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Watch Dogs: Legion Game review

Game review 28 October 2020, 15:28

Watch Dogs: Legion Review - Safe and Polite Revolution

Legion isn't the revolution that it was advertised as – and I think that's good. While it's not flawless, it definitely is a satisfying representative of open-world action games.

The review is based on the PS4 version. It's also relevant to XONE version(s).

I never expected too much from Watch dogs: Legion. The idea of giving up a concrete protagonist in favor of random characters recruited by the players on the street never bode well for the game, in my view. I thought it an intriguing concept, but also one that could curb the fun.

After all, until now, we simply played as versatile characters who could deal with problems in a variety of ways. Now, we suddenly become divided into narrow specializations – some more suited for brute force, others excellent hackers, others specializing in infiltration. Maybe some people will find it quite a distant association, but for me, it immediately brought negative memories associated with Mortal Kombat X, where versatile characters were also divided into different variations, which rendered them all seemingly incapable, taking away a lot of fun. I also had doubts about whether Ubisoft would be able to create an engaging story without a specific protagonist.

London looks really good in the game.

And while my concerns about the story turned out true, in terms of gameplay, the game managed to come out on top. The game was paradoxically saved by what Ubisoft is most often criticized for – its conservatism. Revolutionary on paper, the novelties in practice boil down to changing the rules of the game to a much lesser extent than I assumed, not so much turning the gameplay model upside down, as simply diversifying it. Watch Dogs: Legion is a properly executed, open-world action game. It satisfies all the rules typical of games from the French studio – with all the common advantages and drawbacks. If you like this style, you'll like this game as well. If not, the third encounter with Dedsec won't do anything to change your attitude.

One of the characters has unique animations...

My name is Legion, for we are many

  1. Well-balanced agent recruitment system that's fun to use;
  2. Enabling permadeath gives the gameplay a thrill;
  3. Hacking is as fun as in previous installments;
  4. The depiction of futuristic London is great;
  5. Basic gameplay mechanics are complete and well-executed.
  1. Virtually all the heroes, both playable and NPCs, are one-dimensional;
  2. The plot is weak and non-engaging;
  3. A large part of missions was based on the same pattern, rehearsed ad nauseam;
  4. Some bugs and glitches.

Despite making a grand promise, the gameplay in WD: Legion doesn't deviate from what we have become accustomed to in recent Ubi games. We're running around a pretty and well-crafted, futuristic city, we perform story missions and a whole range of side activities, with the chief objective being the liberation of neighborhoods and collecting a slew of more or less useful collectibles. This fortunately doesn't mean that the game doesn't stand out from the crowd with anything.

Recruiting subsequent members of our team may not introduce a new quality to the formula, but it does diversify them quite a bit. After a short story prologue, we get the opportunity to choose the first recruit from among a group of civilians. Although they differ from each other in appearance and perks, there are some minor nuances introduced to the latter – you may render one character more efficient in hand-to-hand combat, while making another person your designated driver, able to arrive at the scene anytime you need them.

Still, all the characters are more or less able to cope with any situation. Whether it's an old lady wearing metal-bands t-shirts, or a hipster, every single recruit is able to drive vehicles with equal skill, hack cameras, and take advantage of the urban environment, climb small buildings, fight off guards or use firearms. For the reasons I described in the introduction, I accepted such universality with a sigh of relief, even if it's not very realistic – thanks to this, no matter who we play as, the game doesn't become irksome with excessive restrictions.

My first agent had a terribly annoying voice.

Professions practiced by potential recruits can be quite diverse.

If the initial pool of recruits brings similar skill sets, but over time, we can get more interesting agents with unique characteristics. Ubisoft has kept its promise and we are able to recruit almost anyone we encounter, even some of the enemies (although it requires the purchase of a suitable upgrade and a little more effort). The process is very simple – we find a suitable candidate and if we're interested, we add them to the roster. As long as he's sympathetic enough to our cause, we can make contact and perform a simple mission for them. Once we're done, we get a new agent.

Recruiting more agents is a fairly straightforward process.

