Back in May of this year Watch_Dogs was finally released after a long hype cycle including its fair share of ups and downs. Though it received generally positive reviews, there were many complaints levied against the highly anticipated title. Many cited the graphical fidelity, characterization and writing, and lack of incentive after completing the campaign when they shared their dismay after the release. Watch_Dogs Bad Blood seems to be proof that Ubisoft was listening in the rafters and the result is astounding.
In Bad Blood you play as Raymond “T-Bone” Kenney, a former Blume agent who helped to code ctOS. Since his days as a Blume employee T-Bone became a whistleblower exposing everything the company was up to and used several stunts to bring attention to their actions. After hiding for some time you were found by Watch_Dogs protagonist Aiden Pearce and brought back into the world of sabotage and subterfuge.
Bad Blood picks up right after the events that had you dealing with Aiden. T-Bone is still struggling with guilt over the acts he committed after leaving Blume. As he plans to leave Chicago for good he receives a call from an old colleague that brings him right back to the root of all his troubles. With a new shot at redemption for past mistakes you set off back into the lions den to try and settle scores once and for all.
Setting off the improvements brought to the game, the writing is much more engaging and down to earth. Each character is fleshed out not only through script but through their actions as well. T-Bone doesn’t come across as a hero at odds with player action. He is a man on a mission and every activity, be they optional or mandatory, feeds into that. They even use this opportunity to give more insight into characters you met as Aiden Pearce. Bad Blood does a great job at not distancing the gameplay from the narrative.
From the outset you will see that T-bone is nothing like Aiden Pearce. One of the major issues with Watch_Dogs was the lack of character development. Aiden was always serious and sometimes depressing. While his motives were clear, he was very difficult to relate to and came across as something other than human. T-Bone is the direct opposite. With his trusty monkey wrench and taser he approaches every situation methodically and always has a fallback plan. While the tone of Bad Blood is definitely serious, he brings levity to every scene with his twisted humor and hard-to-resist likability. Yes he is a man that does bad things, but he is fully aware of the weight of his actions. He is often misguided but determined to put his skills to good use and Bad Blood does its very best to provide a means for you to do so.
Hacking was billed as the game changer when Watch_Dogs was announced. With almost every electronic in the game able to succumb to your cell phone, the city was to become your weapon. Yet aside from a few missions that rendered the ability absolutely necessary there was no real incentive to use it otherwise. Bad Blood targets this problem and brings hacking back to forefront in all its glory.
With even more importance this time around, hacking takes the center stage. In Watch_Dogs it might have been a viable option but wasn’t always enjoyable. You relied on the same few hacks over and over and were granted more XP for combat than you were for successful hacks. Bad Blood shifts the focus in gameplay and also incentivizes hacking.
There is a larger focus on environmental puzzles for you to tackle as T-Bone. No longer do you just look through cameras and find weak spots; now, you must traverse obstacles, hack, and navigate all while looking over your shoulder for enemies. Not only is there more to be aware of but the locations are also much more varied as well. Having to rescue someone from a run down mansion in the middle of nowhere was a great break from the sterile high tech environments. In a genius move some of the hacking mini games now appear in the game world rather than pulling you out of the experience and into a separate screen.
To mix up the action, a new tool is introduced that will prove useful when trying to get into heavily fortified bases. Meet Eugene: a R/C car equipped with a camera that can get you into tight spots, hack, and with the proper upgrades bring endless sleep to any adversaries in your way. Eugene is perfect for scouting areas if you’re a bit low on artillery or are just plain bad at staying alive. It’s truly amazing how a gadget as simple as a toy car can really shake things up and create new strategies.
Of course you wouldn’t be T-Bone if you didn’t have a crazy base set up like a twisted arena with tons of hackable defenses. Steel dragon heads that rain bullets on enemies, armed security cameras that allow you to locate and pick off enemies from safety and even flaming floors are all at your disposal here. It’s very similar to the one you utilized as Aiden only this time it’s indoors and much deadlier.