Ubisoft’s third entry into Assasins Creed with Phones is a surprise success!
Watch Dogs as a franchise is arguably underrated, the first, released in 2014, garnerd heaps of negative feedback after a impressive E3 demo, that upon the games release looked more like a distant cousin, you've never met. It was also criticised for having a gruff, no-nonsense protagonist and a bleak, moody tone. During lockdown i decided to give it a shot and found that actually although all the criticisms that were given are valid, the game doesn't look anywhere as good as that demo but it still holds up and yes the main character Aiden Pearce is a walking talking stereotype that makes the sequel’s lead, Marcus look like the most likeable video game character ever, but he grew on me as the game went on. Although Ubisoft’s idea to put him front and center in his own DLC for Legion isn’t to me worthy of shelling out 30 quid for the Season Pass, as he isn't exactly a memorable character. All that said, Legion is different, not as bleak as the first and not as sunshine soaked as the second, Legion is its own unique entry in the franchise. Watch Dogs is going to the Big Smoke.
As a product of the UK myself and having visited London myself several times, I felt decently equipped to review Ubisoft’s version of near future Old Blighty. It’s easy to see why Ubisoft chose this for their next location, afterall London is the most surveilled city in Europe, all those cameras begging to be hacked. Needless to say, they have once again nailed the feel and setting stunningly well. The mood of Londers however is rather well, pissed off.
London has become oppressed, after a recent bombing shook the city, Nigel Cass, CEO of glorified private militia Albion, swooped in to basically enforce martial law and have all but replaced the police force. Cass and much of the city’s press including the GBB, Great British Broadcasting,( no prizes for guessing which company the writers have subtly spoofed) believe that hacker group Dedsec are behind the bombings. The story starts with a placeholder protagonist, superspy, Dalton Wolfe, basically Daniel Craig’s James Bond, with a little bit of I’m too old for this shit” for stereotypical measure, racing to stop a suspected attack on Parliament which is revealed to be the bombings that set off the events of the game. Wolfe who is a member of Dedsec is killed by mysterious terrorist organisation Zero Day the real culprit.
The game’s featured mechanic, “play as anyone” is plastered all over their marketing and rightfully so. Yes, similar features have been in other games such as Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis System but never on this scale before. The player can choose from over nine million NPCS, each have different professions, hobbies and internet search history. They also all have a schedule that they actually keep to. The goal, is you, as the first member of Dedsec resurrected London cell, is to add members to its ranks by picking and choosing people, one might be a Hitman with an expertise in firearms and cool John Wick style take down animations. Another might be a drone excerpt with improved hacking, the options are literally endless. This is what makes the game, and surprisingly is what won me over, the system I thought would rob the player from having a lead protagonist thus disconnecting them from the overall story which by the way is perfectly fine, a serviceable take down bad guys to restore the city type of plot with a few twists and turns that I won’t spoil here. The lack of a protagonist does hurt the game, but you can create one, pick a person with good skills and if you like them then just plays as them. Tech points allow you to buy upgrades that help to fend off drones and enemies so really you only need 10 recruits at most. For example, my go to guy is Carl White, a black Irish Hitman. Ridiculous? Yes, but it works, whilst the depth of a sole protagonist with dialogue would be better, the subsiste isn't that far off, having a action hero, type character fits the game in my opinion. The attachment does work however despite the millions of NPC’s, when my main operative got kidnapped quite a way into the story, I was genuinely concerned for his life.
Members of your team can't die, that is unless you turn on Permadeath, once a character dies they are gone, for good. This changes the play of the game significantly and makes each encounter more nerverakcing but however does not improve the overall feel of the game. The enemy AI is still kinda dumb, the villains are caricatures, one silver lining is the helpful AI Bagley. Basically advanced Siri, I feared he would be like many triple A companions, horribly annoying. To my suprise, I actually chuckled at his jokes and one liners. His unequivocally English personality is a high point for the writing in this game.His story is also surprising and well worth uncovering for yourself.
That all said and done, Legion is good, not as likeable as it’s predecessor but better than the first. It’s exactly what i expected but also not at all.