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Investigations are side missions in Watch Dogs, accessible during open-roam/non-story mission play.
Investigations are a series of side missions that both expand the backstory of the game universe and its characters. As the player progresses through each investigation, aside from earning XP, a series of audio logs are unlocked as well a variety of exclusive vehicles and weapons. The majority of investigations also include a final mission to conclude each side-story, unlocking Achievements and Trophies for each series.
Each investigation features a specific icon on the player's map with locations ranging across the entire length and breadth of Chicago. Excluding the final missions, there is no specific location order required with the next sequential audio log/reward unlocked no matter the order visited. The locations of each investigation stage are revealed as Aiden unlocks CTOS Towers in each area, though the locations are fully accessible if the player knows where to look.
Though possible to complete many of the investigation stages early, a number of the final missions will not trigger until the player has progressed far enough in the story missions, with one investigation series entirely locked off until almost halfway through the game.
- Burner Phones - Aiden has to search for burner phones discarded by Maurice Vega. Collecting seven phones awards the Vespid LE vehicle. Collecting all eight unlocks the "Sanity Check" achievement/trophy.
- QR Codes - QR Codes are scattered around the city by a hacker with ties to DedSec. Collecting 16 codes will unlock the Gangster SMG. Collecting all 17 and completing the final mission will award the "Read-only" achievement/trophy.
- Missing Persons - Aiden must track down a serial killer preying upon Chicago. Locating six of the missing people awards the Wildfire assault rifle. Finding all seven and completing the final mission unlocks the "Darkness Looms" achievement/trophy.
- Weapons Trade - Aiden must locate caches of stolen weapons as he digs into a weapon smuggling operation. Locating nine of the weapon crates awards the silenced Spec Ops Goblin assault rifle. Collecting all ten crates and finishing the final mission unlocks the "Saturday Night Special" achievement/trophy.
- Human Traffic - Only accessible after completing Act II mission "A Risky Bid", Aiden must track attendees of auction to ultimately shutdown Lucky Quinn's human trafficking operations. Hacking 10 buyers and briefcases will unlock the exclusive Magnate LE vehicle, while hacking all briefcases and completing the final mission will award the "Revoking Client Privileges" achievement/trophy.
Completing all five investigation series also awards the "They Call Him The Vigilante" achievement/trophy.
The Palace Pack DLC also offers a bonus investigation series:
- Black Market Hard Drives - Accessible after completing the exclusive mission "The Palace", Aiden must track down ten hard drives with sensitive information stolen by Danny SoSueMe. Unlike the other investigations, the Black Market Hard Drives investigation merely offers the opportunity to earn additional XP as each are found rather than any special reward or achievement for completion. Likewise this investigation does not effect or count towards the "They Call Him The Vigilante" achievement/trophy.