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Watch Dogs 2 walkthrough: Guide and tips to everything you can do in the open-world sequel

Our complete story walkthrough and guide to the many activities in Ubisoft's hackathon.

Watch Dogs 2 ditches the po-faced protagonist and serious tone of the original for a more light-hearted world in the new setting of San Francisco - the perfect destination for a hacking-centric caper.

Our Watch Dogs 2 walkthrough gives you a complete step-by-step guide through the game's story missions, while this Watch Dogs 2 guide page will also inform you of the many other activities you can get up.

Watch Dogs 2 walkthrough

The missions of Watch Dogs 2 are broken down into two core types - Main Operations (the main story) and Side Operations (side missions). Both are technically optional; you have to complete the opening 'Wipe Your Profile' mission to get out into the open world, but from there, you can ignore everything and do as you please.

If you want to delve into any story stuff, then the DedSec app is your best bet, while the Nudle map will also point the starting locations of quests you've unlocked. There's also Cooperative Operations that show up in the app - more on online activities later on - but since these are randomly generated, we don't have specific guides available to help.

Main Operations walkthrough

To unlock Main Operations, simply play one mission to the next.

Side Operations

Specific Side Operations can be unlocked over the course of playing the Main Operations above, or found out in the world. Below is a list of known Side Operations and how to locate them.

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Watch Dogs 2: Guide and tips to the game's many other activities

Unlike other open-world games, there are few progress screens to tell you how close to 100% completion you are. Instead, the map will be littered with points of interest, and a Trophy list can act as a guide for where you should focus your attention.

While quite liberating, it doesn't spell out what's important or most noteworthy, so here's an overview of what's out there and the best ways to accomplish whatever goals you have.

Use NetHack everywhere you go

NetHack - the game's detective vision that was called Focus in the original, and is activated by clicking in the right stick on consoles - allows you to look at points of interest nearby clearer, such as hackable objects and how they might interact with one another, as well as spotting guards so you can sneak past them easily later.

It's worth pinging regularly during each story mission, but it's also useful while out exploring the world, as they can also add optional points of interest to the Nudle map, if you're close enough. Side Operations, Key Data, Research Points and Money Bags (which are explained in more detail below) are such items that will appear as a fuzzy orange or blue outline until you get close enough, and when it's added, you're free to return back to claim the spoils later.

Research not only requires points, but activities to unlock

Watch Dogs 2's research tree and its seven areas - Vehicle Hacking, Social Engineering, City Disruption, Tinkering, Botnets, Marksmanship, Remote CTRL - is gradually unlocked as you see fit by spending the Research Points you accumulate. You get these primarily through gathering Followers (our page on how to get more Followers explains the ways to get more) and also by finding them hackable, collectible nodes out in the world.

However, simply collecting points won't allow you to unlock and purchase each branch. Most branches are gated by finding 'Key Data' out in the world. In short, most areas have an enemy stronghold with a piece of Key Data - which you can either walk up to and hack, or simply collect - guarded by patrolling enemies or a puzzle.

So if you want to gain access to all the abilities Marcus has to offer - which we'd recommend, as even if you want to go down the game's suggested Aggressor, Ghost or Trickster 'roles', they all come in handy in different situations - it pays to explore and tick these off. We've listed where they all are in our Watch Dogs 2 Key Data locations page.

It's worth saving up for a Quadcopter

The 3D Printer in the HackerSpace HQ can spit out a variety of weapons and gadgets, but the most sought after is the Quadcopter, a flying drone that lets you access far-away items. Though you get the ground-based Jumper as part of the introductory story missions, the Quadcopter is only found by saving up a decent amount of money - $67,500 to be exact.

Not only is it fun to play with, but it's essential if you want to find every Key Data and for completing some of the later story missions. As such, it pays to know how to save up money effectively. Stealing from bank accounts, collecting Money Bags or completing side-quests are your primary ways, and we break down these and more in our how to make money in Watch Dogs 2 page. Ultimately, the sooner you buy a Quadcopter, the more you can spend on fashionable hoodies.

Team up with another player online and get invaded - if you like

There are essentially three types of Watch Dogs 2 multiplayer activities available - Cooperative Operations, Bounty Hunter and Hacking Invasions - which have you group with different numbers of people in different ways.

Two friends can jump into a single world and roam amount and work on open world objectives together. They can also do Side Operations and Cooperative Operations, which are randomly generated missions throughout the world that tweak the factions, goals and enemies. You can also play them solo if you wish.

The other two types can happen while you roam the world. Bounty Hunter sees up to three players join together to take down another who is wanted by the police in their own instance of the world. The hunter also have the police on their side, and if the hunted is playing in online co-op, can have their friend act as a respawnable 'protector'.

Finally, there's Hacking Invasions, which were the star of the first game. In short, you enter another player's game and attempt to hack them without being spotted. The hacked player is notified and has to find you, which is harder than it looks thanks to being disguised as a civilian. If you successfully blend in you'll win, otherwise the hacked can chase you away for a partial victory, or kill you to win.

All of the above can be accessed through the game's Multiplayer app, matching you with others. Otherwise, for Bounty Hunter and Hacking Invasions, players can simply come into your game. However, if you want to play simply solo, then go to Game Options (it's an app on the phone) then Settings, and Online Preferences.

Open-world activities to get distracted by

As with any open-world game worth its salt, there's more to do than just story-based missions. Outside of Trophies and Achievements, they're all optional, so here's a quick look at the game's other activities and their rewards.

Drone, Motocross, Sailboat, eKart races - Most of these are automatically unlocked from the start, so check Nudle maps to see their starting locations. Others, such as the eKart races, require a short questline first. You don't have to tick off every single one to 'complete' the game - in fact, the game's Trophies / Achievements require you play a race of each..

Driver SF missions - These are speedy driving-based missions where people as you to drive them around the city in a variety of ways. You don't have to perform any of them for unlocking Trophies, but they're a quick and easy way to get some cash and Followers in a pinch. Open the app and find the nearest client to get started.

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ScoutX photos - Returning from the first game, this geolocation app has you take snaps of tourist attractions throughout the city, whether famous monuments to locally known buskers and tourist guides. Your phone will buzz when you're near one, and as long as it appears on the screen in the upper corner, taking the snap will unlock it. The benefits are small but neat; you get a small number of new Followers for each one, completing 25 will unlock a Trophy, and every 10 performed will get you another gesture for the camera. Say cheese!

Car on Demand - This does what it says on the tin; the app allows you to bring a car you've previously unlocked - or any unique vehicles you've found on your travels - to your current location. Cars are unlocked through specific in-game missions as well as by purchasing them from car dealerships across the city. Buying 25 will unlock a Trophy / Achievement.

New threads - There are a variety of Clothing Shops, Vending Machines and Tourist Kiosks that'll give you new clothing for a price. The game introduces you to this at the very beginning of the game, and practically every other source of clothing will then automatically be flagged on the Nudle map.

One set that won't appear is a secret Gnome Outfit, which requires you to locate 10 hidden gnomes to give Marcus a particularly unique get-up. We discuss how in our Gnome outfit and Gnome collectible locations page.

Have fun!

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