It’s been a solid five months since Ubisoft released the open world game, Watch_Dogs, upon the masses and in an effort to update the series a little, its story based DLC, Bad Blood, looks to mix up some things in the main game. While still set in Chicago, Bad Blood seeks to refresh player expectations with new areas and enemies to battle against while still using your phone to manipulate the surrounding area. Introducing a new protagonist, a new story-line, and new activities to do, does Bad Blood hack its way into your heart, or should it be left by the roadside?
Editor’s Note: I’ve done my absolute best to avoid spoilers but certain things I discuss below may delve into spoilerish territory if you’ve yet to play the game fully. Reader beware.
Full review after the jump…
Bad Blood picks up just before the ending of Watch_Dogs as T-Bone prepares to leave Chicago for good. As these things go, he receives a phone call from a person he used to know asking for help and sure enough before long, he’s pulled back into a situation which quickly spirals out of control. To avoid any sort of potential spoilers, I’ll leave things right there.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story that was being told and found it to be less convoluted than the game’s main campaign was. With only ten missions in total, there’s very little fluff getting in the way as each mission feels important and more importantly, is fun. With such little time to tell the tale, it also probably helped the team at Ubisoft Montreal stay focused and on point. Bad Blood also sees a few characters return from the main campaign including a character which (in my opinion) deserved a lot more screen time than he actually got.
The biggest change in this DLC pack however is the lead character. The brooding and dark Aiden Pearce has been replaced in favor of Raymond Kenney, aka T-Bone. The biggest addition that he brings to the table is that his personality lightens the mood of the game as T-Bone is more of less the direct opposite of Pearce. He speaks with emotion, uses humor dashed with sarcasm and essentially displays a personality that seemed to be lacking with the moody and emotionless Aiden Pearce. Frankly, the biggest thing going for Raymond Kenney is that he feels human.
The other big addition to this DLC are “Street Sweep” missions which have T-Bone working with the authorities to weaken three different crime factions around Chicago including the Chicago South Club, Militia, and The Fixers. Missions range from destroying objects, to hacking terminals, to taking out individuals through non-lethal force. In addition these missions are also leaderboard enabled and can be played with a friend through co-op.
While I appreciate these missions being included, to me, it feels like they’re more or less meant to be played with another person, which is difficult seeing as people on my friends list have more or less moved on to other things. More often than not, trying to play these solo proved to be more of a chore, leading to frustration as the odds are stacked against you from the get go. The main culprit? Additional objectives on the mission which limit how you can approach them.
One of the missions had me trying to hack three computers. Doing so would begin a download sequence that would only progress if I stayed near the computer terminal while being assaulted from waves on enemies. The problem though? The objective prevented me from using weapons during the mission. With two people this may not have been an issue, but going solo on this one and having to hack three computer terminals while not being able to properly defend myself wasn’t a fun experience. Your mileage may vary.
Outside of the street sweet and campaign missions, a couple of new side activities are also available including Fox Hunt and A Council of Daves. Fox Hunt is interesting as it ties Aiden Pearce into Bad Blood as Blume has basically put a bounty out for any information on tracking down the hacker. T-Bone sets out to stop this information from making it to Blume and even has a run in with a mysterious hacker named cr0w. A Council of Daves focuses on DedSec who’s up in arms over something that’s starting to affect their group. T-Bone tries to piece together what’s going on. One thing to keep in mind is that the side missions from the main campaign are not available through Bad Blood, it’s pretty much an entirely standalone map for T-Bone.
Like Aiden, T-Bone can purchase new weapons, upgrade his skills, and unlock new outfits to wear through street sweep tokens you earn from completing missions. The skill tree is pretty much exactly as you remember as both characters pretty much utilize the same abilities, only with a new street sweep tier now available for unlocking. You’ll also get to use T-Bone’s “pet” during missions as well. By “pet” I mean a remote-controlled car named Eugene which is also outfitted with abilities like a stun gun among other items. It’s a fun and satisfying tactic especially when used to clear a room.
Overall, Bad Blood is a fantastic follow-up to a game that I already enjoyed. It works hard to eliminate and change the things that people didn’t care for in the main game, which, yes, does include the lead character. If you’re someone who enjoyed Watch_Dogs and want a reason to jump back in to the streets of Chicago, Bad Blood will satisfy that itch. In my opinion, Bad Blood is worth the download.