a game that wants to change how we play

Image: Ubisoft.

Watch Dogs Legion try to reinvent the open world game formula or sandbox to literally turn them into that, a box full of characters to play with, the ones who can star in this bittersweet story. The result is a fascinating experiment that works when it comes to gameplay.

In the same way as the first Watch Dogs came in a year in which a transition between generations of consoles was being experienced, the new Watch Dogs Legion It comes at a time when the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S are beginning to be the successors of the successful PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This allows you to take full advantage of the hardware of the old consoles and to test the waters of new possibilities in the new generation. Because in the mechanics section, Watch Dogs Legion it is very ambitious.

Ambitious, yes, but he achieves his ambitions! The main feature of Legion is that, unlike the previous two Watch Dogs (and of almost any previous game), the game does not have a single protagonist. In fact, any character you see in this semi-futuristic version and with a hint of cyberpunk of the city of London, any NPC, can be controlled and can star in the story. Or at least, be one of the protagonists.

As soon as the campaign begins, the game presents you with some random options to choose who will be your character. You can’t create it, the game does it for you, and even gives you curious, funny and sometimes tragic biographies and stories.

The fact that you cannot create your own character is not a disadvantage at all. In fact, this character you have chosen will only be the first one you can use. Because the true protagonist of Legion is DedSec, the organization of hackers and activists that is fighting from the shadows against injustices and abuses in London, including more than one conspiracy and corrupt politicians.

When you are walking down the street you can get the profile of the characters around you, whatever it is, and beyond the biography that the game creates for them, the interesting thing will be to see what makes that character special, in order to join the ranks of DedSec. Recruit him. For example, recruiting a builder will give you access to a special drone (something the campaign directly forces you to do). You can also recruit a security officer or employee of the Albion corporation to access forbidden areas, or a doctor to access a morgue in case you need it. There are many possibilities.

Anyone on the street, an NPC, with a personalized biography and, in this case, easy access to police areas due to their work and, moreover, prone to flatulence. In the case of this character, he will be difficult to recruit because of the resentment that a past encounter with a DedSec agent created.
Image: Ubisoft.

But recruiting is not as easy as pressing a button. Depending on the person you are trying to recruit, some will ask you for a favor, get them out of a tight spot. Others, on the other hand, may have a great resentment against DedSec, and you will have to little by little make them change their mind through help and a little espionage. Each character you recruit is a process. At the time it becomes a bit repetitive, yes, but it is still interesting.

And it’s even more interesting when you activate the Permadeath (or permanent death) option in the game. If you do, you will have to be much more careful when playing with your DedSec operatives, because if they kill them on a mission, you will lose it forever. This could result in losing valuable operatives, skills or influencers. It adds another layer of immersion to the game, you will care more about your operatives.

Image: Ubisoft.

The amount of dialogue and variety of characters in Legion is awesome. And all this serves to intrude on a story full of political touches, social criticism, corporate abuse and activism, although the story does not take too much risk, perhaps just enough.

In Legion an attack results in the detonation of bombs in different key locations in London, by an organization that seems to want to incriminate DedSec. This gives rise to the government and its taxpayers to take measures such as the privatization of the police and other organizations, which results in chaos, corruption and, of course, the weakest always lose. The poorest. DedSec wants to fight this.

The landscapes of a futuristic London.
Image: Ubisoft.

Image: Ubisoft.

Beyond the possibility of controlling several characters, the game has evolved in terms of hacks. On many occasions it is possible to complete a mission (or a large part of it) without having to access a location in person, but rather by jumping from one webcam to another, or using drones, to hack and accomplish objectives. In the same way as the previous games in the saga, each area of ​​the map is full of tools to fulfill the objectives. In many cases, direct confrontations (and shooting) are not necessary, which gives greater diversity to the gameplay.

In general, the world of Watch Dogs Legion it feels practically alive because you know that that person on a motorcycle, that grandmother who walks through the park, or that taxi driver, can become part of the history of the game. You can become the hero DedSec needs. I would have liked the game to take more risks with the plot, without using some clichés of this type of dystopian story to the Black Mirror, but still, Legion is an ingenious and highly entertaining game that I hope will influence future open world projects at Ubisoft.

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