Watch Dogs and its sequel took us to Chicago and San Francisco, respectively, but the latest entry in Ubisoft’s action-adventure series is leaving the states behind for jolly old England.
While Watch Dogs: Legion unfolds in a massive, open-world London – complete with famous landmarks, like Big Ben and Tower Bridge – “jolly” may not be the best way to describe the story and setting. Taking place in a dystopian near-future, the game’s version of the historic city has been severely oppressed by an authoritarian regime and private military corporation. Security drones and aggressive soldiers patrol the city, riots suffocate the streets, and citizens struggle to live in a world where unemployment and global warming have reached alarming levels.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as the series’ returning resistance faction, DedSec, is determined to set things straight. As in previous entries, these skilled hackers not only know their way around anything with an electronic pulse or Wi-Fi signal, but are also comfortable handling, er, heavier hardware and things that go boom. But given the game’s against-the-odds set-up, it’ll take more than a single brave protagonist to bring down Big Brother.
Thankfully, Legion introduces an ambitious new feature that allows fans to recruit – and play as – any character in the world. Whether you want to save the city as an ex-spy, punk kid, boxing champ, senior citizen assassin, or all of the above, there’s nearly no limit to who can be the hero. Players can take to the streets, scan the intel and data on anyone, and bring them into the fold if they fit the bill. You can have up to 20 of these agents in your stable, swapping between them as the needs of missions and objectives dictate.
Of course, not all recruits are created equal. Three class categories – enforcer, hacker, and infiltrator – each possesses specific skills and abilities, allowing you to build and upgrade a team capable of taking down anything from autonomous killer drones and military heavies to impenetrable firewalls and professional assassins. As threats loom larger, growing and maintaining a proper resistance becomes key to taking the city back.
While you’ll build a virtual army of specially skilled citizens, you may not want to get too attached to your DedSec agents. In an interesting twist – and departure from previous Watch Dogs entries – your characters can be taken out permanently, or temporarily sidelined by a prison stint or hospital stay. You can always add new recruits to your cause, but you can’t bring back those who were maybe a bit too reckless in the field.
Legion looks to be retaining and refining all the best elements of previous Watch Dogs games, while evolving the series in some promising new directions. The appeal of recruiting anyone – but potentially losing a favorite character – poses an especially enticing dynamic. Toss in a sprawling, detail-packed London that’s awakened on the wrong side of Brexit, and we can’t wait to join DedSec when the resistance rises March 6th, 2020.