Watch Dogs Legion has steered the hacking franchise in a completely different direction, avoiding a traditional protagonist in favor of a thousand playable faces. While unique and fun, I wanted a deeper connection with the playable characters that I grew together with throughout the story. The Bloodline DLC delivers this by bringing back the original hacker himself: Aiden Pearce. And it brings almost everything I wanted from the Base Legion experience.
Bloodline sees the return of the original Watch Dogs protagonist, but now he’s older, a little smarter, and out of the “biz”. Until he is attracted again by the fascination of supporting his nephew Jackson, who is the son of Aiden’s sister, whom we met in the first game. Bloodline also brought back another familiar face – or rather a familiar mask – with the Watch Dogs 2 wrench.
The story begins with Aiden reluctantly accepting a dangerous job in London. He sees a chance to reconnect with his nephew, so he delves back into the life he left behind. However, during a mission, Aiden soon finds evidence that another hacker beat him, a hacker who we later learn was Wrench. The two don’t have a solid start, but the narrative intertwines the couple’s experience so they’re both playable, which makes their continued growth believable and entertaining. From Aiden chasing Wrench through an infiltrated building to Wrench looking for Aiden’s safety when the danger kicks a little too close to his house, Bloodline delivered a robust story in ways that Legion didn’t.
The chemistry of Aiden and Wrench is not just how they interact, but how their skills and abilities are aligned. For example, Aiden’s focus, which allows him to slow down time to get the perfect shot, is the perfect antithesis of Wrench’s Ninja Balls secondary ability, which essenti ally means he can throw stun grenades. Aiden represents balance and responsibility, while Wrench is an ironic mix of shyness and freedom. That chemistry made their interactions interesting and important, it also made the progress of each mission a joy just to see them keep interacting with each other.
I really appreciate seeing the older versions of the characters from the previous games. Jackson, for example, has grown up since meeting him in the first game, and his reunion with Aiden immediately makes it clear that he has paved his own way into adulthood, away from the tragedy of his sister’s death and his mother’s abduction in Watch Dogs 1. Jackson’s fight against everything Aiden represents, everything Aiden wants to offer also features a heartbreaking human connection that means more than just the paycheck at the end of a mission. As a result, Bloodline gives Aiden a meaningful redeeming arc and much-needed conclusion, helping him face the guilt that came with the decisions he made in the first game.
Bloodline features 12 main missions and side quests, and all of the DLC can be completed in six to eight hours. It reduces Legion’s large play area and focuses on a more closed part of London to deliver a range of new, streamlined quests. And don’t worry if you are thinking of doing the side quests or not: during Bloodline you will have to snake to complete the lower priority missions before continuing in the main story, so there is no way to do the extra quests to forget .
With Legion’s gear mechanics, stealth and patience remain at the center of the action. Most of the tools in the belts of Aiden and Wrench should be familiar to Watch Dogs fans, like Aiden’s Gunslinger ability which amplifies its damage and Wrench’s beloved Shredder Senpai LMG. Both Aiden’s and Wrench’s weapons and abilities have received a few modifications, including Wrench’s cloaking technology and his mission to steal a device called the Broca Bridge from Thomas Rempart, CEO of Rempart Automated Defense Systems. Aiden’s System Crash also improves his hacking skills, which are useful in scouting missions, especially his profiler weapon; a tool that allows Aiden to hack into anything connected to the Blume Corporation’s ct0S, such as personal information, data files, and more. The Profiler has a few upgrades, including more ways to disrupt communications, provide distractions, and command rolling blackouts. The Bloodline upgrades were fun and made strategic planning on certain infiltration missions more efficient and well thought-out – even if I accidentally blacked out once or twice by selecting the wrong option on the selection wheel.
Upgrading these dual protagonists is possible via the main mission and subplots, but don’t expect wild character and equipment advancements like those seen with the characters from Legion. Bloodline is a story-focused DLC that continues the narrative from Legion, so all of the gameplay mechanics are the same as in the base game. For those who jump right into Bloodline without diving into Legion first, Ubisoft does an efficient job of introducing players to the basic controls of the game and how to maneuver through this world. The simplification of character progression allows players to return to Legion to take up the Bloodline story without feeling burdened by any additional drudgery. Massively scaled upgrade paths are largely unnecessary, as these two protagonists are already established and powerful from the previous games.
Overall, the latest DLC for Legion brings both Aiden and Wrench to a satisfactory conclusion. This story DLC shows players how much each protagonist has grown since their time in their respective games. The growth of both characters is evident from the Bloodline storyline and how both main characters react to the world around them. If you are a fan of the previous Watch Dogs games, Bloodline is a must. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I enjoyed it more than Legion.