“Welcome to the Resistance!”
Hacking through London in a post-Brexit styled dystopian future, Ubisoft has returned with its third instalment to the Watchdogs series with Watch Dogs: Legion. The open-world environment action-adventure stealth game that takes you through what the near future of London could look like sooner than we think, the highly anticipated game was released yesterday inviting fans from across the globe to embark on an adventure into the UK’s decline of democracy.
Unlike the first two instalments in the franchise set in the United States (Chicago and San Francisco), Legion fictionalises London life, depicting many representations from the city. The story, which focuses on the hacker group DedSec as they attempt to free the city from oppression and its surveillance state by recruiting citizens from across the city features the ability to play as multiple characters.
From terrorist attacks to the deep conspiracy’s centred around a private military company, your job is to investigating and completing many missions that progress to the completion of the main story. Aimed at freeing the boroughs within the city like Camden and Westminster, the game offers the playthrough option of permadeath, providing the player with the possibility of a more exciting and compelling narrative to the game.
From the first play of Legion, its concept is pretty standard and easy, especially for a third-person perspective game. Despite this, the game itself is underwhelming, confusing, too repetitive and to be honest a letdown to the franchise. The nonsensical misrepresentation of London and several of its characters make the game often outdated and cringeworthy. Ubisoft’s lack of research on Britain as a society speaks volumes, especially with the misuse of the ethnic stereotypes in the game.
Whilst the inclusion of modern British culture is evident with the incorporation of grime music and slang, it comes across as heavily exaggerated and forced. The characteristics of almost every ethnic character in the game come across unpolished and unrealistic. With the only inclusion issue being the lack of Latino representation across London, the depiction of several ethnic characters is embarrassing. From almost every Black character having a Jamaican accent to the extras being poor Blacks or Asians, Ubisoft’s lack of analysis quickly comes off as stereotypical and offputting. Let’s also not forget that every character pretty much has the same face model.
On the second play, I noticed more issues that honestly stood out like a sore thumb. From the glitching where enemies would magically disappearing or reappear after you die or during a fight to Auto Drive never completing its destination, the game often felt unfinished in certain areas. Whilst the ability to be a character that can help make the mission easier to complete, the fact that any character can hack is unbelievable. I have to admit, weirdly enough, most of my thrill and excitement from completing the smaller missions like the bare-knuckles arena fights than the actual main tasks.
My greatest disappointment with Legion was its lack of promotion in the lead-up to its release. The piss poor non-existent marketing for such a highly anticipated game spoke volumes. In my opinion, it felt as if Ubisoft relied on Stormzy’s involvement in the game to speak for itself, which if you ask me is plain lazy. Whilst it’s cool that he stars in a mission and Ubisoft gave him a chance to play the game early, there was hardly any advertisement or campaigning to boost or pique anyone’s interest in the game, especially not even in the city it is based off.
I don’t doubt that a lot of hard work and dedication went into the making of this game. However, Legion is based off incorrect British stereotypes that have not been adequately researched. For some, this game was worth the wait, but for me, I genuinely feel like they need to go back to the drawing board. The cons outweigh the pros, especially when it comes to the basics. I doubt I’ll complete the game, however, with multiplayer reportedly coming this December, it’ll be interesting to see well this game does despite all its flaws.
Watch Dogs: Legion is out now, available on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.