For many, Watch Dogs: Legion seemed to land somewhere in the middle in terms of ‘goodness’ between the first and second game. A decent, but flawed, open world romp through post-Brexit London, it brought some highly original ideas to the table, but not all of them worked. Watch Dogs: Legion – Bloodline removes the most promising idea from the original game, that of the ability to recruit and play as anyone in the world, and adds in returning characters to expand on the Watch Dogs lore quite substantially. And in doing so, reminds players that Watch Dogs can still compete with other juggernaut open world series.
Bloodline brings back two highly polarising characters; Aiden Pearce from the original Watch Dogs and Wrench from Watch Dogs 2. Love them or loathe them, Bloodline offers a better insight to their psyches than previously seen, breathing new life into them and offering different angles to their personalities following their exploits from their respective games.
For those that didn’t manage to finish the slog of the main game though, fear not! Bloodline is a prequel to the main events that features a few cameos from the main cast but is largely found featuring a new antagonist.
That antagonist is Thomas Rempart, yet another sociopathic CEO in Watch Dogs who stole an idea from Wrench that involved creating combative robots that, long-term, would house human minds when they worked together. In response, Wrench travels to London and attempts to steal some tech from Rempart known as the BrocaBridge.
But what about Aiden? He receives a call from old friend Jordi Chin informing him of a job in London, which just so happens to be where Aiden’s nephew Jackson is now residing. He takes the job in the hopes of rekindling his relationship with Jackson. The job, however, is to steal the same BrocaBridge that Wrench is already after.
Bloodline allows players to play as both Aiden and Wrench throughout its roughly seven hour story, and by re-introducing these characters, there is a much bigger emotional connection between them and the player than was ever felt with the recruited characters in the main game. They were essentially just randomised stat rolls in the form of a playable character, but in Bloodline there once again feels like there is weight to your actions.
Bloodline also doubles down on some of the design choices from the previous titles. In the original Watch Dogs, Aiden could go around killing with reckless abandon, which in turn was toned down for Watch Dogs 2. In Bloodline, things revert back more to the first game and is a bit more action-oriented again. There are choke points to survive and certain sections require all enemies to be defeated. Aiden’s penchant for violence is referenced on more than a few occasions, almost like Ubisoft are accepting of their design choices in the first title. In fairness, those that did play through the first game will get the most out of this DLC, with numerous callbacks to past events.
Both Aiden and Wrench have unique perks: Aiden has essentially an Active Reload from Gears of War perk and a very powerful hand cannon, whilst Wrench has a drone that can lob grenades out. Unfortunately, they cannot be freely switched in and out until after the completion of Bloodline – and even then they have their own set of unique side quests.
These side quests are very much the meat and potatoes of Watch Dogs and are how you will unlock many of the same upgrades that you unlocked in the main game. Get in, stealth about/use your Spiderbot and find whatever information you need to find.
These pale in comparison with one of the latter story missions though. It is the most low key, yet one of the best missions in any Watch Dogs game: Bury Your Dead.
What starts out as a little reminder to the Coming Home mission in the main game where you infiltrate Skye Larsen’s secret cottage quickly develops into something more sinister. Watch Dogs goes survival horror as you enter a recreation of Jackson’s family home as a kid. Only things aren’t what they seem as doors lead to unusual places. It feels like the Scarecrow sequences in Batman: Arkham Asylum mixed with P.T. Unnerving, surreal and a little bit scary. If the next Watch Dogs game doubles down on this mood it will be finally finding its stride.
Watch Dogs: Legion – Bloodline is easily better than the main game. Removing recruitable NPCs in favour of established characters means every interaction is more meaningful, both between characters and with the player themselves. The missions are a bit more varied than the main game and Bury Your Dead is one of the best moments in the entire franchise.
Return to London in Watch Dogs: Legion – Bloodline for £11.99, available on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One