Let’s Talk About Watch Dogs: Legion

Posted July 14, 2020 by Kyle Simcox in Nerdy Bits

On July 12th, Ubisoft aired their Ubisoft Forward, a prerecord show focused on announcing a handful of their hottest titles… and even some mobile games too. As excited as I was to see gameplay for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and experience Giancarlo Esposito’s chilling performance as Antón Castillo in Far Cry 6, one game(in my opinion) absolutely stole the show and it certainly wasn’t a mobile game. The mobile games were just, y’know, mobile games and overall I’m disappointed that Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad doesn’t feature Michael Ironside as Sam Fisher. Quite frankly I have no earthly idea why they keep harming Sam in this way. Just throw the whole damn app away Ubisoft. Anyway, Watch Dogs: Legion however, was the star of the friggin’ show. It was the game they began the Ubisoft Forward with and it managed to occupy my thoughts throughout the whole show and until long after it had ended.

Let’s talk about that trailer:
After Ghost Recon: Breakpoint launched, crashed and burned, Watch Dogs: Legion was delayed and basically vanished from the public’s eye after Ubisoft promised to fix the former and provide their unreleased games with a bit more tender loving care. So, in order to set the scene for Watch Dogs: Legion once again, Ubisoft debuted a brand new trailer for the game and I thought it was just awesome. My wife and I sat in silence as a faceless narrator told us how it started when London targeted the foreigners, then the artists and so on. All the while, a masked figure is running for their life, narrowly avoiding death far too many times to count. What stood out to me was how frantic and stylish the trailer was where words like “wham” and “bang” would flash by in true comic book fashion to accompany the action on the screen. “Into the Spider-verse” is easily in my top 3 favorite movies of all time and Legion’s trailer felt like a sincere imitation that brought with it some heavy vibes. If Ubisoft came at me and told me they had plans for a Watch Dogs movie and followed the statement up by showing me their “Tipping Point” trailer, I’d be sold.

That gameplay though:
After Ubisoft showed off the “Tipping Point” trailer, they moved into the gameplay preview and brought with it some more lore about how London ended up the way we see it in Legion. Basically the government outsourced it’s security to a private military company known as Albion who, using the Blume Corporation’s ctOS, have turned the country into a surveillance state in order to catch a mysterious terrorist. As revealed back in 2019 when Watch Dogs: Legion was initially shown off, the game will allow players to recruit just about anyone and everyone to aid in the fight against the powers that be provided you help them out a little. It’s a mechanic Ubisoft capitalized on for their event that really showcased Legion’s variety in gameplay. While we see quite a few different possibilities where the trailer flashes through a few of the characters like a street artist using a can of spray paint to fend off an attacker, the rebel with a baseball bat or the little old lady equipped with her sass and a taser. However, there were four characters the trailer focused on that really highlighted the gameplay’s variety.

The Blunt Approach:
To start things off, the first character they showed off was Arthur Griffin, a construction worker who was taking a pee off of a nearby pier. Watch Dogs is the name of the game so as members of Dedsec, the characters can still hack the world around them but Arthur still has his own unique personality and traits. Equipped with a wrench, a nail gun and his ability to use cargo drones, Arthur hops onto a drone and flies over the walls of Albion’s headquarters and his intrusion is met with force. After watching a few seconds of Arthur kicking ass and taking names, the scenario is rewound and a new character is chosen instead of Arthur.

A Stealthier Approach:
That’s where Amy Zhao is called in. Amy is a drone expert and using her skills, she’s able to infiltrate Albion’s headquarters without ever really having to step foot in the place. Her abilities allow her to summon and utilize drones in ways other characters may not be able to. We see her summon a drone and fly it behind enemy lines, using it to quietly take down enemies. In the footage, she eventually gets caught and gets attacked by Albion’s drones. Amy is also able to hack the enemy drones in order to take down the other one that’s firing at her to escape. Using drones was one of my favorite parts of Watch Dogs 2 as it on occasion allowed Marcus to complete objectives without ever having to to step foot within the mission perimeters and that always made me feel like I was playing as a hacker and not some sociopath with a gun and an 8 ball on a bungee cord.

Albion’s Way:
With a little bit of extra work, players will also be able to recruit members of the enemy faction. The third playable character was an Albion officer named Brielle and if you’re looking for a way to approach an infiltration mission without conflict, this is one of the best ways to do so. Using her security credentials, Brielle is able to stroll right on through the base to her objective. We don’t see Brielle do any fighting but the narrator implies that any suspicious actions can get Brielle killed, so going off of that, recruiting members of the enemy faction seems like an ace up your sleeve you wouldn’t want to waste.

The Baba Yaga:
It’s at this point that the trailer moves on to a wholly different scenario and the fourth character is called in(after another passes out). Nathan Khan is a professional hitman with the looks of Jean Reno’s “Léon” equipped with all of John Wick’s combat skills who is called in to take down an illegal “organ farm” owned by the notorious mob boss, Mary Kelley. This bit is basically nuts to butts as Nathan is shown to be the character for those who want Watch Dogs to be more action driven. He sports a stylish mask, aims for the head and performs all sorts of slick executions that would make Keanu Reeves proud. On the downside, I felt the hitman’s presentation was too short. The character looks cool and the setting for his gameplay segment was perfect but they really didn’t show us enough of Nathan’s skills. With that being said, I still can’t wait to recruit him.

As the trailer nears it’s end, the narrator says, “not everyone is a legendary assassin or a super spy but everyone can be a hero” and it’s a statement that rings so true to what Legion is trying to achieve. Overall, I am really digging the variety that Ubisoft is trying to bring to the franchise. It’s an ambitious and monolithic task to make almost every character playable in a city with a huge population like London and from what we’ve seen, each one seems different from one another with their own unique style and personality. It goes beyond just choosing an outfit or a skin, allowing you to build a Dedsec that’s as flashy or as low key as you want it to be and that’s really cool. I prefer to take the stealthiest approach whenever possible but I will absolutely be playing as the hitman or the construction worker or the grandma or the super spy or whatever else the game has planned for it’s insane cast of rebels. Albion doesn’t even stand a chance.

About the Author

Kyle Simcox