Aiden Pearce is back, thanks to Watch Dogs Legion‘s new expansion.
Watch Dogs Legion: Bloodline adds a standalone story arc to Watch Dogs Legion; one in which you’ll once again find yourself wandering the streets of London, one of the most impressive videogame recreations of a real city we’ve ever seen. It’s set a short time before the events of the main game unfold; immediately following a series of bombings in the city, Aiden Pearce jumps on a plane from Chicago to go find his nephew Jackson, now living in central London.
Aiden isn’t quite the man you remember him to be; it’s been fifteen years since the events of the first Watch Dogs game, which saw Pearce as the lead protagonist. He’s a little gruffer, more beardy; a bit rougher around the edges. And without his Iconic Aiden Pearce Jacket and Iconic Aiden Pearce Cap, it’s hard to recognise him.
Thankfully, he isn’t without his Iconic gear for long; his nephew has been storing them for him, for some reason. And once he’s back in his all-too-familiar get-up, it’s easier to see this chap as the Aiden Pearce we all know and
Pearce was heavily criticised for being a boring, unlikeable character – but I always enjoyed his no-shits-given attitude. He’s more-or-less the same here; forget no-kill violence when you’re in control of Aiden Pearce – he’s all about sending his opponents to an early grave. Equipped with his trusty whacking stick, melee combat is more enjoyable than ever in Watch Dogs Legion, and gunplay is a lot of fun too. As a tooltip pops up to tell you, Aiden’s expertise makes shooting enemies extra easy; reload your pistol at the right time, and he’ll fire a charged-up shot, doing extra damage. Forget stealth, it’s too much fun taking those Albion and Broca cronies out in all-out warfare.
Of course, a story lies at the heart of Bloodline, and I’ll spare you the details as that’s for you to find out when you play it. It’s decent enough, but there are no edge-of-your-seat moments here. It’s very ho-hum, and the main missions will simply have you travelling from one location to the next, either sneaking in somewhere or fighting your way through. There’s a nice surprise for Watch Dogs 2 fans though: masked hacker Wrench makes an appearance, and for a portion of the expansion, you’ll take control of him. Wrench of course has a different set of tools at his disposal than Aiden, so you’ll have new guns to play with, and a new melee weapon to thwack your foes with.
There’s one stand-out section of Watch Dogs Legion: Bloodline, however. Remember Skye Larson, founder of Broca Tech, from the main campaign? She’s big into AI, and if you’ve played though Legion‘s story you’ll have explored the digital recreation of her childhood home. She makes an appearance here and, with her help, Aiden’s nephew Jackson gets to revisit his childhood home. It’s not all as it seems, though; corridors twist into other corridors, and doors don’t lead where they should. It’s a very eerie section, with a completely different feel to the rest of Watch Dogs. It’s almost P.T. like in its design; blatantly so for a few moments, where you find yourself in a blood-splattered corridor, laden with family photos and a ringing telephone.
Unfortunately, this section doesn’t last very long – but it’s long enough to ask yourself “why on Earth hasn’t Ubisoft made a horror game recently?”. And as tonally different it may be from the rest of Bloodline, it does make sense in the context of the game, and adds a welcome bit of depth to Aiden’s rather 2D characterisation.
Overall though, Bloodline is a sizeable expansion. The story will take you around four hours to play through, but a wealth of side missions and collectibles will keep you playing for several hours longer. None of the side missions add much flavour; they’re very similar to what you’ve already experienced in the main game. Simply talk to a NPC and spend some time running various errands for them. Hack this machine, kill these people, rinse, repeat. It’s enjoyable, of course, but doesn’t offer anything remotely new.
If you’re a big fan of the original Watch Dogs, there’s no doubt you’ll get a kick out of stepping into Aiden Pearce’s Iconic shoes once more. Watch Dogs Legion: Bloodline tells a decent story, but it doesn’t do a great deal to expand the game’s world in any meaningful way. It’s another excuse to roam around London and gawp at the beautiful sights – but aside from one truly standout gameplay section, that’s about it.
Watch Dogs Legion: Bloodline Review: GameSpew’s Score