Watch Dogs 2 is an action-adventure game with stealth elements and played from a third-person perspective as protagonist Marcus Holloway, a young hacker. The game features an open world environment set in a fictionalized version of the San Francisco Bay Area, an area more than twice as large as the Chicago setting from Watch Dogs. The Bay Area consists of four different areas: San Francisco, Oakland, Marin, and Silicon Valley, all of which have different characteristics and aesthetics. Players can navigate the game's world on-foot or by the various vehicles featured in the game, such as cars, trucks, buses, cable cars, motorcycles, quad bikes, and boats.

Watch Dogs 2 The game introduces a seamless cooperative multiplayer mode, in which players can meet and interact with other random players. They can explore the open world and complete missions together, which will also help players to gain followers. The game features an emote system, which allows players' characters to communicate with each other through basic gestures. The game can be played completely online or offline.