Watch Dogs: Legion, the latest title in Ubisoft's hacktivist video game franchise, is as innovative and creative as you want it to be. You can use the full extent of your weapons, gadgets, drones, and hacking skills to turn London's streets into your personal, interactive playground. Or, you can rely on a handful of powerful—perhaps overpowered—tools to blitz the game. At first, I attempted the former option, but as I continued playing, I leaned more heavily towards the latter. The most powerful tools, it turns out, are also the ones that are fun to use.

The dystopian premise of this game is that a massive London terrorist attack has resulted in Albion, a private military company, locking down the streets and subjecting the citizenry to authoritarian rule. Police brutality abounds. (You can intervene, at your own peril.) Heavily armed foot soldiers patrol every corner. Drones enforce a surveillance state, and most mundane tasks, like auto travel and retail, are now automated. Accordingly, there is unemployment, homelessness, and crime, which has given Albion even greater leeway to maintain "law and order" at any cost.

You, the player, are DedSec, a hacktivist group that was falsely blamed for the initial terrorist attack, and aims to clear its tarnished name and free London from Albion. Outside of a disembodied AI voice named "Bagley," who instructs you in your mission and processes the data you steal, Watch Dogs: Legion has no central protagonist. Instead, you are tasked with recruiting your player characters from London's general population. Every NPC in the game—even the cops and stormtroopers that try to kill you—can be recruited to your collective effort with enough persuasion.

At any point, you can scan a passerby with your phone, which will pull up a thorough history of the person's employment, opinion of DedSec, family relations, and any recent run-ins with the law. The person's profile may also highlight a number of unique perks. For example, a person with a 6G phone plan may have faster hacking/download times. A fitness trainer might have more resilience or more powerful punches. On the other hand, an older person might not be able to sprint, or a famous person might attract unwanted attention on a public street. A player can choose to work with competent professionals or struggle with a ragtag band of misfits. You can also turn on Permadeath; if a recruit dies, he stays dead. Lose all of your recruits, and the game is over.