A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Watch Dogs: Legion is an open world action/adventure game for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows PCs. The game is the latest chapter in the Watch Dogs series, which pits a group of hackers against corrupt politicians and government officials to free the citizens of London from oppressive control and the elimination of their rights. To fight back, the group does everything from pranks and destruction of propaganda to stunning enemies and even shooting or blowing up opponents. Violence and combat frequently occur, with players using their fists, firearms, drones, turrets, and more to eliminate characters. Blood is shown when defeating some opponents, although cutscenes show some scenes of body horror, stabbings, shootings, and more. Profanity is frequently used, with "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," and "twat" often being uttered. Some female characters wear tight clothing with a lot of cleavage showing, while other characters are described as porn stars or visiting porn sites frequently. There are also portions of town with graffiti describing genitalia, sex shops, and prostitution. Players also have meetings in their safehouse, which is set beneath a pub where characters are shown drunk or in states of inebriation. Characters can also drink, with the screen showing the effects of the liquor in their system, and some missions feature drugs or drug-related items.
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What's it about?
WATCH DOGS LEGION is an open world action adventure set in a futuristic London that has undergone significant upheaval and chaos with a government that's restricted the rights of its citizens and turned over their personal information to corporations. Fighting back against this oppression and loss of rights is the London branch of Dedsec, a hacker collective that seeks to liberate the population from these crippling societal controls. Unfortunately, on a mission, a separate organization known as Zero Day bombs landmarks around London and pins the blame on Dedsec, getting them branded as terrorists. Afterwards, a security company named Albion takes over London with the use of security drones, automated checkpoints, and armed guards, controlling the lives of the people under the illusion of security and justice. The only possible way to fight back is to resurrect Dedsec from its ashes. Instead of taking the role of a specific character, players will recruit their team from the people on the streets of London, so anyone could become vital to your mission: a former spy, the homeless, even a little old lady feeding pigeons in the park. Bringing them over to you side can involve handling a task related to solving a problem in their life, making a larger disruptive impact to free segments of the city from invasive control, or (in some cases) simply walking up and asking a person that has benefited from Dedsec's previous activities if they'd like to join the cause. Can Dedsec cause enough mayhem to get the people behind their movement? More importantly, can they figure out who framed them and put an end to their schemes?
Is it any good?
This hacking-focused adventure does an incredible job of giving players the flexibility of stepping into the shoes of anyone in London, but its biggest stumbling block, ironically, is tech-based. Watch Dogs Legion is a dire take on a future where citizens are no longer free in their own city, because their government has sold their security and safety to a private military corporation. Coupled with tech that tracks their every move, the conditions are ripe for revolution. The commentary about cryptocurrency, driverless cars, drones, illegal immigration and other issues feels ripped from today's headlines. The big twist here is that any character can join your cause and help start the revolution. Everyone on the streets is a possible agent in training. The grandma that's skilled with robotics? The homeless girl packing a silenced MP5? The hypnotist street performer that can convert guards to your side for a mission? These are just some of the people you can profile and bring onto your team, rounding out your squad's needs for a particular mission. That also means that you can intentionally choose to make a mission harder by picking a someone that has to take a more direct route than a stealthier path in levels based on their skill set. Additionally, the option to choose anyone makes London feel more alive and realistic than virtually any other open world game, because each character has their own motivations and needs to fulfill. For example, if you prevent a random character from being arrested, their spouse or family member might remember that, and may be more willing to join the cause. Accidentally kill someone or cause their problem to become worse, and you may make an adversary that will come back to haunt you, including kidnapping some of your teammates and threatening their lives. The overall result is that you not only care who's on your team, but you start looking at everyone as prospective teammates instead of random citizens.
Legion's gameplay is incredibly ambitious, but while it shoots for the digital moon, it manages to suffer from some significant bugs. Environmental objects suddenly pop into existence or won't always respond to commands, which can hinder the solving of puzzles or missions. Character profiles and voices for your team will sometimes swap out with recruits, which can be somewhat confusing when you're picking team members for a mission. But the most significant problem is that there are random crashes and freezes that will pop up, forcing you to restart and reload the game. It's ironic that a game that's so steeped in tech (such as the hacking, drone direction, or scene reconstruction by holograms) suffers from tech glitches. Many of these problems are scheduled to be fixed by upcoming patches, so if you can overlook these flaws, Watch Dogs Legion presents one of the deepest, most believable open world experience to date.
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: UbiSoft
- Release date: October 29, 2020
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Activism, Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol
- Last updated: November 12, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.