WATCH DOGS: LEGION IS PROUDLY BONKERS
Get that black cabbie a pint me ol’ mucka.            


REVIEW

By JAY TEE
03/11/20
Reviewed on Xbox One X.

Police officers are a ball ache to recruit, but they have some cracking gear.

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Watch Dogs: Legion is an assault on the senses, bombarding you with questionable British accents, a narrative that eschews a traditional protagonist, and open world map design begging to be explored. You may be briefly encouraged to compare real world locations to their digital equivalents, but this isn’t the London you remember. It’s uneven, with more substance to be found in the finer details than your latest bizarre recruit.

The extent of tiny flourishes prevalent throughout evoke The Division’s meticulous set dressing. This is a lovingly crafted, but very strange alternate landscape, made all the more impressive by the extrapolation of likely future tech. Easily commandeered self driving cabs, and a fictional drone delivery service, layer in some much needed nuance to a game pre occupied with stereotypes.

The voice acting is, by and large, dreadful. There’s a handful of performances that fit a character’s aesthetic, but the rest are laughably exaggerated. Standout moments are memorable for the wrong reasons, with dialogue being shouted in moments of calm, characters delivering stock phrases in order to move the scene forward, and a tone not quite sure whether it should be taken seriously.

Which is odd, but indicative of a game struggling with its identity. Is DedSec really under siege, or is this a parody of Ubisoft’s open world template? Even as the story begins to coagulate into a more cohesive whole, Legion is at odds with itself. That extends to the visual performance; this is quite clearly a next gen optimised experience squeezed onto current gen hardware. It doesn’t behave consistently in moments where it should.

However, in another fascinating contradiction, recruiting your team, exploring the city, and engaging in an impressive variety of mission types is, despite the pasting I appear to be dishing out here, thoroughly enjoyable. Switch on that permadeath mode to up the stakes, and suddenly you’ll find yourself wanting to lean in to the non lethal, more considered approach that Legion encourages.

So even though I’m having a good time, Watch Dogs: Legion feels like an NPC simulator experiment that’s just getting started.

WORTH IT?

BUT

YEAH!
Watch Dogs: Legion is a wacky amalgamation of open world concepts.   

Prepare yourself for inconsistent performance on current gen hardware, and an uneven tone.     

TARPS?

BETTER THAN*:

WORSE THAN*:

At the bottom of some of our articles, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.  

The BREAK THE TARGETS badge is for a game that has excellent side quests and/or optional missions and activities.

The PRINCE OF PERSIA POT badge is for a game with glitches too hilarious to be angry about.

The TEA OF SIEVES badge is for a game with truly emergent moments.   


The COMMANDER DATA badge is for a game where death has a profound impact on your experience.

The DIE ALREADY! badge is for a game where enemies react like sponges to weapon hits.



The APPLES AND PEARS badge is for a game that features lots of British accents.  


The OOBLEH! badge is for a game that has a dodgy or inconsistent framerate.



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* This is not a serious comparison.