Bad to the T-Bone
So, youre one of eight million players whove hacked and backslashed around near-future Chicago as the be-baseball-capped Aiden Pearce, ridding the city of crime and finding enough time to glance up from your antisocial gadgetry to purchase new hats and trenchcoats. Youve played the poker, levelled the skills, confused the traffic, and got off your tits on Digital Trips. What next? Ill tell you: Bad Blood.
Watch Dogs very first DLC expansion, Bad Blood sees you play former software engineer T-Bone as he sticks it to the so-called smart city (more like dumb city haha!) using nothing but a phone with the power of a thousand suns. After screwing around in Bad Blood for four hours, here are the seven things I thought would look best on a list of seven reasons to get excited ahead of its release on September 23rd.
Get reunited with T-Bone
Meet Raymond Kenney, otherwise known as T-Bone. Oh, you two already know each other? One of the most memorable characters from the main game now gets a starring role in the expansion, and hes a far cry from the stoic, self-pitying Aiden Pearce. T-Bone is just as, if not more so, technologically literate; a basement hacker since the dawn of the Internet and the software engineer behind ctOS, the central operating system of Chicago. But with his septum piercing, greying dreads, and southern drawl that sounds like Nic Cage chewing cotton, hes not afraid to get noticed. Throw him on the relatively meagre pile of Ubisoft protagonists with personality.
Play with Eugene
Eugene is not a person. Eugene is a car. An RC car, to be precise, and that T-Bone has named it goes some way towards demonstrating his 'eccentric' mental state. Well, he did inadvertently cause the deaths of eleven people during the 2003 North East Blackout. Eugene is essentially an IED on wheels, able to park near objects of interest (computer terminals, dozy guards) and detonate remotely. Thats not to say Eugene cant be stealthy when he needs to be. Equipped with a camera, T-Bone can drive him deep into hostile territory as mobile surveillance. Eugene is stored at T-Bones safe-house and so is only available on select missions, but the times he does show up are highlights (look at me, now Im referring to the car as a person).
Sweep the streets
These are a new series of dynamic missions unique to Bad Blood. Here youll run jobs for detective Sheila Billings aimed at cleaning up the mean streets of Chicago, busting gangsters both passively and violently. There are three types of gangs: Chicago South Club members are Irish mafia types, Fixers are mercenaries for hire, and Militia are military-trained gang bangers. Each Street Sweep has a level-up tree, and reaching milestones along it unlocks rewards. Climbing the heady heights to level one in the Chicago South Club gives discounts at gun shops, for example, while reaching level 20 in the Fixer missions offers a range boost for your phone jammer.
Sample procedurally-generated missions
While there are only ten campaign missions, the exciting thing about Street Sweep is that its technically endless. Thanks to randomly generating enemy spawns and locations, theyre never the same twice. Missions range from subduing a set number of targets non-violently and without raising the alarm, to hacking into and exploding the phones of two targets, to neutralizing everyone in sight.
The thing is, theyre difficult too. Raise the alarm and your foes will call in what appears to be a never-ending stream of backup henchmen. At one point in my playthrough, after going loud in a warehouse at the ass-end of town, a train of expensive cars pulled up beside me and a dozen men in suits and sunglasses got out to kill me. After doing the same to them, another train arrived. The only solution was restarting. Thats why co-op is a blessing.
Bring a buddy, play co-op
Like tennis and long walks in the countryside, Street Sweeps are better with a partner. You can play both privately with a friend or publically with a stranger. Simply walk up to the mission icon, trigger it, and the game will search for a nearby partner to help out. You can do everything in co-op you can do alone: hack cameras, cause forklifts to malfunction, and generally be a menace to society. Travel too far from your partner and youll even teleport to their location. Handy.
Do some brutal melee takedowns
With T-Bone being a more hands-on kinda guy, representing the bygone age of hackings maker culture, hes a known tinkerer. Weve already seen his RC car, but thats limited to certain missions. His wrench and taser, on the other hand, are always tucked into his backpack, ready to be whipped out and put to any scums face at a moments notice. And theyre absolutely brutal. Like Aidan, T-Bone can waltz up to enemies and smash them in the face, but hes not above a sneakier takedown involving a taser to the spine and a full-force whack to the back of the skull with a heavy stretch of metal.
Change your clothes
Like Aidan, T-Bone has a multitude of outfits to unlock: some drab, some colourful, and all the type youd only wear if purposefully made to in some type of open-world video game or something. Digital Trips are how you get your hands on them, the weird Saints Row-style mini-games returning from the main game. Complete the various stages of Psychedelic (bounce across giant rubbery flowers), Madness (drive a Hell car), Alone (sneak past weird robot sentries), and Spider Tank (drive a spider tank) and then go clothes crazy. And by clothes crazy I mean buy some clothes. Or whatever.
Still no dogs!
Frankly, I thought this would be the moment Ubisoft finally added the dogs to Watch Dogs. But no, didn't see a single hound. Anyway, that's what you need to know about Bad Blood. Perhaps the next DLC will star Clara. Obviously, it'd be a prequel story rather than a post-game adventure. Right? Oh, and er, spoiler! Anyway, have you got any thoughts about Watch Dogs in that pretty head of yours? Leave them below.