New game let’s you play as anyone


Ubisoft’s latest game brings many of the things that we’ve come to expect from the company, but it’s missing one thing: a main character.

Game publisher Ubisoft is preparing to release the next instalment in its open-world hacking franchise Watch Dogs, and has made a bold choice for its main character.

The latest instalment of the franchise opts against having a single central protagonist, instead you can play as pretty much anyone you come across in the game’s imagining of a futuristic London.

Rather than following one character, you can instead control a variety of operatives in the hacking group DedSec, framed for a series of terrorist attacks as it tries to free London from private military contractors enforcing a surveillance state in a city taken over by “opportunists and authoritarians”.

Ubisoft is preparing to release the latest installment in its open-world hacking franchise Watch Dogs ahead of next gen consoles.

Ostensibly the game is about leading a revolution against an unaccountable force drunk on power, similar themes that the upcoming Far Cry 6 also plans to investigate.

It will also borrow elements from other Ubisoft titles (which frequently share similarities thanks to the “Ubisoft DNA”).

Like some other Ubisoft titles there are areas to liberate from the opposition forces (in Watch Dogs they’re called “boroughs”, Far Cry call them “outposts”, in Assassin’s Creed they’re “forts”) to gain followers.

Watch Dogs: Legion gives players the mission to build a roster of DedSec operatives by recruiting other Londoners to join the hacking group.

A quick scan of a character in the game can determine whether they make a good recruitment target, showing some of their skills, details of their life, and what their current sentiment towards the hacking crew (ones more sympathetic to the cause are of course easier to recruit).

Recruitment usually involves a short side mission where you complete some sort of task or favour for the recruitment target, but once you’ve recruited another character you can switch to them at any time as the mission calls for it.

Hacking passer-bys will show you who would make a good recruitment target to add to your collection of characters.Source:Supplied

There’s also an option to enable “permadeath” for operatives, meaning that if they die in the game you no longer have them as part of your operative roster.

This can put you in some interesting conundrums: When fleeing from the opps should you risk your life making an escape, or allow yourself to be captured in the hope other operatives will free them soon? (recruiting barristers is one way you can get operatives out of jail quicker).

The rotating cast does mean you’re unlikely to become as attached to the characters as you might in a game like Grand Theft Auto or Assassin’s Creed, but you aren’t forced to spend all your time recruiting and once you find a couple operatives you like you could stick to them.

There’s usually multiple ways to tackle a mission too, with options for a stealthy approach predicated on hacking and sneaking, or making a more direct (and often more difficult) assault.

The game is open world and you have a variety of different vehicles to take control of, unfortunately the driving physics of the Watch Dogs franchise have never been its strongest suit and that hasn’t changed.

There’s also a fast-travel system via the London Underground, as well as autonomous vehicles if you don’t want to drive.

These can be useful for driving around while also hacking passer-bys looking for potential new recruits, and the cars can also be hacked to cause distractions should you need to.

While it’s fun to hack your way through the world it isn’t a walk in the park, thanks largely to the fact that your enemies can perform hacks as well.

When you get in trouble with police and guards it can be hard to shake them thanks to the drones that follow you and can take control of your vehicle, but this is more of a challenge than a frustration.

The game will be one of Ubisoft’s first on the next generation of gaming consoles that launch next month and comes at a challenging time for the company.

Ubisoft recently had to fire a number of high level figures in the company after becoming embroiled in scandal over allegations of harassment and sexism that created what some of its 18,000 employees described as a “climate of terror”.

Watch Dogs: Legion will be available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One from October 29 and will be on PS5, and Xbox Series S/X consoles when they become available.

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Watch Dogs: Legion

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