It's no fun living under the rule of a totalitarian police state where everything you say and do is monitored. Ubisoft finally dares to make a political statement with Watch Dogs Legion and does not bother about it: life in post-Brexit London is miserable.

Nor does it help that freedom-fighting hacker group DedSec is framed for a number of attacks in the British capital. The spy at the head of this group is killed and the rest of his followers are slaughtered in cold blood. However, a small part of DedSec manages to escape and tries to ignite a new revolution via the remaining smoldering fire.

This requires new members of DedSec and in Watch Dogs Legion they can be found all over London. Anyone who is even the slightest bit worried about the occupation of London by the private army Albion can be recruited. For example, DedSec’s new legion quickly becomes a crazy mess, consisting of all layers of the London population. They also each bring their own unique skills.

A heavy drinking retired lady may not be the most obvious hacker, but her high tolerance for alcohol can also take her more blows. A lawyer is more likely to release her henchmen after they are arrested, a specialist hacker has a unique drone with lasers, and a former Albion member can walk into areas closed to the public with his stolen outfit.

By eliminating a regular main character and instead making randomly generated residents of London playable, the third part of Watch Dogs takes an original new turn. All characters are capable of the same thing to some extent. Hacking cameras, cars, drones, doors and computers is as simple as pressing a button for anyone. The difference really is in the few unique abilities each character possesses. To make things even more interesting, Legion also introduces permadeath. If one of the DedSec recruits is killed during a mission, they are really dead for good and another member must complete the assignment.

The idea sounds brilliant, but Watch Dogs Legion never manages to fully go for the roguelike-esque elements. The missions are too one-sided for that, for example. Time and time again it boils down to penetrating a base to steal crucial information from a mainframe once inside. There are plenty of ways to get in, which is why which character accepts the mission doesn’t feel so important.

Whether you gain access as a professional assassin or construction worker, it doesn’t really matter, because it is equally easy for both candidates. Since every character comes with numerous gadgets and weapons as standard, you never get the feeling that you have brought the wrong hacker. As a result, switching between the members of DedSec feels increasingly unnecessary as you have more upgrades and gadgets.

It is urgent that the Legion aspect of Watch Dogs is not properly reflected, because the game falls quite short in many other areas as well. As we’re all used to in a Ubisoft game, areas of London need to be liberated. To do that, there are short missions that alternate between sabotage or killing a VIP within Albion. When enough requirements are met, a special mission follows that inspires the inhabitants of an area to take on their occupiers.

However, the difference between a neighborhood that fights against Albion and one that is still being suppressed is minimal.

The story, meanwhile, suffers from the lack of a regular main character. The road to the liberation of London feels like a succession of near-future sci-fi clich├ęs mixed with Black Mirror episodes from ten years ago.

Interesting storylines can be found in the screens with information that appear when the hack tool is aimed at a random passerby. As a member of DedSec you get access to all private data of everyone on the street. This way you learn what keeps them busy and what their hobbies are, but also special skills when you recruit them. Notable potential new members can be monitored in this way.

The game is surprising in other ways too. For example, there are areas in missions that are completely inaccessible to humans, but that are visible through smart switching between cameras and drones. As a stealth game, Watch Dogs is now far from brilliant, but the game often has cool moments. Because hacking is effortless, with a few taps on your phone you can turn a quiet checkpoint into a chaos of suddenly enemy drones, parked cars pulling away at full throttle and weapons that suddenly stop working. Legion is a huge power fantasy in that respect and also quite a fun one.

Unfortunately, this third Watch Dogs doesn’t have enough fresh new ideas to keep the whole 15-20 hour long main story compelling. The new elements, such as multiple playable characters, are too superficially incorporated in the rest of the gameplay for that. For example, only towards the end of Legion does a mission pass in which there is mandatory switching between the characters. By then, the whole unique premise already feels wasted on a game that does far too little with it. Add to that the striking amount of bugs, extremely long loading times and crashes and you have a game that simply doesn’t feel quite finished.



+ Lots of variation between different characters
+ Beautifull and colorful London

– Switching between characters doesn’t feel necessary
– Monotonous set-up of missions