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Watch Dogs 2 – Beginner’s Guide

Unpause is back with another in our beginner’s guide series because Watch Dogs 2 is now free from Ubisoft! While everyone is still reeling from Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla gameplay at yesterday’s UbiForward event. Some of us were trying to claim that free copy of Watch Dogs 2. Unfortunately, the system glitched out but the good news is that Ubisoft is giving the game away free now anyway. Just log in to your Ubisoft account here and grab it.

If you missed out on the Watch Dogs series it is unfortunately not a game about watching actual dogs. Instead you play the part of an underground vigilante hacker on a mission to expose corporate corruption. Younger teenage me loved this game but it still seems to hold up today. It’s a fun open-world genre that’s full of sneaks and hacks. For those of you that just got your copy of Watch Dogs 2 then here’s our beginner’s guide to getting you started. Make sure to tab open our Watch Dogs 2 level up skills guide too.


Fast Travel

Right from the get-go Watch Dogs 2 gives you the freedom to traverse the entire map of the game. Simply access the Nudle Maps app, highlight any red icon and head towards an objective. You’ll have access to the four core areas from the start of your game – Marin, Oakland, San Francisco and Silicon Valley.


Leveling Up

To level up, you’ll need to gain followers, which you can do during missions and normal play. But the easiest way to garner more support — and thus, to level up your character — is to use the ScoutX app, which allows you to take pictures near specific landmarks for points.

Immediately spring for these landmark missions after entering the open world, before you even start doing story missions. You can locate these directly in the ScoutX app, and just head over to them directly by selecting a fast travel location near the landmark. It’s that easy.


Stealth Combat

Our boy Marcus isn’t the toughest of fighters, so when in a bind it’s best not to run in guns blazing.

You’ll have a number of tools at your disposable in Watch Dogs 2 but you should always try and go for the stealth-based chokehold over a loud melee attack or gun. If you do want to use melee attacks, use your hacking view before you attack to ensure that no one is around to hear you. Another reason to chokehold someone is the fact that you can’t drag or hide bodies. If an enemy is asleep, a patrolling guard or NPC will think nothing of it. If an enemy is dead, those who see the corpse will immediately alert the entire area.

Overall the amount of tools you have at your disposal with stealth and tech-based approaches are superior to the amount of firepower you’ll acquire over the course of Watch Dogs 2. Sometimes you’re going to have to whip out your guns in unavoidable situations, but don’t make fighting a priority.


The Sure-Fire Kill Combo

So we said to go non-lethal but sometimes you can’t or the enemies are suited up in full body armour and are rushing you. In this case, just memorize this one combo and you should be good.

When an enemy is rushing you tap L1 to hack their headset or phone. They’ll pause to check it which will allow you to either take them out with your melee or stun gun. This move works on squads or if an enemy has already started firing on you, just really any aggro situation you come up against. There’s no way Marcus should ever lose with this tactic, no matter what your enemy is armed with.


Hack Cameras

When in doubt, hack into a camera to get a bird’s-eye view of the situation, which will dot your minimap and mark objectives and enemies.

By clicking the right analogue stick, you’ll be able to see through walls, which is really useful when you’re already located in a spot where you can’t be easily seen. Do that, and you’ll be able to survey the entire area from the safety of your hiding spot.

Do note that you won’t be able to see all of the details in the camera view. For example, your hacking view might show what appears to be a grayscale wall, but that wall is actually a window that would put you in plain sight. Swap between the viewpoints constantly — especially if you’re indoors — to avoid being seen.


How To Earn Money Quickly

The quickest way to assemble your fortune is to hack people and steal their money on the street.

Naturally, this will be easiest in highly-populated areas, so when you get access to the world map look for the Tenderloin district toward the northern point of San Francisco proper. Not only is it a dense area in terms of foot traffic, but it’s also home to a lot of people. Also keep in mind that you can hack citizens inside of their cars (and alternatively, steal items out of glove compartments automatically when entering them).

If you’re not getting many hits, another hot spot is near Mission Dolores Park near the southern side of the San Francisco map. This contains, as the game calls them “overly abundantly hip” NPCs, which are flush with cash. Note that you will want to profile people based on their looks, as it generally impacts the amount of money they have in their bank account. So be sure to watch for expensive clothing (and generally, more layers).

If you want to earn the really big bucks, unlock the “Improved Profiler” ability right away in the Social Engineering tree. This skill automatically highlights NPCs with large bank accounts. Finally, if you see a currency icon on your minimap, always head to it and pick up a randomly spawned money bag.


Get An Aerial Drone

Marcus can equip two remote-controlled drones to help him infiltrate the game’s many guarded compounds. You get the R.C. car almost right off the bat, but you have to save up and buy the aerial drone. It’s the only truly mission-critical item in the game that you can buy with cash, and it’s only $50-60K. Which you’ll get easily after a few hacks and money bag spawns.

The aerial drone will help you out when overlooking into new areas. Before you head into a new restricted area, you should always whip out your drone first and see what’s going on. The drone can fly into ducts and bounce off walls and ceilings without taking damage, which means it can get above and inside every area. Take the lay of the land and be sure to tag as many guards as you can see. Drone recon is also usually a good time to grab any access keys you see floating around (they’re coded with a red cloud of squiggles and a key icon).

Just watch out if your R.C. car or your aerial drone get spotted, guards will throw rocks at them or shoot them. That’ll leave you waiting on a cooldown before you can spawn another one, and it’ll put the guards on alert. If you see that you’re being spotted, quickly hold down the circle/B button and instantly recall the drone. The guard will forget they saw it and you’ll be able to re-deploy the drone with no harm done.


Upgrade Car Thievery First

This would technically be the second upgrade you buy because it’s tier 2 and you have to purchase the ability to remote drive cars first. But trust me when I say that this is the most commonly used ability in the game, and it will make your life much easier the moment you buy it.

Car thievery gives you the ability to auto-unlock any cars you find on the street without setting off the car alarm. It sounds simple enough, but soon you will start fast-traveling everywhere on the map, and when you arrive, you won’t have a car. You can order one using a phone app (don’t forget to download that, buy the way), but it’s much easier to grab whatever’s nearby. The problem is that if you don’t have this skill and there’s anyone at all nearby you, any car will set off its car alarm and get the cops called on you. Buy this skill and this will never happen again, improving quality of life immensely.

This skill, however, will not let you carjack occupied cars without consequence. But there are enough parked cars around where you will never actually have to do that.


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