While most passers-by do not have special perks, every once in a while, we will encounter much more interesting individuals. How about a serial killer with an arsenal of handguns? Or better yet, a spy with a James Bond-worthy car with a hidden self-guided missile launcher and cloak? There's plenty to choose from. And since just running around the streets and profiling every passerby in the hope of hitting a prominent individual can quickly get boring and is highly random, we also get the best agents as reward for freeing up neighborhoods.

As I mentioned, we're able to complete every mission with any agent, but some recruits have perks that make the game more fun and encourage experimentation. This whole system is not a big revolution and doesn't change the way Watch Dogs: Legion works relative to other titles, but it does make the game a lot more fun. Ubisoft nicely balanced the diversity of individual characters with ability of each of them to ultimately cope with any situation.

Some agents have very unusual abilities.

I deliberately focused on the impact of characters on gameplay because in terms of personality, they're as bland as it gets. They look different, have different movement animations and speak in quite different voices – for example, the previously mentioned hitman had a strong Russian accent and did not always correctly formulate sentences in English. But beyond that, they are all flat as pancakes, one-dimensional, with their nature coming down to "we have to save London because we do." No arguments, no reflections, no conflict of opinion, no private issues. They all think the same thoughts, believe the same ideas. It's difficult to establish a closer relationship with them and treat them in any way other than instrumental.

The characters can survive dire situations, but will stay in a hospital for a time.


Before starting the game proper, we must decide whether we want to play with permadeath, a feature that makes our character die permanently. You may change your mind during the game and turn it off, but you won't be able to turn it on if you don't opt in at the beginning. If you decide to play without permadeath, the only way to chane it will be by beginning the game anew.

I personally played with permanent death enabled, and I encourage you do that as well, as it truly enriches the experience. On "normal" difficulty level, the fun is relatively easy and without the thrill offered by permanent death, it can easily become quite mundane. Rather, we will always have a lot of agents in the ranks and reducing the size of the team to values that would threaten the mission is mostly impossible. Not every failure ends in death either – after a fall from a high altitude or getting beaten up, our agent may simply end up in hospital and be unavailable for a certain time. Finally, at critical points, such as boss fights, permadeath is temporarily disabled and the agent's death there only results in reloading the game. The real danger is thus not losing the game, but losing a particularly skilled character can be really painful, and finding a substitute may be hard. This function has a positive effect on immersion – when something goes wrong and we are unexpectedly detected, or discover we've misjudged the number of enemies, we can count on a solid shot of adrenaline that wouldn't be available without the feature of permanent death.

Fakes versus psychopaths

The plot of the game isn't very thrilling, although it's quite promising at first. As a result of dramatic events, DedSec in London is decimated, its good name tarnished, and its city lost to a violent private military organisation. Our task is to rebuild Dedsec's structures from scratch, to convince the people that we are the good guys, and finally to start a rebellion and overthrow the regime.

The task turns out to be simplistic and not very thrilling, and we quickly become convinced that the main antagonists are as one-dimensional as our recruit psychos performing some truly gruesome acts – before lunch. So the main thread comes down to a scheme repeated over and over: learn more about the enemy, get incriminating evidence, confront. Boring!

One of several psychopaths we have to deal with during the game.

All this is served in a very safe form. Although the game talks about things like abuse of power, mass surveillance, ruthless corporations, and a few other, potentially powerful, and very relevant themes, it does it in a way that makes it very obvious the creators tried very hard not to offend anyone. There are a few instances when it almost seems Legion is about to show teeth and take a definitive stand on a serious subject, it quickly tucked tail and solved the manner in a banal way. I was particularly disappointed with the ending of the game, which seemed quite powerful... but immediately withdraws from that statement with a scene after the end credits.

Formulaic doesn't necessarily mean bad, as long as it's executed well. That's not true about Watch Dogs: Legion. Here, we have a collection of schematic themes playing out between poorly written characters, which are hardly believable, let alone sympathetic. I didn't really expect something more on this issue – after all, Watch Dogs 2 story wasn't thrilling – but it's still a pity that Ubisoft didn't even really try.

