The sequel to 2014’s hacker-focused Watch Dogs arrived on consoles a few days ago, introducing the hacker Marcus Holloway as the next protagonist in the franchise. Like Aiden Pearce, Marcus is a hacker by trade and has the dream of bringing down CToS, the centralized advanced surveillance system which taps into just about every device in the city.

Like before, the map of Watch Dogs 2 is packed with things for you to do and places to explore but focuses on a different style of play compared to the first game. This time around it’s easier to be killed provided you aren’t taking the necessary steps to advance your skills as a hacker, combatant, and survivalist.

Here’s a few tips and tricks to help you do just that.

Build Your Followers

In Watch Dogs 2, followers are the key to unlocking more Research Upgrades that you can use to make Marcus a more capable hacker, stronger combatant, and a better survivalist out in the city of San Francisco. These upgrades are essential as you progress through the game and tackle more difficult tasks, plus they allow you to creatively work your way through missions instead of treating Watch Dogs 2 like a traditional third-person experience.

To get the most out of the main missions and play them a bit more creatively, travel around the city and participate in some of the various activities Watch Dogs 2 offers like Side Operations, Races, and the ScoutX photography app to build up a hefty number of followers before you dive into some of the main campaign missions. This allows you to pick up a few upgrades for Marcus that you can then use to get creative when tackling the main missions for DedSec by hacking into cars, calling the police into engagements, or building stun mines to knock out your enemies.

Look for Side Operations While Exploring

Side Operations are the equivalent of Side Quests in Watch Dogs 2, giving Marcus and the DedSec crew access to a ton of unique missions scattered about San Francisco filled with parodies from events in the real world. These missions are some of the best Watch Dogs 2 has to offer, rewarding you with unique clothing items, additional funds to use on upgrades and equipment, and even bonuses to your follower count to unlock more Research Upgrades.

Unlike Main Story Operations, Side Operations must actively be found while you’re out exploring the city and working your way through all the activities scattered about. When your roaming about always keep an eye out for orange indicators while using NetHack, which usually unlock a new Side Operation. You can also find Side Operations on your in-game map once you’ve discovered them or walked close enough to their location marked as Operation Intel. Just head to the marker, talk or hack the individual in question, and they’ll be added to your DedSec application.

Don’t Purchase Weaponry

Right when you reach the Hackerspace and are inducted into DedSec at the beginning of Watch Dogs 2, you’ll get access to a 3D printer capable of spitting our tons of weaponry, including a grenade launcher and handful of assault rifles. These weapons are insanely expensive to print however, costing anywhere from $10,000 up to the $120,000 mark. It may be tempting to make a few purchases early on, but try to avoid spending your money on weapons when you won’t be using them all too often.

Watch Dogs 2 gives you access to a melee weapon, stun gun, drone, and pistol right off the bat for free, which work just fine provided you utilize the various hacking abilities at your disposal. By combining Research Upgrades like Create Distraction with melee attacks, you’ll be able to sneak and melee your way through missions with ease provided you plan your movements properly. Plus, you’ll be able to put that money towards new drones like the Quadcopter and the additional customization options (cars, clothes, etc.) that make Watch Dogs 2 so much fun to play around with.

Unlock and Use the Quadcopter

Watch Dogs 2 doesn’t give you access to a heavy arsenal of weaponry from the get-go like the original game did, encouraging you to use all the hacking abilities at your disposal instead of shooting your way through. Two of those new abilities are the drones Marcus has available to him: the Jumper and Quadcopter. You’ll receive the Jumper for free during the first few missions of the game, but the Quadcopter is going to cost you a little under $70,000 to unlock from the 3D printer located in the Hackerspace.

The Jumper, while capable, isn’t the best recon drone in the world, because it can easily be spotted by guards and other enemies. The Quadcopter, on the other hand, is much more difficult to spot and can easily get out of a bad situation to avoid detection thanks to the extreme maneuverability it has in the air. It may take you a little while to gather up the necessary funds, but the Quadcopter is an invaluable asset to your arsenal that you’d regret not purchasing as soon as possible.

Photos via Nicholas Bashore

Nicholas is a writer and content creator in Knoxville. He frequently covers video games and other consumer electronics. When he's not writing for Inverse, you can usually find him tweeting about Star Wars or streaming on Twitch.