Watch Dogs: Legion – An Ambitious Resistance

E3 can be perplexing. Most conferences will show a high volume of games with little to no gameplay to speak of, but there are times where a game will be shown and it will instantly intrigue due to its potential.

(Credit to Ubisoft North America)

Watch Dogs Legion, the third entry in the hacktivist series, had an utterly captivating reveal and was a definite highlight in what has been an underwhelming and somewhat strange E3. Set in a dystopian London, players will work to create a network of enforcers, infiltrators, and hackers to combat the authoritarian government. The catch is that every NPC is playable, regardless of their age or occupation, seriously you can play a geriatric assassin, you just need to do the research and then complete objectives to secure their trust.

In a way, it’s similar to the Nemesis system found in the Shadow of Mordor/War series, as characters are procedurally generated with their own backstories and varying traits. The big difference being that it’s set in a massive open world and if you’ve played this series, the sheer amount of NPC’s on screen can be staggering. With that being said, it just doesn’t seem feasible.

But the reveal and subsequent behind the scenes videos show that it is and will be the driving force behind the game. If successful, Watch Dogs Legion could open the floodgates to similar titles in the future. Procedurally generated content isn’t uncommon, but as it pertains to NPC’s being the core mechanic, this would be the first of it’s kind. What makes this even more interesting is that every character recruited can be the victim of permadeath based off your actions.

(Credit to Ubisoft North America)

This would greatly raise the stakes of each mission as they could very well be the last if you play recklessly. It’s very X-Com and something greatly appreciated as when time moves along, players will become more and more attached to the characters they recruit. Permadeath is a mechanic normally reserved for strategy games and RPG’s so seeing it in an open-world title is a bit of a surprise.

None of this however, matters if Watch Dogs Legion doesn’t craft a compelling narrative to make up for the lack of a lead protagonist. There isn’t one hero, but a city of them and how it all plays out will ultimately determine how Legion is received. It’s hard not to be intrigued as it looks fantastic and by combining different mechanics in a science fiction world should create at the very least an interesting game. But, the issue is that the other Watch Dogs games lacked a cohesive narrative or even an compelling one. Legion can be a gamechanger for the series and the open-world genre itself if it is able to meet its lofty ambitions.

This was definently the best title Ubisoft had to offer at E3 and its reveal was a bit of a shocker. Watch Dogs 2 wasn’t a commercial success and there had been no indication of a sequel. Legion would mark a huge leap forward in the series and could very well be the hacker adventure that the fans had been waiting for since the series inception.

Join the resistance on March 6, 2020.

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