Watch Dogs 2’s Human Conditions DLC Review: DEDSEC is back
Fashion, crashin' and a passion for head-bashin'.
While it was only a few months ago, the release of Watch Dogs 2 feels like a golden memory from far longer ago. Much like myself, Jay found it to be a vast improvement on its predecessor, and a solid title overall. As such, it’s nice to still see additional content rolling out for the game, with the most recent addition being the “Human Conditions” DLC.
Available both standalone and as part of its “Season Pass”, “Human Conditions” adds three new story mission chains – with full voice acting throughout. In addition there’s new co-op challenges, emotes and clothing for you to further immerse yourself in Ubisoft’s version of San Francisco.
While I won’t delve too deep into the content of these story missions, suffice to say they are as well-rounded as the core game experience. If you haven’t completed the main story yet, these missions are locked off until certain story beats are reached – while each is self-contained, they all relate back to core characters and events in Watch Dogs 2’s narrative. Much like the main game, these all tie back to actual technologies either in the world today, or on the cusp of being a part of our lives.
Automata centres around Nudle – the game’s Google analog – announcing a self-driving car, much as real-world company Uber did to short-lived and less-than-stellar results in December last year (and also a project that real-world Google is working on). While DedSec initially look into this due to technological curiosity, the team soon uncover something more sinister below the surface – an entirely unfamiliar story beat for this franchise.
Caustic Progress features the return of caustic bio-hacker Lenni, and focused on the unlicensed testing of medical nanotechnology – again, a technology that is being researched in the real world for such functions as the delivery of chemotherapy drugs or for internal diagnostics. Of course, the DedSec SF version is being implemented in a less-than-ethical way. While Lenni is by no means a likable character as the leader of the rival hacking group Prime_Eight, she was a favourite of mine for just how much of an anathema she was to the Very Good Kids of DedSec.
Finally, Bad Medicine features one of the DLC’s big drawcards – the return of another character from the original Watch Dogs. No, not Aiden Pearce – he had his moment – but rather Jordi. Jordi, you say? Who was Jordi again? Well obviously, he was the homicidal one who used unconventional means to reach his goals in Watch Dogs. Not specific enough? That’s fair.
To clarify, Jordi Chin was the contract killer Aiden recruited in his hunt for whatever it was that he wanted. With an inclination to violence and light-coloured suits, Jordi finds himself in San Francisco and aligned with Marcus Holloway when the Bratva are implicated in a malicious hack that has put hospital computer systems in lockdown.
While Jordi would not be my first choice to carry over from Watch Dogs, he does bring to light an interesting comparison between the two properties. In the original game, Jordi would probably have been the most ‘wacky’ character on the fairly serious roster, yet even then he is at odds with the tone of the San Franciscan hacker cell. While it’s not a jarring mismatch, it does go to show just how much has changed tonally from one game to the next. T-Bone made a much more organic transition as a character because he was totally at odds with the tone of Aiden Pearce’s world, yet Jordi doesn’t quite make the same leap.
In addition to the extra story content and emotes – a function I had totally forgotten the game had – there is the addition of the new ‘Jammer’ enemy type. Similar to the way enemy NPCs will occasionally trigger a local shutdown of ctOS if your hacks are discovered, the Jammers carry equipment that creates a shutdown field around them, preventing any environmental or enemy hacks in their vicinity – even going so far as to shut down your drones if they get too close. While these enemies can be taken out through an extended hack sequence, they do add a new wrinkle to combat and infiltration as you make your way through the DLC’s new zones.
Overall, these three new Operations feel very consistent with the standard set by the core Watch Dogs 2 experience. The chance to return to San Francisco and geek it up with the DedSec team is welcome, and their characterisation remains as energetic and positive as ever. While the missions aren’t perfect – the return of an extended ‘getaway chase’ sequence brought on rage-flashbacks to the ‘Cyberdriver’ mission of the critical mission path – it does give another taste of everything that made this game great last year. Wth more DLC yet to come, I’m hopeful this same standard will be maintained and help bring on an even MORE hipster Watch Dogs 3 announcement.
Also, this DLC gave me access to the greatest shirt Marcus could ever possibly wear (above). Look at this beautiful trashbag of a hacktivist. Five ethically-sourced organic stars.
Watch Dogs 2’s Human Conditions DLC was reviewed using a promotional code on PS4, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.