Watch Dogs: Legion asks the player to lead a rebellion against London’s oppressors. The game grants me a variety of tools, tactics, and options, and I have squandered all of them in favor of playing the game like an absolute dingus.
The game offered me a variety of starting Dedsec agents, and I chose a lesbian who is banned for life from the London zoo and has the incredible power of “owns a gun.” I make shortcuts over sidewalks and swerve to hit couriers on motorbikes. I avoid using the spiderbot and stealth because I prefer to brawl with absolutely everyone. After all, I figured, I’ve played a million open world games where I complete crime-related missions in a big city. I know how this works. It’s fine.
I drive down the streets, hunting down people with funny traits or professions like “games journalist” or “searched ‘how do ovens work’” or “is into pegging”, and then I relentlessly recruit them, hurting dozens more people in the process.
I spent hours trying to assemble the worst possible team that could still function. I have a construction worker who self-publishes erotica, and a mathematician who has apparently fallen down multiple manholes with the traits of “slow,” “gambling addict,” and “doomed” … so not only is he kind of garbage, but he’s fated to just die at some point, completely unprompted.
The problem is that I played like this for a solid dozen hours, just having the time of my life, before advancing to a point in the campaign where there are actually consequences for my terrible behavior. It turns out that I was stuck in a tutorial limbo, and during that time I scored hundreds of injuries and murders and acts of menace.
Usually games are OK with this; my instinct to swerve and hit motorcyclists with my car is now muscle memory from playing so much Grand Theft Auto Online. But Watch Dogs: Legion is here to make me reap what I sowed.
Now, everywhere I go in London, I see a tag on a civilian that means one of two things:
- They hate me because I hit them with my car or shot them with a gun
- I assaulted their loved ones and family members and they hold a grudge
The tags themselves are intimidating; it’s like every tenth person I meet has a personal grudge against me and I can see it from a distance. As someone with social anxiety, this is basically my nightmare.
What’s worse is I spent so long in a “tutorial” area that I had no idea this memory mechanic existed. Legion adds in some extra mechanics after big campaign missions are completed. I didn’t complete those; Instead, I hit hundreds of people with my car without thinking about it. Now that I’ve advanced a little further, they’re greenlit to come after me. And there are some real consequences associated with these vendettas. A big chunk of London wants nothing more than to beat my ass. I’ll load up only to find that one of my agents has been kidnapped and I have to rescue them, or I’ll get jumped in the streets. For those who played the game peacefully, they’re able to go about their business. I have to spend a big chunk of my playtime fleeing someone I punched in a pub by accident.
I regret nothing. All of this has merely added spice into my game. There are as many enemies as allies on the streets, and I feel like part of a rebel movement. Walking down the street, showing up at the subway, or wandering along the river becomes incredibly fraught. After all, I can see all of the people who are furious at DedSec as I wander, and I know it’s my fault. Any one of those characters could come back later to haunt me. Look, I’m trying my best. It’s not easy to liberate a city of procedurally generated civilians, especially when I chose to recruit a bunch of walking disasters.