Watch Dogs: Legion is probably the most British game I have ever played and I mean that in a good way. The game manages to capture the charm of London and its inhabitants exceedingly well. Despite some flaws, Ubisoft’s latest rendition of London is one which I believe is worth the visit.

The game begins with a primer on what has happened since the previous games; DedSec, the familiar hacking group, has been defeated and lies dormant after being framed for terrorism. The city of London has been taken over by private military contractor Albion who are policing it with an authoritarian dominance and a hunger to kill. Attack drones, automated turrets, armed guards, armoured vehicles and surveillance cameras have been shoved into every last nook and cranny to ensure that no citizen has the ability to hide anything from Albion nor congregate into a union.

You are tasked with raising DedSec from the dead to take on Albion and you must recruit an entirely new roster of elite agents from London’s top candidates: Billy from the construction site; Mrs. Norris, the friendly granny with a few hidden secrets; Harold, the investment banker and Christina, the social media influencer. We didn’t say this would be easy, did we? The greatest strength of Watch Dogs: Legion lies in its very unique gameplay mechanic: any person you see on the street can be recruited to DedSec, if you try hard enough. The game truly can conjure some hilarious combinations of people with its random generator, but this flexibility adds so much fun and depth to the gameplay beyond the laughs it will bring.

Every person you can add to your team, aside from being stereotypically British, also has a set of possible passive abilities, ranging from the likes of healing buffs for medical recruits to negative effects like accidentally alerting nearby enemies for those employed by Albion, for example. Furthermore, certain team members have uniform access to restricted areas (doctors to hospitals, construction workers to sites, Albion employees to secured areas etc.), some can have their own unique type of weapon or gadget or even have the ability to summon a vehicle on demand. The game offers a great amount of diversity in both the squad of charismatic characters you can accumulate, but also in how you can use these people to approach missions differently. The beauty of Watch Dogs: Legion is that it embraces the wacky nature of this system and never takes itself seriously, almost exacerbating its own ridiculousness.

The result of this is a game which is not entirely deep in terms of narrative, but one which brings a huge amount of light-hearted, relaxing fun to the table in lieu of that. The lack of a central character to ground the story is an inherent trade-off of this unique gameplay mechanic, however, not every game has to have a rich tale backing it. In the case of Watch Dogs: Legion, that gap is filled by the enjoyment and laughter this mechanic can offer.

Recruiting people often involves doing a specific mission for them, something which they were trying to solve on their own. These missions provide the side quests for the game and while they are usually more than fetch-quest filler, they do tend to get slightly repetitive after you recruit enough people. Nevertheless, they don’t usually take a long time to complete, so they don’t present as a major hindrance through the game.

One of your primary focuses is to reclaim the boroughs of London through small objectives which involve gathering evidence, pushing propaganda through hacking and sabotaging Albion. Once you have completed these, you get access to a larger liberation mission which will liberate the area from Albion and give you access to very powerful, special recruits, in addition to revealing map markets for things like tech points.

Tech points are the main upgrade system in the game, which does not go very deep. They allow you to unlock new weapons, gadgets and abilities which you can apply to your recruits or use. There are not too many options in each of these categories, so don’t consider Legion to be an RPG like the recent Assassin’s Creed games, the main differentiating factor comes from the inherent aspects of each recruit rather than the equipables.

In terms of the main plot, you will take on several antagonists, each with their own storyline of missions interweaved through the core narrative. These villains are well crafted and act as pillars of strength for the game’s story, the role a central character usually occupies. The missions which you will undertake to rid the city of them are varied and include a number of very thrilling set pieces. This is where Watch Dogs: Legion truly shines; you can tell that these evil masterminds have been crafted with care by a team of writers, something which we still cannot quite emulate through random character generation, unfortunately.

Now, we have to talk about Ubisoft’s portrayal of an open-world London. This is, without a doubt, one of the strongest aspects of Watch Dogs: Legion. The world is filled with charm, character and a stunning level of detail, which manages to add its own touches while retaining an instant sense of familiarity. London’s most iconic landmarks: the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and many more, are depicted with stunning detail and beauty, true to their counterparts in reality. The city is breathtakingly lit up at night in the game, which looks fantastic regardless of platform. Ubisoft have done an incredible job in this respect and we cannot wait to check it out on the Xbox Series X with ray-tracing on November 10th.

Overall, Watch Dogs: Legion is a game where the flaws are perhaps an unavoidable by-product of the unique gameplay mechanics; a trade-off of narrative depth for compelling gameplay. This results in a relaxing game which is not mentally taxing and one which is a joy to explore in whatever way you want, due to the beautiful depiction of London and the charming cast of zany characters which inhabit it. If you enjoyed the gameplay of the previous Watch Dogs titles, Legion will be right up your alley.

NOTE: Some users have experienced major bugs while playing Watch Dogs: Legion, however, I have only experienced minor frame drops and glitches which did not materially impact the experience. Ubisoft are working on these bugs and fixes will be delivered via patches.

DISCLAIMER: This review was carried out on Xbox One X using a review code provided by Ubisoft. We will be updating this review with our Xbox Series X impressions once the console launches, in addition to a feature with some comparison shots between the two versions. Stay tuned!