Watch Dogs: Legion (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luke Hemming 04.11.2020

Review for Watch Dogs: Legion  on PlayStation 4

Ubisoft has been pushing their latest release with a huge marketing campaign stretching back to some incredibly promising initial footage as well as some big promises. Traverse a virtual London and take in the sights, recruit anybody in your mission of ethical hacking and revolution. Does Watch Dogs: Legion deliver on its grand ideas? Well, sort of.

Throwing players again into the world of Dedsec, Watch Dogs tells the tale of the corrupt 'man' and his attempts to control a city through scare tactics and corrupt business practices. Opening with a fantastic tutorial mission (which feels like one of the coolest in the entire 15 hour story), Dedsec are painted as terrorists and set about recruiting others to A: Prove their innocence and B: Re-establish London as the bustling, unburdened tourist attraction it has always been.

It's the 'recruit anyone' element that was hyped so highly and, in many ways, Ubisoft delivered. With a quick tap of L1, any unwitting pedestrian can be scanned and added as a potential recruit. The biggest issue with the system though is the lack of any real incentive to do so. It's fascinating to delve into the life of a Londoner and see exactly what makes the tick, even more so when unlocking the deep profiler tool. With this, Dedsec members can essentially stalk a citizen as they go about their daily activities, correcting any issues and softening their stance on joining the revolution. Each potential recruit has their own specific attributes that will help or hinder but with such minimal benefits to swapping, it's hard to be too enthused when you see yet another gambler with a death wish. A core group team will really be all that is needed, most of which are unlocked by playing through the story mode.

Screenshot for Watch Dogs: Legion  on PlayStation 4

The story mode itself sticks with a simple premise as previously mentioned, however it does branch out into some pretty fascinating arcs. For any gamers waiting for Cyberpunk, Watch Dogs: Legion fills the void with some fascinating insights into A.I. rights and the ethical questions raised by handing over control to fully automated systems. It's certainly one of the most enjoyable parts of the title and a very good reason to keep infiltrating locations, completing the busy work you'd expect from a developer cashing in on their tried and tested formula.

The majority of the game sadly is just that, Busy work. After recently watching another gamer plough their way through the Assassin's Creed series, the similarities are even more apparent. Liberate a district, unlock all points of interest, and gobble up the collectables found within. Take part in an activity that passes time but doesn't contribute to the main game in any meaningful way. This isn't a major criticism and obviously something that has never affected sales of previous offerings, more an observation that innovation seems lacking. It's a fair assessment after the trailers and marketing campaigns that a little more could be expected. What was promised was a revolution in open world titles, much like the Dedsec revolution itself. What has been delivered is the same gameplay and objectives of the titles Ubisoft made their name with way back in 2007. Not the technological jump everyone was hoping for.

Screenshot for Watch Dogs: Legion  on PlayStation 4

The open world itself though, is splendid. As a frequent London visitor, it's a delight to traverse the world, fully realised and accurate in all the ways that could be hoped for. One of the most enjoyable pursuits to indulge in is visiting the various landmarks littered around the districts, Piccadilly Circus (not a real circus unfortunately) teems with life and the massive screens it's known for pump out government propaganda just itching to be shut down. Camden market is filled with traders desperately trying to maintain their livelihood. Even players with only a basic geographical knowledge of the city are easily going to find and admire the biggest landmarks, but it's the little nooks and crannies that really push a cosmetic map overlay into a fantastic interpretation of the capital. Add to this pedestrians from all walks of life and countries of origin (although after a week still not a Welsh accent to be heard), London is represented amazingly well; which could be reason enough to pick this one up.

Screenshot for Watch Dogs: Legion  on PlayStation 4

There is no doubt how good this title will look on next gen hardware but it's also clear that a lot of issues need to be cleared up before the confirmed upgrade. Many other reviewers have stated game breaking bugs although none were noted in the sessions. A few restarts were needed after some major glitches but none that could be considered as progress hampering; mainly frustrating. The biggest issue from a technical standpoint is the load times. In an age where gaming is on the cusp of taking a revolutionary step, waiting for such a long time to enter a new contained area or swap an operative feels unforgivable.

It's when these set pieces load however, that the biggest strengths of Watch Dogs are showcased. Any mission that requires use of the readily available drones or Spider-bots are a pleasure to play, requiring intricate navigation and nerves to successfully navigate the obstructions from both inanimate objects and security guards wandering the facilities. All of these assets can be upgraded to make infiltrations easier but it's the initial stages with only a steady hand and control of nerves that really makes the sections shine. In particular keep an eye out for one such section involving removing all propaganda from the clock tower of Big Ben.

Screenshot for Watch Dogs: Legion  on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The latest Watch Dogs does seem ripe for criticism, but at its core is a solid, fun title that is yet to leave the disk tray. Cruising through the London suburbs is a thoroughly enjoyable experience with a lot of replay-ability, if only to use the games camera mode to snap a selfie with a landmark. Some of the missions are also creatively designed and structured in a way that will live long in the memory and be the talking points with any friends on the fence about purchasing. The biggest downfall of Watch Dogs: Legion is the promise of something more. With no real incentive for recruitment outside characters given in missions, it remains very much a title for the generation. With a little more thought put into the mechanics and gameplay, focusing on how they could really have been revolutionised, this could have been an experience as future-proof as the world portrayed within it.

Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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