Watch Dogs Legion’s first DLC brings back old characters in a shorter and better adventure than the main game.
I was a big fan of Watch Dogs 2 and even a bit of Watch Dogs 1 defender. But I was so disappointed by Legion, the third game in the franchise released last year. It looked nice and had some cool ideas, letting you recruit any NPC you saw walking around on the street. But it was plagued with bugs and even when it worked it often felt empty and soulless, with a narrative that left me bored most of the time. So I wasn’t expecting much from its first DLC, Bloodline, released earlier this month. But surprisingly, this new expansion fixes a lot of what Legion got wrong and ends up being a much, much better game as a result.
Watch Dogs Legion: Bloodline, clunky name and all, is set in the same London map as the main game. However, the DLC takes place shortly before the main events found in Legion. You probably don’t care about that, but just wanted to mention it. This time around, unlike in Legion, you take on the role of single character, Aiden Pearce. He was the main character seen in the original Watch Dogs. He’s older and somehow even gruffer than before. He accepts a job in London because his nephew, Jackson, lives in the city and he can’t get over what happened to Jackson’s sister. (Spoilers: Someone trying to kill Aiden ended up killing the little girl, leaving Aiden a sad and broken man who shoots a lot of people in Chicago.)
Because Bloodline ditches all the NPC recruitment found in the main game, the story in the DLC is actually interesting enough to care about. It’s not incredible or anything, but it’s wild how much more engaged I was playing Bloodline simply because characters were acknowledging things and growing and changing over the course of the campaign.
Before, because you could play any mission as any number of recruited people, Watch Dogs Legion had to write all of the dialogue and the overall story very vaguely. Characters couldn’t say things like “Wow, remember that time I did that thing with you and you got mad and I then did this other thing and made you happy again?” because there was no guarantee the character you currently were playing as had done anything before this. So as result, there was no fun over-the-radio banter or character arcs in Legion, unless you count the annoying robot talking to you all the time. (God, I don’t count that arsehole.)
But in Bloodline, the game and its writers can focus on Aiden, who he is, and how he has changed and continues to grow. Aiden is still not much of a character, mostly an angry dude in a trench coat, but that’s better than before. And thankfully, Aiden isn’t alone in London. Wrench from Watch Dogs 2 plays a big part in this new DLC and he’s great. The way Bloodline balances Wrench’s annoying traits with his emotional moments is solid stuff and much better than any of the generic conversations my NPCs in Legion ever had.
Bloodline also brings back more classic-like side missions, which slowly build into their own storylines that often have satisfying ends. These missions often feature hacking and combat, which is fine because Aiden is a very powerful character in Bloodline, able to even shut down and massively hack all electronics around him with a simple button press. (Reminiscent of how you could shut down all of Chicago in Watch Dogs.)
And, not to sound like a broken record, but being able to know who is actually doing these side quests allows the writers to create more enjoyable moments through dialogue. Aiden is a bit of a grump, team him up with a fun and young rebel. Again, nothing revolutionary here, but it’s such an improvement over Legion that I got more disappointed with that game as I finished the seven-hour or so Bloodline campaign.
I hope we get another Watch Dogs game, because this DLC proves that the franchise still has so much more life in it and that Legion, while an impressive experiment, was a mistake that Ubisoft seems willing to acknowledge. If you are a fan of the previous games and want to know what happened to characters from those past titles, Bloodline is also a nice bit of fan service too.
And you barely have to talk to an annoying British robot via radio. That alone is maybe the best part of Bloodline.