Watch Dogs: Legion Online hands-on preview: Going viral

We got to go hands-on with Watch Dogs: Legion's upcoming multiplayer expansion.


Watch Dogs: Legion was certainly the most ambitious of Ubisoft’s hacking franchise. Allowing players to recruit and play as practically any character, just about every individual playthrough would be significantly different from the others. It’s this concept that on paper lends itself quite well to online mode, where players can team up with others for free roam, or take down missions as a unit. Ubisoft will soon be adding online multiplayer to Watch Dogs: Legion, and we had the chance to jump in and check it out early.

Hack together

Though the Watch Dogs games aren’t known for their multiplayer features, online mode has been a staple since the first game. One thing I immediately noticed when jumping into Watch Dogs: Legion Online with a few other players was that there’s just more to do overall. From shorter, quick objectives to full-scale missions across the map, I felt like there was a decent amount of new content to explore with friends.

In London Free Roam, players can cruise around the full map of Watch Dogs: Legion together, encountering new random events, as well as taking on brief challenges. Online mode completely redesigns the recruit process, as players will now use credits to add members to their roster. These credits can be gained through completing missions, and can also be used to unlock more abilities and hacks. The better an NPC is, the more credits it will cost to recruit them.

Group effort

Watch Dogs: Legion Online adds a new mode, Tactical Ops, which sees teams of four going on multi-level heist-style missions. With a lot of the core gameplay in Watch Dogs: Legion feeling formulaic after a while, I found Tactical Ops to be a huge change of pace. First, these missions are far more difficult than any level featured in the main game. Because of this, my team and I were in constant communication, developing a strategy and looking out for each other.

Tactical Ops usually requires the team to split up and go to two separate locations, later converging on the same location to round out the mission. The game mode also only gives one life for the entire team to share, so if anybody dies, it's game over. In the build that I played, there were no checkpoints, meaning that we had to start from the very beginning if anybody died. There was one instance where we had been playing for half an hour, and just needed to escape an area to complete a mission, where I got killed, forcing all of us to go back to the beginning.

Battle bots

One of the more interesting additions in Watch Dogs: Legion Online is Spiderbot Arena. This mode sees players going head to head in arena-style combat using the Spiderbot gadget. I was pleasantly surprised with how exciting and fun this mode was. It plays like a true arena shooter, with cool power ups, rockets, lasers, and tight maps. My group originally planned to run a couple of matches just to get a feel for the mode, and ended up playing around 10. It’s one that I really look forward to jumping back into with the full release.

One omission in Watch Dogs: Legion Online was the Invasion challenge, where players would show up in your world and try to hack you, creating for a digital hide-and-seek, so to speak. It was a core mode in the first two Watch Dogs games, but was absent during my time with Legion’s multiplayer mode. When asked, Ubisoft had no comment on the mode for the time being.

Hack for more

Watch Dogs: Legion Online adds some much needed variety to the open-world game. New Tactical Ops missions add an extreme challenge for the most hardened players, while Spiderbot Arena is an inventive spin on the classic arena shooter. While there are some rough edges that I hope to see smoothed out, I’m excited to dive back into more Watch Dogs: Legion when online multiplayer launches on March 9.

These impressions are based on a digital code provided by a publisher. Watch Dogs: Legion is available now on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC for $59.99

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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