When Watch Dogs 2 came out back in November it didn't quite set the world on fire or make massive sales. It was, however, a solid open world game that did a good job making sure to not fall into the same problems that most Ubisoft open world games were encountering. Human Conditions is the first of two content additions for it, providing a set of three new mission chains and a new co-op mission to play. Are these missions worth going through, or should you stick to doggo conditions?
When you start the DLC, if you've completed the game, you immediately have access to all the content. The first mission is Automata, which starts off with a silly premise: Nudle (Google but not) has created a self-driving car that is tied to people's biometrics. Things take a turn for the weird when the hacker team discovers that the car assigns people a "lifescore" to decide who's worth saving in the event of an accident based on values like race, gender, job position, and other social factors. That's genuinely a cool premise, and I actually stopped to think about it outside of the game. As great as that premise is, the actual story doesn't really go anywhere with it other than telling you that it's bad.
For most of the mission, you won't be doing anything too new for Watch Dogs 2. Sneaking into people's homes and business is par for the course, plus there's a simple "hack the camera to pull info on a guy" section. The best part comes at the end of Automata, which actually combines a couple of Watch Dogs 2's gameplay elements in a creative way. You'll find yourself trapped in a self-driving car, needing to both solve a puzzle to restore manual control while keeping cops away by hacking their cars, stop lights, and any other roadside opportunities you can find. It's a bit too little too late, but it is still a neat way to end the mission.
The second mission is Bad Medicine. In it, the team finds out that a group of Russian hackers are hijacking hospitals and holding their software hostage. The big draw here is the involvement of Watch Dogs hitman Jordi, returning after his disappearance in the original game. If you're worried he would lose any of psychopathy between the games, fear not. Jordi is still strange, crude, cruel, and helps carry the story for this mission. The actual storyline itself is otherwise forgettable.
Bad Medicine is a little more diverse than Automata when it comes to gameplay. It opens up with a unique segment that has you hijacking a drone and doing some simple platforming to reach the bottom of a huge server. After that, it goes back to normal Watch Dogs 2 mission structure, but the missions are pretty well done. There's the usual "sneak in and hack into servers" stuff, but you have to handle it while Jordi constantly takes potshots at the Russian's cars and explosive barrels, hopefully luring them away rather than to you. An assault on a fancy yacht takes an interesting turn when hacking through cameras catches you quick glimpses of Jordi at work. It's a cool set of levels, if not particularly unique.
The final mission is Caustic Progress, and it features the return of rival hacker Lenni. This time she's at least working with the team, revealing to them that a medical organization is kidnapping homeless people and injecting them with nanotech to experiment. Much like the other two, the story itself doesn't really go anywhere, but it does add a few new dimensions to both Lenni and Josh. Lenni really needed it, considering she seemed to serve little purpose in the main game other than to be a quick throwaway villain, but this is more of the start of an interesting antagonist rather than creating a full one.
Easily the shortest of the three, Caustic Progress is little more than a single quick investigation and a stealth attack on a research lab. The attack starts out interesting, where you work with Lenni to hack through the initial entryway, solving a puzzle cooperatively. After that, it just devolves into yet another stealth level. It's not bad, but it's a bit of a shame that it lacks the extra oomph the other missions have.
I'm not going to spend too long on Off the Hook, Human Conditions' co-op mission offering. It's the same as any co-op mission from the main game: an uninteresting story with a set of quick objectives that doesn't really let you use your skills in the ways that make Watch Dogs 2 unique. That's really about it.
Outside of the new DLC content, it's worth noting that some patches have added a few new things to Watch Dogs 2. One of my biggest complaints in the main game is how weak the shooting felt. Recently the shooting has been given quite a bit more oomph. Do I suggest using it over the stealth? No, the stealth is still way more fun, but when I did have to go into combat while playing these missions, I didn't hate it nearly as much. The other big addition is expanding the main game's ending a little, but all it really added is a thirty-second audio conversation between two unknown characters. It's clearly sequel-bait, albeit for a sequel I'd totally play. Other than that a few new locations have been made available, but nothing that I really felt I had to go out of the way to find. A couple more songs have been added to the already good soundtrack, but nothing I really was excited for. You can also now listen to the game's original soundtrack in place of licensed songs, and I actually suggest doing this at least once as it highlights how good Watch Dogs 2's original soundtrack is, something I kind of missed on my initial go. Otherwise, nothing too crazy has been added in patches.
At the end of the day, I couldn't shake the feeling that Human Conditions was basically just 3 more side quests and a co-op mission for Watch Dogs 2. That's not a totally bad thing, Watch Dogs 2 has meaty well made side quests and these three are no exceptions. They're just not anything you should feel the need to go out of your way for.
Watch Dogs 2: Human Conditions was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a copy purchased by the reviewer. The DLC will also be available digitally on PC via Steam and uPlay and Xbox One starting on March 23rd.
Human Conditions is just three more side quests and one more co-op mission for Watch Dogs 2. That's not a horrible thing: Watch Dogs 2's side quests are meaty and fun and these three are no exception. Just it's not really much to drive anyone back to the game.
- Missions are Ultimately Fun
- Shooting Mechanics Feel Much Better
- Jordi is Hilarious, Lennie Gets Needed Development
- Not Much New Content
- None of the Stories Go Anywhere
- Co-Op Missions Still Lame