The spy has an invisible spy car. How can you not like it?

Watch Dogs: Legion Review - Safe and Polite Revolution - picture #3


A glance at the store available in Watch Dogs: Legion focuses primarily on new agents with very useful skill sets. For real cash, we can also buy cosmetic items for agents, weapons and vehicles, as well as a map that reveals collectibles (completely redundant, as they're visible on the radar if we're near) and additional in-game cash.

Everyone's a hacker

The hallmark of the series has always been the ability to manipulate the surrounding world by hacking everything that doesn't run away. In this regard, Legion doesn't disappoint, and from the very beginning of the game we can easily control traffic lights, cars, drones, ubiquitous cameras or traps and blockades. Some of these options are pretty much useless gimmicks, others provide useful opportunities and allow you to solve problems creatively.

It becomes particularly interesting after developing several skills. We obtain character development points for completing missions, but we have to find most of them as collectibles. Collecting them is mostly mandatory, since some skills are genuinely invaluable – on top of that, the skill tree is shared between all characters.

Once unlocked, abilities become available to all agents.

We can get access to better weapons, but also the ability to control enemy combat drones, hide bodies of killed opponents or equip the agent with precious robo-spiders – small, remote-controlled robots that can not only get almost everywhere, but after a few improvements turn into powerful, highly mobile turrets. Once the character is sufficiently developed, hacking becomes an extremely enjoyable way of dealing with problems without getting your hands dirty. It's just a pity that each agent can only be assigned one gadget at a time, making many of them simply not worth using – the trade-off is sometimes too big.

It's not facehugger, it's a robo-spider that managed to surprise an enemy.

In any case, hacking works like a charm, and gives you a real sense of power if it you develop it. For example, when, I was tired of playing silent infiltration at the end of the game and wanted to try out brute-force options, I was able to cope with a group of enemy soldiers and drones quickly by turning off one drone, and ordering another to turn against the rest. Before they could react, I deployed the spider with a turret spitting led at the opponents, and then just finished them off with my own gun. There's many ways to win a fight, and the game always rewards creativity.

This is my London, and you're not getting a bit

Apart from recruiting agents and hacking, Watch Dogs: Legion is a fairly standard representative of the genre. The map of London is riddled with missions, neighborhoods to liberate, optional activities and an overwhelming amount of collectibles – in addition to the development points mentioned earlier, we can also collect documents that expand our knowledge of the world or paint graffiti in designated places.

The first collectible I found cleverly explained why traffic in the game world is sometimes stupid. Funny.

Surprisingly, the most interesting part of this set turned out to be liberating neighborhoods. The whole procedure is not complicated – we need to perform a few simple actions in a given region (destroy a designated target, rescue a hostage, hack something), and thus unlock a specific mission. And it was these missions, culminating in the liberation of a given area that turned out to be one of the most interesting in the whole game. One in particular stayed with me, the one in which I moved on platforms in the dark, with the only source of light being the drone I controlled. Cool and inventive.

Complete darkness and only one drone illuminating our way. One of the most interesting missions in the game.

It's a pity that such interesting tasks are generally few and far between in the game. The overwhelming majority of missions are based on just two ideas. As a rule, we need to reach the designated restricted area, bypass or eliminate the guards there, and reach the designated goal to hack it/ lift it/ save it. We always have freedom in realizing the goals, and this yields some cool diversity. However, the variety of available approaches doesn't match the sheer number of tasks, and we end up stuck in our patterns. The overwhelming majority of both main and side quests repeat the same patterns. Even Mafia III offered more variety.

Hacking knots is great - it's a shame that there aren't many of them.

The second overarching idea is definitely abused: it has us controlling a drone or spider, infiltrating different facilities and quarters. And that's about it. The missions in Watch Dogs Legion are overwhelmingly based on these two solutions. Occasionally, you may get a car race, fighting off waves of enemies, or the god old taking taking over of nodes – but these appear only in main missions, and there's definitely too few of them.

The robo-spiders are awesome.

