Can Aiden Pearce help solve Watch Dogs: Legion's identity crisis?
Watch Dogs seems like a series with a serious identity crisis. Starting as a bleak crime drama it later made a complete 180 and emerged as a colourful celebration of all things hip and social. Then with the latest entry, Watch Dogs: Legion, it was literally all over the place as you could play at every single NPC. Now Aiden Pearce from the original game is back but can he put the series back on a steady course?
Watch Dogs: Legion - Bloodline is single-player expansion that can be purchased separately or as part of the Season Pass. Answering a routine call the now 55-year-old Aiden Pearce (who doesn't look a day over 40) travels to London. Here he must steal a piece of technology from the company Broca Tech, but the mission quickly goes astray when the flamboyant hacker Wrench (from Watch Dogs 2) steals the device. Putting their differences aside, the unlikely pair must work together to bring down Thomas Rempart - a devilish fusion of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
Both Aiden and Wrench prefer a more direct and physical approach than your usual operative. Wrench is a flamboyant hacker that can throw stun grenades and summon drones. He also uses special ammo that hacks nearby enemies when it hits. Aiden brings his trademark Blackout ability that shuts down every nearby electronic device, and he is also an expert marksman. The DLC even borrows a page from Gears of War and lets Aiden deal extra damage if you time reloads correctly. But as the window for success is incredibly wide, it does not provide an additional challenge and instead feels more like a passive buff. If you prefer the silent way, the always useful spider bot has been upgraded and can now fly as well. It can no longer perform takedowns though, which is a good thing since this ability was extremely overpowered.
This is an ad:
Besides these tricks, you can unlock new abilities and weapons by completing side missions for different characters. These missions are quite varied and consist of small story arcs that tie together with the plot of the main game. Actually, the side tasks are nearly as interesting as the main mission - unfortunately, this is more of a critique of the main campaign than real praise of the side content. Like in the main game, nearly all the mission consists of you infiltrating a building, hacking a terminal or two, and then exiting the scene. No mission is especially memorable or contains any surprising objectives besides some occasional driving or drone antics. The environments aren't even that interesting as you already have visited most of them several times in the main game.
It doesn't help that the story is pretty lackluster. The premise is decent as it involves the experiments of the Dr. Frankenstein-like Skye Larsen - the best of the villains from the main game. The story also touches on themes like regret and loss and even tries to make some comments about how Aiden's lone-wolf act is out of touch in this hyperconnected world. But it is just so dull. Cutscenes have no life to them, the story is predictable, and most of the characters are focus-tested do-gooders lacking any sort of spark or real personality.
The DLC can be completed in about five hours but completing all side missions will nearly double that time. Content-wise this is acceptable, but I just wish the developer had made more of an effort to make Aiden's trip to the English capital a bit more memorable. There is no time for darts or football, no ETO to be discovered, and no new characters to recruit. None of these mechanics felt all that exciting in the main game, but at least it gave you something to do while exploring the beautiful city. If you want the complete experience though you can play as both Aiden and Wrench in the main campaign, which at least is a nice touch.
This is an ad:
It still seems that Ubisoft doesn't quite know what to do with Watch Dogs: Legion. The season pass has added a telepathic character straight out of a superhero movie, the latest addition is a zombie mode, and now we get this competent but thoroughly uninspired DLC. Aiden Pearce might just find a new path in life when this adventure is over, but the same can't be said for Watch Dogs: Legion.
5 / 10
Aiden and Wrench can be played in the main campaign. The story covers some interesting themes and explores the characters in new ways. Side missions are not just filler content.
Mission structure is the same as the main game. Doesn't bring anything substantially new to the table. Characters feels lifeless and one-dimensional. The city lacks activities.