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Watch Dogs: Legion permadeath guide

Should you play with the setting turned on? (Yes.)

Watch Dogs: Legion guide: Permadeath Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft via Polygon
Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

In this Watch Dogs: Legion guide, we’ll explain the permadeath setting, what it means, and why you should play with it on.

Permadeath in Watch Dogs: Legion

One of the first choices you’ll make while starting a new game of Watch Dogs: Legion is whether to play with permadeath set to on or off.

Permadeath means that when one of your operatives — the randomly generated and recruited people you play as — takes enough lethal damage, they’ll die, and dead people are no longer playable (because they are dead). Lethal damage includes things like getting shot, or falling off of buildings (as opposed to getting punched or arrested).

You’ll turn this setting on or off when you start the game, and you can change it in the Options > Gameplay menu. Once it’s turned on, though, you can only turn it off permanently (for a given playthrough). That just means you can’t toggle back and forth for difficult sections of the game.

The case for turning on permadeath

Watch Dogs: Legion has no main character. Everyone in London is a potential recruit, and your team of DedSec Operatives can have as many as 45 members.

Recruiting operatives (with new and useful abilities) to your team is a big part of Watch Dogs: Legion, and you’ll be swapping between operatives a lot. Each one comes with a specific set of skills that you’ll use for specific objectives. You can use anyone for anything, but matching abilities with your immediate needs — sending an Albion employee to an Albion-controlled area, for example — makes completing missions much easier.

It all makes Watch Dogs: Legion oddly low stakes. You’ll be using (disposable) drones and Spiderbots to do a lot of the work, too. You’ll have people with Uniform Access to Restricted Areas who can walk straight through the front door. You’ll even be able to complete (some) missions just by hijacking security cameras, never even setting foot inside a building.

Permadeath raises the stakes a little. It makes your actions carry a little more weight. You’ll rethink barging into a Clan Kelley hideout with guns blazing, if you know that your operative can die.

Permadeath just makes the gameplay feel like it matches the seriousness of the story a little better.