I can't really see why the game wasn't diversified more – especially when the game has all the right foundations. You can play darts in pubs, juggle a ball in parks. There are some courier side activities, made more thrilling by the bad guys chasing us. But they don't do anything particular – they're just there. There's untapped potential here – these elements could have been incorporated into the recruitment missions to diversify them slightly.

The melee combat is simple, based on two types of attacks and a dodge. It works well.

Enemies are quite stupid, making stealth banal.

Casual stealth

Numerous hacking possibilities and the ability to control drones encourage playing Watch Dogs: Legion as a stealth game, but of course we are talking about a trivialized take on this genre, similar to Assassin's Creed. Enemies are stupid and easy to approach from behind, they quickly forget finding the body of an ally and return to the post. They seem to be able to call for reinforcements, but these arrive in limited numbers, so sending one drone after another and openly eliminating more opponents is a safe and sure way to solve problems. On the other hand, once someone tracks us down, everyone suddenly knows exactly where we are. Fans of Hitman or Metal Gear Solid are unlikely to find anything that would cater to their taste in terms of challenging stealth.

Technically, it's pretty good

I played Watch Dogs: Legion on a regular PlayStation 4 and most of the time, the game ran smoothly. The animation dipped only during a fast ride around the city, but since I was never a fan of the ultra-arcade driving model offered by the series, I mostly stuck to slower cars, in which the crazy oversteer is easier to control. The review version, on the other hand, had a few glitches – opponents stuck in the wall, freezes, clipping textures. It wasn't scandalous, but there are a few rough corners.

Large drones, on which we can fly, allow easy access almost everywhere.

London itself looks very nice – after so many years, Ubisoft has already perfected creating virtual worlds. The city is vibrant, diverse, the landmarks look exactly as they should, and the ubiquitous billboards, futuristic cars and drones flying over the streets give it a unique, futuristic vibe. Virtual tourists will have no reason to complain.

Legion, Westworld season 3 called asking you to give his cars back.

However, the visual style of the characters didn't click with me at all. What's there to hide? They're mostly ugly. The agents are colorful and varied, but they mostly follow the same idea of a youth rebel (including the grandma), and that quickly becomes mundane. I tried to create a more distinct character, but after failing to find any apt clothes in something like eight stores, I gave up. There probably were some normal clothes out there, but looking for them is too much of a hustle. The clothes are one thing, but the faces are where it's really at.

Quite stylish.

Juggling is one of the available activities. Can't see the point, though.

Safe evolution

Since I wasn't hyped, Watch Dogs: Legion turned out quite a pleasant adventure for me. This is a competent action game with several interesting ideas and solidly implemented mechanics, yielding dozens of hours of fun – in my case, about thirty. The condition is that you need to like this type of fun – if running around virtual cities and doing the same thing bored you Assassin's Creed hits before Origins, then this game doesn't offer a whole lot more.

Shooting is the last resort. Unless you get bored and start taking risks just to make it more interesting.

Not everything here works as it should – mainly in terms of diversity of missions or the plot – we got a solid, but in no way outstanding game. Watch Dogs: Legion is not a game that I'd advise people against playing, but it's also not a title I'm going to wholeheartedly recommend.


I really liked the first Watch Dogs, especially the Bad Blood expansion that introduced drones. The downgrade scandal surely hurt the reputation of that game, but beyoand that, it was a pleasant, atmospheric title. The second one wasn't as great – I appreciated the mechanics, but the vibe didn't resonate with me. For me, Legion is somewhere in-between.

Michael Grygorcewicz | Gamepressure.com

Michael Grygorcewicz

Michael Grygorcewicz

He first worked as a co-worker at GRYOnline.pl. In 2023 he became the head of the Paid Products department. He has been creating articles about games for over twenty years. He started with amateur websites, which he coded himself in HTML, then he moved on to increasingly larger portals. A computer engineer, but he was always more drawn to writing than programming, and he decided to tie his future with the former. In games, he primarily looks for stories, emotions, and immersion that no other medium can provide - hence, among his favorite titles, are games focusing on narration. Believes that NieR: Automata is the best game ever made.


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