Regardless of who your lead protagonist is in a game, it’s good to be able to give the player a fresh perspective on things and let them step into someone else’s shoes. That’s exactly what we’re seeing with Watch Dogs’s Bad Blood DLC – out on September 23rd for season pass holders or the 30th for everyone else – wherein you take on the mantle of T-Bone.
The story of this 10 mission campaign picks up in the wake of the events of the main game, with really quite an amusing little cutscene as Raymond ‘T-Bone’ Kenney is discovered breaking into Blume’s computers in person, trying to blag his way out of a rather sticky situation. Let’s just say that it doesn’t go entirely to plan, and you have to try and beat a stealthy retreat from their headquarters. Of course, you can always just shoot your way out, but stealth seemed to work best for me.
As T-Bone’s about to make good his escape from Blume’s watchful gaze, though, he gets pulled back in to try and unravel and right the wrongs of his past deeds. That doesn’t mean he can’t have a little fun while he’s doing it, though. He’s more than happy to quip to reports that come on the news as you head to an objective, and he’s generally less deadpan and serious that Aiden was. It’s an important difference because although you’ll have to unlock later abilities, he’s roughly equivalent to Aiden when in the thick of the action, able to hack his way between cameras and get down and dirty with some cover shooting. His close quarters attacks do differ though, as he’ll whip out a taser and get busy with dishing out a few sharp jolts of electricity to the enemy or clock them with a wrench that he has strapped to his back – why he has a wrench I’ll never know, though.
The changes aren’t just cosmetic though, and a few minor alterations to the level design do present themselves. For one thing, there are certain rooms which can be completely sealed, which are good for luring enemies in with a phone and then locking them up and out of the way, lasers that move back and forth have to be dodged, and the Pipe Mania-esque mini-games come to overlay the real world as you try to manipulate and interact with certain devices. The last idea is very pleasingly implemented, but nothing here is really rocking the boat in terms of Watch Dogs’ gameplay.
By far the biggest new addition is that of the RC car, nicknamed Eugene by T-Bone. Hacking works by remote line of sight in the world of Watch Dogs, so that if the camera you’re controlling can see another camera, you can hop between them, but this often meant I would have Aiden sitting in a car, well out of trouble and mess with the world remotely. The RC car is effectively a camera on wheels, though, getting me more involved in what I’m doing.
It can still mean that T-Bone is well out of harms way, but there’s more pressure and even nuance to getting through the levels, as you have to find a route and then try to remain undetected. It’s set to get much more complex too, as Eugene is eminently upgradeable from just being a wheely good camera, to featuring a stun gun and eventually even more. Being able to switch between T-Bone and Eugene on the fly will also make it pretty good to gain the upper hand in the heat of the moment, though juggling two viewpoints could be pretty tricky.
It’s a shame that the RC car isn’t available when you head online to play the new Street Sweep side missions in co-op. Street Sweep picks up where the Gang Hideouts missions left off, giving you a small area filled with bad guys to tackle, but now varying the actual objectives. They’re also playable on your own, with the first mission seeing you have to find and mark two guys, then non-lethally take them down, but the objectives are randomised, so you might be having to stay near to some computers you’re hacking or hack one person to find your three targets to kill.
On top of this, you’ve got secondary objectives, such as not being discovered by enemies or not killing anyone that isn’t a target, which can be really damned tricky to accomplish. Of course, you’ll want to try and get those secondary objectives and also complete the mission in as little time as possible, when you’re doing one of the leaderboard street sweeps. To remove too much luck from the situation, the objectives and enemy layouts remain the same for several hours before they are randomised once more, meaning that there’s always something new to compete over. The only minor disappointment could be that although some are new, most of the 30 Street Sweep locations will be reusing existing spaces from the original game, though that is to be expected.
It all adds up to what should be a worthwhile expansion to Watch Dogs, with a fresh story that will run for a few hours and add depth to some background characters, a couple of new toys to play with and then the Street Sweep missions which will continually mix things up each time you play. If you can, make sure you grab a friend and play Street Sweep together, not just for the co-operative play, but for the shenanigans and tomfoolery you can get up to as you drive through Chicago to get to them.