Watch Dogs Legion – The Assassin's Creed Crossover
Review and Summary
Written by Sorrosyss, August 25th, 2021

Note: Some story spoilers for Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin's Creed Syndicate

For those unaware, Watch Dogs is a separate open world gaming franchise that, like Assassin’s Creed, is produced by Ubisoft. The most recent game, Watch Dogs Legion, released in late 2020, features a near future depiction of London where the hacker group Dedsec aims to overthrow oppressive forces that plague the city. Like most major games these days, the release also offers a Season Pass that contains a series of post launch downloadable content (DLC). What is of particular interest to us though of course is the Assassin's Creed Crossover event that recently launched on August 24th 2021 with title update 5.5.

Within the events of the crossover we are introduced to Darcy Clarkson, a Modern Day Assassin and member of the British Brotherhood. It is revealed that she is also a direct descendant to the Frye twins from Assassin's Creed Syndicate – Evie and Jacob. In search of her missing brother Lucas, Darcy ends up in direct confrontation with the localised Templars who, as is often the case, have full control of the city of London. With her brother seeking out a hidden ancient tomb within the city, it once more becomes a race against time between the two age old enemies of the Assassins and Templars to locate it.

By playing through her story missions, you unlock Darcy as an operative for full use within the rest of the game. Even though she is a pretty skilled hand-to-hand fighter, she comes with a few unique spins to her inventory that make her a very effective stealth character too. For example, instead of the traditional bird companions that we are used to seeing in recent Assassin's Creed games, she actually has literal “Eagle Drones” which can be used to scout enemy territory. Naturally she also has her Hidden Blade, which can be used to perform takedown assassinations on enemies in some wonderfully choreographed finisher animations. In lieu of traditional firearms she also has a single shot Hidden Gun, which spring loads to her palm from the sleeves of her outfit, as was the case for Altaïr’s and Ezio’s Hidden Guns in the distant past. As a further nod to previous Assassin's Creed games, it can also be used to fire darts at enemies, invoking the berserk status to turn enemies against each other. Finally, her outfit is also able to produce an AR Disguise, which essentially uses Augmented Reality to alter her appearance to a guard in order to quite literally “hide in plain sight”.

Separately to the main narrative, there are also six side missions that can be played through, here termed as “Assassin Contracts”. These contracts are ideally suited to Darcy's skill set, as they mostly involve extensive stealth to complete in an efficient manner. I thought it was a lovely touch that you essentially find these upon your map by synchronising the Dedsec AI (Bagley) atop high buildings. The AC franchise nods don't stop there though, as you are treated to a variety of ambient tracks from previous games which include Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Unity, and Odyssey to name but a few. Completing the contracts provides you with more audio files related to Darcy, as well as finding some Templar and Assassin items that have some novel easter eggs amongst them. Finally, completing all of the contracts grants you the Desmond Miles outfit, which was a nice love letter to all the long-time fans who once called out for him to get a full Modern Day based game - which he of course sadly never got to realise.

The crossover really is filled with lots of interesting slants and references (including a confession room!) that make this an event one that I feel most AC fans will certainly enjoy. From a personal perspective I have wanted a futuristic setting for literally years, so seeing this crossover become reality has been a joy. For those of us who also wanted to be able to play a Modern Day set game as an Assassin, this content actually gives you that option too as once you have Darcy you can play the entirety of the main Watch Dogs Legion game as her. It all honestly works well, and if Ubisoft ever decides to do a spin off title from the main series, I would certainly love to see the Watch Dogs teams have a proper crack at it. With the recent resurgence in the Cyberpunk genre (not least the recent same monikered game) in popular culture, seeing the Assassin–Templar war play out amidst a backdrop of society grappling with transhumanism feels like a natural progression to that age old conflict. Perhaps some day!

