Watch Dogs Legion Accessibility
Watch Dogs Legion is an incredibly accessible game, especially for physically disabled players. But remapping comes with a discoverability issue and isn't entirely clear.
Score8.5 out of 10
Update: Since publishing this review, a Ubisoft representative reached out regarding the ESC button key binding issue I came across. It turns out the ESC button can be assigned to your preferences. This has seen the score for Remappable Controls bumped up to a 10 because everything can be assigned.
However, this brings to light the issue of discoverability. In the ‘Customize Controls’ area, I spent around 30 minutes in the 9 different sub-areas for reminding, with no way to search for specific inputs I wanted to rebind. The original review continues below under the image of the controls area.
I’ve always wanted to take a trip to London. For years, I’ve dreamt of seeing historic sites, museums, and cheeky old women who continuously tell me to “piss off.” In a post-Corona society, traveling is particularly difficult. Thankfully, Ubisoft quelled my wanderlust through Watch Dogs Legion. While I thoroughly enjoyed perusing the streets of London, instigating a social revolution and causing controlled chaos on every corner, the overabundance of keyboard keys and game mechanics left me feeling more exhausted than the local tavern drunk.
Developed by Ubisoft Toronto, Watch Dogs Legion tasks players with freeing London from the clutches of Albion, a military company hired by the government to maintain order after a deadly bombing incident. Unlike previous entries, Legion does not feature a centralized character. Rather, individuals are encouraged to recruit anyone, and I literally mean anyone, to defeat Albion.
Whether hacking street barricades as a postal worker or engaging in gunfights as an assumingly innocent grandmother, Watch Dogs Legion expertly invokes the notion that superpowers do not make someone a hero. While many interactions were comical, such as bludgeoning enemies as an elderly woman, I found myself enjoying the game more as a nameless protagonist. With Legion, the hero was uniquely mine.
To ensure that the resistance can function, Legion provides physically disabled individuals with a plethora of incredible accessibility options, beginning with the ubiquitous ability to customize controls. For an open-world title, being able to change key bindings is crucial. However, Watch Dogs Legion does not allow players to change the function of the ‘Escape’ key. In most games, this wouldn’t pose too much of an issue.
Unfortunately for Legion, the ‘Escape’ key is integral, enabling individuals to exit hacked pieces of equipment. For a game that can occasionally overemphasize hacking, needing to continuously press an awkwardly placed key drained my strength. Rather than enjoy one of the main selling points of the series, I often found myself avoiding the feature unless necessary.
Thankfully, Legion alleviates some of the physical strain through the capability to toggle numerous actions. Melee combat, climbing, aiming, hacking and even bringing up a weapon wheel can be completed without needing to hold the specific key. The world of Legion is by no means small and having accessibility features that conserve precious levels of limited strength are incredibly beneficial for extensive play sessions.
Unfortunately, the amount of accessibility options does little to provide enough relief to play without assistance or exhaustion. Regardless of whether you spend your time exploring the city, recruiting new agents, or completing missions, you will eventually be required to hack. Each start of my playthrough left me dreading my first hack. Even the open world, a genre which I am already hesitant to suggest for physically disabled players, featured amazing auto-path and fast travel systems.
Therein lies the catalyst for my frustration with Legion. This title includes numerous accessibility options that will surely benefit a bevy of physically disabled players. In fact, Legion is one of the most accessible titles I’ve played in months, EXCEPT for the inability to rebind the ‘Escape’ key. With such a reliance on hacking, it’s incredibly baffling as to why disabled players cannot change one of the most important buttons. This issue may be different for controllers, but for PC players like myself, it proves to be such an egregious barrier that almost prevents me from recommending this game.
I want to enjoy Watch Dogs Legion. I want to build my own resistance of comical and badass characters. I want to peruse throughout London, updating my virtual passport with yet another location. However, unless this issue is addressed, the streets of London will remain under Albion rule.
A review copy of Watch Dogs Legion was provided by the developer / publisher.