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Watch Dogs pits a lone hacker against criminals, mercenaries and SWAT teams. The odds are stacked against Aiden Pearce but there are plenty of things that players can do to level the playing field.

Here are some of the best strategies I picked up while playing through Watch Dogs. They should make your journey through the mean streets of Chicago much easier.

Upgrade Your Hacking Skills First
Upgrade Your Hacking Skills First
Watch Dogs' skill tree lets you advance Aiden's driving, shooting, hacking or crafting skills. All four areas are useful but I'd suggest putting your first skill points into the Hacking category. Specifically, you should unlock the abilities to control gates, bridges and bollards.

Why? Because the most challenging parts of Watch Dogs are the car chases. You'll often find yourself being pursued by multiple vehicles. Outrunning them solely with skilled driving doesn't work too well. Watch Dogs cars tend to drift a lot so you're bound to make more mistakes than the A.I. chasing you. Furthermore, the skill upgrades in the Driving category don't improve your handling much.

The most reliable way to get escape other vehicles is through hacking. Open a gate, drive through, and then shut it behind you. Raise a bridge as you approach and jump the gap. By expanding your hacking skill to more electronics, you're giving yourself more escape options.
Get In The Water
Get In The Water
The Chicago Police Department apparently suffered some steep budget cuts in Watch Dogs. They don't own a single boat. It's illogical and unrealistic but also really helpful to you.

If you're having trouble shaking the police through normal means, just drive to the coast. Hop in a boat if you can find one but otherwise just leap in the water and swim away. The cops will be helpless to stop you. Find a fast enough boat and you'll be able to zip out of the search radius and go back to your normal business.

Helicopters can still cause problems, of course. This is another reason for you to upgrade your hacking skills early. There's a hacking ability that lets you disable a chopper for 15 to 30 seconds. Use this window of time to hide under a bridge or in some other enclosed area. Certain boats are also quick enough to outrun helicopters as long as you have enough open water ahead of you.
Hide In The Train
Hide In The Train
If you can't reach the water during a car chase, get to the train tracks. You can get in the L-trains at a station or stop them wherever you want with a hack. Hacking them also opens their doors so you can get inside easily.

L-trains, like the water, is a blind spot for Watch Dogs' enemies. They don't know how to get on the trains. I've seen lines of SWAT personnel walk up the stairs to the platform and then stand there. Occasionally they'll spot you and take a few shots but you're relatively safe from harm.

Again, the helicopter can be a pain in the ass. What further complicates matters is that you can't disable choppers while you're in the subway car. Just hop out at a station, use it, and hop back into the train to lose them. It'll take some waiting but the cops will eventually give up on you.
Use Your Crafting Materials
Use Your Crafting Materials
The Crafting category of the skill tree is worth a few points when you've built up enough hacking abilities. The items you can create with materials found in the field or purchased through stores can turn the tide of a battle.

Let's take, for example, Blackout. This item, which knocks out all the lights in a given area, has saved my skin multiple times. Watch Dogs loves throwing huge groups of enemies at you and Blackout is a great trump card. It gives you an easy escape route or lets you to take out multiple enemies before they even know what's happening.

Explosives are hugely useful as well. It's not just because they can help clear out groups of enemies real quick. Later in the game you'll start encountering enemies in heavy armor. A well-placed bomb can save you plenty of bullets and health.

It's tempting to hoard crafting materials. However, you're going to end up with more than you know what to do with. Why not put them to good use? They'll make your life a whole lot easier.
Play The Side Missions
Play The Side Missions
The side missions in Watch Dogs are very worthwhile. Completing them will unlock new weapons, vehicles and abilities to help you progress through the campaign.

Even if you don't want to 100% the game, I'd recommend at least completing each side mission once. The first time you beat a particular type of side mission, you'll unlock a reward. For example, stopping one crime will boost your weapon swapping speed. Clearing a Gang Hideout will unlock the AK-74 rifle for your arsenal.

The other rewards will be given out when you complete 5, 10, or 20 of those missions. You might get bored before getting those freebies. There's at least one late reward worth pursuing, though: the Spec Ops SMG-11. This silenced submachine gun, unlocked by wiping out 10 Gang Hideouts, can be a godsend in missions where you want to stay stealthy.
Spend Your Money On Guns
Spend Your Money On Guns
Money in Watch Dogs is primarily used for two things: cars and guns. If you want to get the most value for your money, I'd recommend spending more on the latter.

Don't get me wrong, a good car can be useful. The thing is, though, you don't often get to choose what vehicle you use for a mission. Fixer contracts, for example, force you to drive specific cars. It's only worthwhile to buy one high-end car for your collection, if that.

The right weapon, however, can make a mission trivial. For example, a Criminal Convoy can be taken out in a matter of seconds with a grenade launcher. Aiden has bottomless pockets too so you can carry a wide range of weapons to suit every situation. Having a weapon of every type also ensures that you'll make full use the different kinds of ammo you find along the way.

To make it easier to assemble an arsenal, check the gun stores for sales. They'll usually have a weapon or two available at a nice discount. This price cut can be enough to help you get a weapon that keeps you ahead of the game's difficulty curve.

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