Now to the bittersweet part of this review though. The crossover is very sadly considered non-canon. It is frustrating on so many levels. For example, after the fairly recent AC Sisterhood social media movement tried to encourage Ubisoft to focus on more female Assassins, it was comforting to find a woman of color picking up the lead for this crossover. It therefore almost feels a disservice to all the hard work that went into the character and her design to not at least give her that level of recognition. It hasn't escaped the attention of most fans either surrounding the irony that the Watch Dogs crossover contains substantially more traditional Assassin's Creed content than we've seen from the original franchise in the majority of the last decade. If you ignore Layla and Basim (as they are very specific cases), Darcy represents the first fully trained playable Assassin protagonist since the Frye twins in 2015's Assassin's Creed Syndicate. That is sadly pretty telling for where we currently are with the main franchise itself.

Ubisoft's formal stance has been that maintaining canon across multiple franchises would be too much of a challenge. Honestly, on face value there is little in this crossover that could actually prevent it becoming formal canon, and even if there was it could easily be resolved with some creative writing if needed. This topic has been a constant bugbear for many fans alas, including myself, that have witnessed frequent teases between Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed in the past (most famously from Aiden Pearce killing Oliver Garneau) but never actually formalising it to a shared canon. There is a lot of untapped potential in expanding the so-called “Ubiverse”, as cameos and crossovers between franchises are often enormously popular in fanbases, and help cross pollinate IPs to greater heights. You only need look at the likes of Marvel to see how successful those entertainment models can truly be.

All in all, I really enjoyed my time with the Watch Dogs crossover. For a fun experiment, it has exactly what fans want to see, an Assassin versus Templar conflict underpinned by the Isu mystery, alongside a fully functioning and enjoyable stealth system. It only stretches for a few hours of play time, but I could definitely recommend it for fans who might not have previously tried the Watch Dogs game, or are simply looking to extend their AC experience to the Modern Day. I would really like for this concept to be explored further into the future, and urge Ubisoft to consider doing so as the interest and discussion throughout the community that this crossover has generated was really lovely to see.

Watch Dogs Legion and it's Season Pass is available at all good physical and digital stockists. The game can be played on Playstation, Xbox and PC formats.


London, UK – circa 2029

The hacker group Dedsec are alerted to a strange message from a highly bespoke drone that flies above the city. As one of their team decodes this directly from the drone, they uncover a hidden war between the Assassins and Templars.
A meeting is arranged with Darcy Clarkson, an Assassin who reveals that their order dwindles in numbers and has been forced out of London for years by the oppressive Templars. She seeks her brother and fellow Assassin Lucas, but has learned that whilst investigating the local Templars he was unfortunately captured by their leader Graham Westerly. Dedsec offer their assistance, and go to Kennington Police Station to see what information they can find on file for her brother. A recording is found that shows Westerly interrogating and ultimately executing Lucas, after he has revealed the location of the “Tomb of Assassins”.

With the new found knowledge of the Tomb's location below the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the Dedsec team help clear the area of guards from the local private militia group known as Albion. Darcy is therefore able to gain access to the ancient tomb entrance, and is confronted by multiple statues of former Assassins such as her direct ancestors Evie and Jacob Frye, as well as Edward Kenway and Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad. Confronted by a puzzle involving Isu script, she is able to open the door to a hidden Isu vault. Within she finds a modified Assassin outfit that appears to be originally created by the Isu. The outfit allows her to change her appearance via augmented reality, which is useful as at this moment the Templars also breach the tomb. Disguised as a guard, she makes her way through to locate Graham Westerly and assassinate him, avenging her brother's death.

After a bespoke Assassin patch to the software of the city's personal Optik devices, this allows the Dedsec AI known as Bagley to “synchronise” and locate Templar locations of interest, allowing Darcy and Dedsec to eliminate some of their more immediate threats from that order. These locations offer several Templar and Assassin items, including the likes of Evie Frye's Cane Sword and Jacob Frye's Hidden Blade gauntlet. After realising that she can still take the fight to the Templars, Darcy decides that she needs to help forge a new Brotherhood to rid London of its oppression and elects to join up with Dedsec in their campaign for a new future for the city.

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