Watch Dogs Legion Bloodline Expansion Review – Back To Basics
Watch Dogs: Legion introduced a big change for Ubisoft’s open-world game about hackers and resistance fighters by making you pick who your main character is by literally scouring the streets, turning a non-player character into a player character.
But what if, you just don’t want to be bothered with all that? What if there’s a more traditional Watch Dogs experience with characters you’ve invested in from past games?
Watch Dogs Legion Bloodline is an expansion for the game that does just that. It brings back two familiar faces from the series’ past, ditches all the “play as anyone” gimmick for a more straightforward open-world romp.
Is it any good? You will get one answer down the line of this review, but the more important question is, do we really want to go back to basics?
Who Let The Watch Dogs Out
Watch Dogs Legion Bloodline is essentially a whole new campaign, starring Watch Dogs’ Aiden Pierce who still is a murdering pragmatist though much older than ever and Watch Dogs 2’s loveable weeb and shitposter Wrench.
Unlike the base game, you’re not recruiting people off the streets if London- you either play as Aiden or Wrench. You won’t be profiling people of the streets to see their stats for recruitment, you’ll only just see the usual one flavour text, occupation and salary, just like the good old games.
Bloodline is set after the bombings that set off the base game’s events, but before DeadSec London is reborn.
Aiden finds himself roped into a gig in London after travelling the world as a vigilante for so long. What seems to be a simple gig had a wrench thrown in the plans, and now Aiden has to deal with a megalomaniac tech bro in the form of Thomas Rempart.
Also, Aiden gets to see his nephew, now all grown up and relocated in the UK. That’s the brother to Aiden’s passed niece that kickstarted the original game’s story.
For those who grown to love these characters, Bloodline is filled with nice character moments and development. Seeing Aiden as a grumpy old uncle that estranged his family is interesting, but it’s more so when characters call out how an awful person he can be at times. The game definitely addresses his sociopathic tendencies, and how he is oddly treated as this shining hero among the hacker resistance.
I personally would’ve preferred to see Watch Dogs 2’s Marcus (but don’t worry, the devs don’t just completely forget about him). I miss that he can put on headphones and listen to music at any time.
That said, Wrench is just as goofy as you might remember, with more layers of his character revealed here. He makes a good foil against Aiden’s no-nonsense personality, as the paths of these two hackers collide in this story.
It’s a story worth seeing to the end. And expect another wild walking sim moment similar to what happened in Legion’s main campaign. I’m not saying anything, you just have to experience it.
Aiden and Wrench are both sufficiently fleshed out in character. You’ll see how these two old uncles get a grip of life now that they’re only loosely associated with DeadSec.
Snap Back To Reality
Now, putting away the fan service and story beats aside, Bloodline plays like a regular game of Watch Dogs. Not Legion. But Watch Dogs 1 snd 2.
Without the appeal of messing with the NPC system, no side activities outside of side missions that sort of plays like a story mission (just not on the critical path), London feels emptier.
The only side activity you can really do is stop by shops and have Aiden ditch his iconic hat and trenchcoat for a completely new look. Unless you count collecting collectables hoping that it’s Wrench’s collection of memes as a side activity.
When you play as Aiden, you just go to the mission handler, see a cutscene, go to the objective, do the objective, rinse, repeat.
To be fair, that is open-world games, in a nutshell, these days. But by removing the gimmicks that make Legion stands out in the first place, I find the game snapping back to its generic reality.
Interestingly, when you take control of Wrench, the missions don’t waste time with a starting cutscene you have to go and watch. Select the mission and your contact immediately briefs you on what to do and head straight there, like Watch Dogs 2 does it, interestingly enough.
The all too familiar gameplay exposes how off the driving and shooting can be at times. In the base game, I find it tolerable because it’s not that in-focus as much. But since driving and shooting is mostly what you do in the expansion, combat is much more prominent than the base game, the main mechanics here just reminds me that it’s a lesser GTA.
At least playing the game stealthily and exploiting the enemy AI’s shortsightedness by remote controlling cars to hit them is still fun.
There are attempts in introducing new kinds of objectives not seen in the base game to spice things up. You’re not just infiltrating/clearing out restricted areas all the time. Which are nice additions, but nothing game-changing.
The Fox And The Wrench
Bloodline will see you play as Aiden for the most part before switching to Wrench. And the expansion as a result feels more combat-oriented.
There’s a new enemy type in the expansion, these killer robots that are bullet sponges of death. They are impervious to damage but each shot will make them hotter. Once overheated, a weak point is revealed, directly at their back.
These robots are a pain to fight, and I find that there are not enough ways to avoid direct engagement against them. Going for their weak point will usually mean going out of cover and getting swarmed by other enemies. Not focusing on these robots will have you eat a barrage of bullets as you try to whittle down the other enemies, which also might not end up well. Not damaging the weak point means the robot will recover, and then keep on hammering you with bullets until you waste more bullets on them to send them overheating again.
It’s just awful to fight against, especially when they are more than one of them, with an infinite respawn of human guards backing them up.
Thankfully Aiden is well known for his penchant for murder, and as such his kit adds abilities like… an active reload system and.. a slowmo that triggers during a takedown animation. He can kill enemies faster, essentially.
Meanwhile, Wrench has more utility with the ability to throw smoke bombs that also triggers random hacking effects in its radius and access to a bunch of non-lethal weapons (that’s good at overheating the pesky robots). Each of them is fondly named, like the light machine gun “Shredder-Senpai”.
Since you’re playing as these two hero characters instead of some random Londoner that gets picked from the streets, the kit for both characters is pretty overpowered. Both characters have access to a spiderbot that can transform into a drone, alongside the many different weapons exclusive to each character.
Other upgrades that would have been unlocked from a tech tree in the base game are unlocked by completing side missions.
If you’re playing online, Aiden and Wrench can be playable operatives if you own this expansion. So that’s another incentive to own Bloodline.
Overall, I feel Watch Dogs Legion Bloodline is an appropriately optional experience. It’s for the long-time die-hard fans of the series, and if you fall into that camp you will get more value out of this experience. It’s a 10-hour romp in the familiar streets of near-future dystopia London in a gameplay format you know and love.
RM45 for just the expansion (or RM95 for full the season pass) seems justifiable with what’s on offer here.
But Bloodline also completely moved away from what makes Watch Dogs Legion a standout game (for me) by not making use of the NPC recruiting system in any way. Without the big gimmick, all of the fundamentals of Watch Dogs Legion gameplay is now held under more scrutiny. As a result, it feels even more like your bog-standard open-world game.
Bloodline goes back to basics to present a neat detour for Watch Dogs Legion. It’s a great celebration of the series’ past heroes. I just hope it remains a detour.
Our original review of Watch Dogs Legion can be found here
Played on the PS4. Review code provided by the publisher