ABOVE: Watch Dogs Legion hands-on gameplay, also on YouTube
I'm about thirty minutes into my Watch Dogs Legion play session when something unfortunate happens. While I'm en route to a mission—and driving quite carefully, I might add—a pedestrian abruptly darts right out in front of my car.
I hit the brakes but there's a thud and the person is sent sprawling onto the pavement. I quickly hop out to see if he's okay. He's not. He's injured and needs hospitalization.
I've just made an enemy.
First things first—was that really my fault? I mean, he ran right out in front of my car, and I wasn't even driving on the American side of the road like I usually am. I feel like if any of the thousands of CCTV cameras in London picked that up, I'd have a solid case in court.
My real mistake, as it turns out, is stopping to see if he's okay. This man's name is Yong Liu, and now he absolutely hates me. And that could be a real problem.
In Watch Dogs Legion, every citizen of London has an opinion of the hacker resistance group, DedSec. Many of them have a negative opinion. Hurting someone, like I did, can lower their opinion even more. And that opinion can get so low it turns into outright hated. In Legion you can recruit any citizen in London to your DedSec team, unless they truly hate you. But we'll get back to Yong Liu in a minute.
You already have plenty of enemies in London. Albion, the evil private military firm, has taken over the city, and they definitely don't like you. But you can still recruit their members, it just requires raising their opinion of DedSec by helping them out.
Early in my session I come across an Albion member named Harold Lin, and decide to see how hard it is to win him over to my side. It turns out to be quite an endeavor. First, I have to dig into his life by using whatever data about him is available. I discover there's another guy working for Albion that Harold has a rivalry with, so I have to track this guy down and hack his phone, then extract all his dirty emails. Messing with Harold's foe means Harold will like me a little bit more.
Then I need to get in touch with one of Harold's friends, who tells me he's been captured by some gangsters he owes a gambling debt to. So, I have to bust into their hideout, take out a few guards and a couple drones, and rescue Harold. And I'm still not done. I now have to help Harold upload a virus so he can siphon money from the gang (this is what he was trying to do when he was captured), which requires sneaking onto a construction site and hacking a gangster's phone to install the malware. That's a lot of work to make a new friend, but Harold is really useful. Once he's on my team, his uniform lets me access Albion-controlled areas, which I do to rescue a resistance member who's been arrested.
There are some easier ways to make temporary allies, though. I recruit a stage magician I met on the street—yes, a magician, very inconspicuous—and she's able to hypnotize enemies to turn on each other. Well, sort of. I try it out on some Albion members, and one starts beating up the other one. Perfect! But then I try it on another Albion guy and he just drags some random lady out of a van and starts punching her. Hypnotism is not an exact science, I guess.
I also have a protestor on my team, armed with a megaphone that can rally strangers to fight for him. I punch an Albion guard, then start inspiring some pedestrians by screaming into my megaphone. The guard kicks me, but my suddenly loyal army of temporary friends begin pummeling him unconscious. It's pretty effective!
And there's another way to gain an ally: I can instantly recruit an MI6 spy to my team by using a remote controlled spiderbot to climb to the top of Big Ben.
Does that sentence sound ridiculous? Well, you should see the inside of Big Ben. It's basically like a level of Fall Guys in there.
Platforming my spiderbot to the top of Big Ben takes long minutes of scurrying, hopping, dodging through gears, and trying not to get knocked off. The ultimate goal is to activate the clock, which hasn't chimed in Westminster since Albion shut it down.
The chiming, I'm told, is incredibly inspiring, and that convinces an M16 spy to join DedSec. She has a spy car that can turn invisible and shoots rockets, so I'm not gonna argue with the logic.
Enough about friends, let's get back to my enemy: Yong, the guy I hit with my car. So, a random citizen hates me and I can't recruit them to my team. There's thousands of other people in London, and I've already recruited a bunch of them, so who cares about this one guy?
Thing is, if someone hates DedSec enough, they may actually quit their jobs and join Albion just to spite you. They may even abduct one of your team members in retaliation. Plus, they'll blab to everyone they know about how much you suck.
I just can't have someone out in the world hating my guts and making other people dislike me, too, so I examine Yong's info and schedule, and track down his therapist and his grandmother. Sure enough, they both have negative opinions of DedSec because Yong told them I hit him with my car. I eventually do recruit his grandmother to DedSec, and while he's polite to me when I walk up to him on the street playing his granny, that doesn't change his opinion of DedSec. His hate burns everlasting.
You should know that not everyone you injure will hate you. I drove through the streets of London, blowing things up with my rocket-launching spy car and probably caused a lot of injuries along the way. But most of the people I terrorized were randomly spawned, and once I'd sped away they despawned, along with their memories of what I'd done.
But if you pull over, like I did with Yong, and add the injured person to your database, they'll remain persistent in your game. And if they hate you, they might just keep on hating you. Forever. So, drive carefully. And, if you do hit someone, don't stop.