard to imagine the experience for anyone playing on a more reasonable setup.
Watch Dogs Legion’s “play as anyone” gimmick gets stale quickly due to a lack of character options and poor character design. Ubisoft does a great job of creating artificial depth to the game, and it becomes quickly obvious. The incredible looking London will likely not be enough to keep you playing for hours on end. While the Watch Dogs games’ graphics have taken a step in the right direction, everything else has not. The series is going downhill, fast, and this feels like a cash grab built on the Cyberpunk 2077 hype.
- Beautiful visuals
- Hacking minigames
- London is detailed and fun to explore
- Playing as anyone doesn’t live up to the potential
- Poor performance on PC
- Lots of slow loading screen
- Boring characters and story