REVIEW: Watch Dogs Legion: Daybreak Legacy

Watch Dogs: Legion was a video game with a fantastic premise that was undermined by poor systems handling. The post-Brexit London turned to a fascist dystopia by a false flag operation arranged by unknown forces was basically V: For Vendetta crossed with Cyberpunk.

Watch Dogs Legion: Daybreak LegacyThere are a lot worse combinations you can turn to in order to have an interesting video game premise. Unfortunately, the lack of a concretely written protagonist crippled the storytelling potential of the game as since you could be anyone in the game, you ended up being no one.

Watch Dogs: Legion: Bloodlines went a long way to correcting the flaws of the game and I frankly don’t recommend playing the game without this DLC. It provides Aiden Pearce and Wrench as protagonists who, while not substantially different from the randomly generated characters, have a prequel introduction to the game world that gives it enough emotional weight  to be enjoyed. Plus, both of them are badass enough that you can alternate between them to enjoy the whole game.

Daybreak Legacy is an epilogue novel to the video games and follows up the events about six months into the future. Video game fiction rarely pays attention to narrative like this and I appreciated this aversion. However, video game literature is rarely high art and I was skeptical this could be an interesting example of the cyberpunk genre.

Surprisingly, the book proves to be much better than I expected. The premise is that the Albion PMC has been driven from London and the country is slowly returning to “normal” but an accent on the slowly. The chaos of losing their dictatorship has attracted all sorts of looters, bad faith actors, and profiteer to the city that Deadsec is unable to deal with due to their own need to look after themselves.

The book proceeds to raise the possibility that Skye Larsen, a tech billionaire pursuing immortality, has survived the events of the game and become an AI menacing the city. It actually becomes a much more complicated story with questions of AI, ethics, transhumanism, and questions of how to resist fascism in the real world.

The book doesn’t have Aiden Pearce or Wrench or any other recognizable characters in its pages. They aren’t even mentioned. However, the events of the main game are referenced several times with statements this branch of DeadSec isn’t familiar with all the others. Indeed, these characters are actually the protagonists of the previous book, Zero Day, so you might want to read that. Unfortunately, that wasn’t that great of a book to begin with.

Really, the best part of Daybreak Zero is the fact that it does tackle a lot of interesting transhumanist questions and ideas. It also stars characters of color and deals with some of the issues that Watch Dogs: Legion danced around but didn’t directly choose to talk about like race as well as class in the United Kingdom.

If you really liked the main game, I think this is worth pursuing but if you didn’t then this isn’t something to check out. Still, it’s pretty good low-key cyberpunk fiction and I enjoyed the choice to use words over violence for the most part.

Read Watch Dogs Legion: Daybreak Legacy

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CT Phipps

CT Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He's the author of Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, Straight Outta Fangton, and The Supervillainy Saga. He is also a frequent contributor to Grimdark Magazine.