The Watch Dogs 2 skill page has tips on how to unlock them and a list of recommended skills, such as Vehicle Direction Detection, APB: Suspect Detected, Removed Gadgets, or Auto Delete.
In Watch Dogs 2, you can use the Research app, which allows Marcus to unlock new skills. The game offers dozens of different skills – below you will find a list of the most useful ones. You should get them as soon as you can because they will make it much easier to get to hidden collectibles and complete missions with them.
Requirements for obtaining new skills
Advanced skills require both research points and key data.
To get new skills, you will need research points. Basic skills cost about 2 points – the most advanced ones may require as much as 8.
Research points are awarded to Markus each time he gains enough followers to level up. Also, look for RP all over the city. On the map, they are marked with a black skull – collecting one secret gives one research point. A page containing the localization of all of them can be found later in the guide.
More advanced skills may require unlocking some of the more basic skills in the dev tree. In addition, it is also possible that you will need to obtain Key Data associated with a given skill.
Key data points are marked on the map with green skulls. Getting them is usually problematic – the details are discussed in the chapter on key data.
Which skill should you buy first?
Auto-Takedown (2 research points) – this skill allows you to break open gates and pipelines. You should definitely get this as these actions can make a difference during a police chase. Don’t forget to press the displayed button quickly when a perfect hack is possible.
Car Directional Hack lets you drive over unsuspecting enemies
Vehicle Navigation (2 research points) is another very useful skill that allows you to control vehicles in your area. By hacking this car, you can drive it. You can use this in many ways: drive over enemies, distract them, stop a car, or crash into cops who are chasing you. Using “autopilot” takes some practice, but once you learn the basics, you’ll want to use this skill a lot.
Create a Distraction (2 Research Points) – This is an inexpensive skill that has many practical uses. It can be primarily used to prevent civilians or gangsters from calling for reinforcements. It can also be used to disorientate enemies in order to attack them from behind cover or simply bypass them.
Electro Shock Device (2 research points) – This skill unlocks a new gadget that can stun more than one enemy at once. Marcus has a limited supply of these devices, but they automatically replenish after a while.
Ecological RC (2 research points) is one of the most useful skills to unlock as early as possible. It allows remote control of forklifts, cranes and hoists. This skill is invaluable in situations where you need to uncover inaccessible secrets, but it can also help provide an alternate path during missions.
Botnet Upgrade (2-6 Research Points) – All skills from the Botnet branch have the same effect, i.e. they constantly increase the number of Botnets available. Try to use the basic version of this skill as early as possible – it will add four botnets. Buying more upgrades should be considered later, especially since they cost more research points and increase the “only” number by 2.
What skills should be considered alternatively?
Gang Attack send police force on gangsters
Gang Attack or APB (4 Research Points) – These are most useful if you want to operate in stealth. You can send hostile gang members or cops to the person you have chosen. If you’re lucky, this person will be killed. At worst, you’re just wreaking havoc on the enemy’s ranks, which you can use to sneak in unnoticed. In the latter part of the game, consider purchasing the more expensive versions of these skills – Gang War and APB: Wanted Criminal. They require key data in addition to money, but they can greatly increase your chances of success.
Engine Override (4 research points, key data – obtained during one of the first main missions) – this skill adds power to any vehicle you drive. A faster car can get past the police more easily and win races with less effort. Remember, however, two things: first, use ONLY on a straight road; and second, the override gradually depletes your botnets, so you might want to have a lot of them before you get in the car.
Robot Exploitation (4 Research Points) – When entering restricted areas, you can hack the robots located there. After gaining control over the robot, you can use it, for example, to distract attention.
Chopper Retreat Exploit (6 research points, key data) – using this skill causes the police helicopter chasing Marcus to break off the pursuit and retreat. This is extremely useful during “high level” chases where losing the helicopter is the hardest thing to do.
Steady Aim (4 research points) – This skill allows you to increase the range of the teaser. Consider buying if you want to use this gadget. The increased range will be especially useful for safely eliminating guard dogs, which at short distances can smell Marcus and alert enemies with their presence.
Sleight of Hand (2 research points) – This skill reduces the reload time of weapons and teasers. The default reload time for the teaser pistol is quite problematic when you need to take out a couple of enemies within a short amount of time.
System Crash Upgrade: Blackout (8 research points, key data) is a very expensive skill. To get it, you first need to get Massive System Crash. However, it is recommended to upgrade Blackout despite all these inconveniences – this skill allows you to act secretly or hide from the eyes of the enemy in case of detection (apart from paralyzing the city’s infrastructure, any light sources in the vicinity are also neutralized). This skill only works for 30 seconds, but that’s more than enough to reach the target location.
Enhanced Spring (6 research points, key data) – This skill allows the jumper to jump higher, which is a welcome improvement. The upgraded jumper can easily reach hidden collectibles or devices that allow the system to be hacked. Lack of this skill will make reaching these places much more difficult or even impossible.
Explosive Device (4 research points) – this skill unlocks the ability to use explosives. After placing the device, you can detonate it at any time, which is useful if you have been exposed and need to eliminate a group of enemies. Marcus has a limited amount of explosives at his disposal, but they are automatically replenished.
Disabling the security system (6 research points, key data). As the name suggests, this skill allows you to disable various security systems – they do not appear in the game later. This skill allows you to minimize the risk of exposure to various local security systems.
Remote Gadgets (8 research points, key data) – this skill allows you to equip the jumper and quadcopter with explosives and stun charges. This makes these previously harmless devices capable of destroying enemies, in addition to hacking and reconnaissance. It’s expensive, but don’t forget about it when you reach a high enough level and get enough research points.
Taunt (4 research points) – A very useful jumper upgrade. Once you get it, you can equip the jumper with a loudspeaker capable of distracting enemies. You can use it to lure them out of their posts, to eliminate them safely, or just get around.