E3 2019 Hands-on – Watch Dogs: Legion
When I first heard of Watch Dogs: Legion‘s elevator pitch, my first reaction was “yeah, right”. The game had such an absurd premise, something only Peter Molyneux would promise and probably under deliver. Being able to play as literally anyone that shows up onscreen? Being able to even recruit the enemies I’m supposed to kill? A vast open world London I can freely explore? Permadeath? That sounded too good to be true. Then Ubisoft’s conference came along, and we all watched that lovely British grandma acting like a pro and killing guards with a weird facehugger-ish robot. My hype levels went from “oh yeah whatever, I have an appointment for this game at E3” to “hell yeah! I have an appointment for Legion at E3!”
The demo started off with a bang. I had a set amount of demo-specific characters to choose from, and I could freely recruit anyone I saw fit. Thanks to a special feature in this demo, I could automatically recruit anyone, but in the final release, you’ll have to win over each person’s trust by doing them favors, such as clearing their name off the police records, for instance. Each character has his/her specific abilities, pros and cons. Some might have increased health, while others are more experienced with weaponry. They all have set schedules which you can find out by hacking their cell phones. You can also recruit drug addicts who can die randomly. I have no idea why, but it’s possible.
Obviously, I ended up choosing the grandma, robbed a motorcycle, and went straight to a top secret government building to hack a few servers, all while popping some wheelies in the process. I can confirm that playing as the grandma is as ridiculous and awesome as the Ubisoft presentation made it look like. I started acting like a mix between an old sensei, a hacker, a ninja and an assassin, hacking cameras in order to see what was going on inside the building, as well as blowing up electric terminals to stealth kill guards, until something odd happened: the power at the LA Convention Center went out, and the game had to be restarted.
Honestly, that was for the best. Upon restarting the demo, I noticed that everyone in the initial area was completely different, with different stats, schedules and outfits. Every character in Watch Dogs: Legion is randomly generated and I love that. The possibilities are endless, and that means that each player will feature a completely different roster of characters to recruit.
I mentioned to the Ubisoft staff member that I used to live in England and loved going to Camden Town, therefore he suggested me to visit the game’s recreation of Camden Market. Gosh dang was I impressed. Watch Dogs: Legion doesn’t feature the same groundbreaking visuals showcased in the pre-release version of the original Watch Dogs (thankfully enough), but I loved the game’s realistic portrayal of Camden Market, as well as other London landmarks. I got tired of waiting for a new The Getaway game, so I guess Watch Dogs: Legion will suffice my open world London desires.
Thanks to both the Ubisoft conference presentation and the behind-closed-doors E3 demo, my hype levels for Watch Dogs: Legion went from nearly negative to as high as the Himalayas. I love the amount of freedom given to me in order to tackle missions. I love the fact that the absurd mechanic of actually playing as anyone on the streets actually works. I love their recreation of London. Watch Dogs: Legion was one fantastic surprise, and easily one of the best games I played at E3 this year. I can’t wait to pop even more wheelies as the grandma!