A little over six months since its PlayStation 5 debut, Watch Dogs Legion is undoubtedly in a better place. Make no mistake, this ambitious but ultimately flawed open world jaunt through futuristic London is still let-down by the weight of its own ideas, but Ubisoft – as the French publisher is wont to do – has worked tirelessly to add meaningful improvements, like a responsive 60 frames-per-second graphical option and online play.
Watch Dogs Legion: Bloodline, a major expansion, pares back the core campaign’s “play as anyone” gimmick, delivering a more fulfilling storyline in the process. Acting as a kind of prequel set before the events of the main game, you’ll play as Aiden Pearce and Wrench – two of the more memorable characters from the franchise’s otherwise forgettable cast – in a plot that bridges events from Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2.
It’s not going to win any awards by a longshot, but by building the plot around two characters rather than anyone, the developer is able to get back to basics and provide a more compelling narrative arc without any of the bizarre voice acting and animation quirks of the full-length fiction. Gameplay is largely the same – missions can be approached in a number of different ways, with stealth and combat augmented by hack abilities – although one set-piece moment channels Hideo Kojima’s influential P.T.
Aiden and Wrench, as more distinctive operatives, have a unique gauntlet of abilities which make them more fun to play than the random NPCs available elsewhere in the core campaign. Wrench, for example, has a firearm which can trigger hacks in the nearby area, making for some compelling combat scenarios. Both also have active reload, meaning if you time a button press correctly you can benefit from overpowered weapons for a short period.
Both characters can be used in the core campaign and online as well, adding fresh enjoyment to the existing game. Bloodline has its own unique path of side-missions and upgrades, fleshing out a fairly comprehensive package that will see you spending at least another 10 hours in London. Of course, if you didn’t like the existing loop then there’s probably not enough here to pull you back in, but franchise fans will appreciate how Bloodline intertwines with other entries in the series.
Watch Dogs Legion is a better game these days, and Bloodline manages to build a stronger narrative out of its various mechanics and gameplay systems. It’s more of the same under the surface, but playable characters Aiden and Wrench bring new enjoyment to the core campaign and evolving online modes, while simultaneously padding out the series’ overall lore with their own storyline.