Of course, Watch Dogs Legion’s E3 demo starts in a pub. It’s the kind of upmarket boozer where city types in chino suits manspread across leather sofas, necking Riesling after a hard day moving money between accounts. It’s late in the evening, so there’s the usual prick wearing shades despite being sat inside, boot up on the arm of a strandmon while quaffing Brewdog. Wandering out on the street, we’re only a block away from Parliament, which looks stunning despite the shitshow going on inside. Across the Thames, the London Eye towers over the near-future skyline, lit in red like a neon Sauron.
All of which is to say, Watch Dogs Legion has nailed the London look. Yes, it’s a bit too Dick van Dyke with its cockerney accents. Yes, its treatment of our current political binfire feels like fortuitous window-dressing. But this may be the best version of London ever put in a game, and its addition of things like a protest camp in the middle of a graffitied Trafalgar Square seem eerily prescient.
What doesn’t work so well in the demo, for me, is everything else. Watch Dogs Legion’s bold claim of being able to play as anybody in London is not an exaggeration, but I left my hands-on session still wondering why you would want to do so, and what benefits it would actually add to the overall experience. This system, going by what was on offer at E3, is designed to offer procedurally-generated busywork to churn through before you can get to the game itself. Oh, and being the granny? So slow. So slow.