Real Talk By: KJ
You control a custom Division agent sent by the government to clean up messes quickly and efficiently. A virus released into the city of New York, causing a mass quarantine. Various audio and video logs found help the player get a better grasp on the situation. However, many could be considered throwaway. Loud and obnoxious audio blurbs, shoved in-between the stuff you need. Of course, part of getting 100% completion requires retrieving them all. Ultimately a more upfront telling of the story would have been appreciated. I found myself entertained by the video files, there just isn’t enough to focus on this fresh plot. Rare to play an outbreak game that isn’t about Zombies, so we wanted more.
Even though what was shown at E3 2013 looked better, fret not, you’re still in for a visual feast. Graphics Night or Day dazzle. Cars block the streets, blinding sunsets, detailed environments and impressive weather effects. No apartment building or safe house was skimped. Civilians and other NPC’s models all hold-up. It would have been grand to have more character templates options, but the clothing choices make up for it. Beanie Hats, Jackets, Nothing in the absurd department. Your character will look like a BA in the Division. More swag can be obtained by helping the sick who roam the streets, or through vendors.
Playing the main missions can be lots of fun in Single Player or Multiplayer. Either way, you must be always online. Had a few instances in-which I couldn’t connect to the server. Several attempts met with error screens. When it happens, the game is rendered unplayable. This wasn’t a prevalent issue, but something that needed to be addressed.
The last Tom Clancy experience for me was Rainbow Six siege. Any goofy mistake in that one, would cost the player immediately. John Rambo behavior equaled a fast death. However in this title, the player is allowed some leeway. While the Division features enemies who flank and grenade toss like perfectionists, the challenge here isn’t necessarily because of the AI. When facing people out of your level, enemies absorb rounds.
It’s cool to go back and quickly dust foes who used to be a legitimate threat, but the leveling grind isn’t for everyone. I’ll admit for a Tom Clancy labeled-game, to shell-out multiple clips into a person feels off. However, there are chances for health re-gen from teammates, and other tech-tools to combat the SpongeBob-Bosses. Unlock, mix and match abilities. It enriches coop play. One person could use the tossable health pack, helping teammates close by. A few Agents could offer cover with ballistic shields, or mini-turrets. There’s even cooler abilities that I wont spoil.
While the grinding gameplay is heavy in here, your truly rewarded for the effort. Find parts to mod weapons and other items. As you get used to gear, there is always something better thrown your way. The weapons and combat is very satisfying with tight controls. One thing Ubi’s “Watch Dogs” nailed was its gunplay and cover system. This feels like an improved version of it. Shootouts have more longevity in The Division. The reason is in the map itself. Ubisoft does a great job of placing you into well-designed areas to fight. The process of adjusting to fresh surroundings, builds the excitement during shootouts.
Civilians roam a big chunk of Manhattan, but there still patches that are dangerous. You’ll put on a special mask to prevent infection and super quarantined areas. Largest being the highly touted Dark Zone.
Real Talk By: Knowledge
My initial thoughts on the Tom Clancy’s The Division’s Dark Zone were less than impressive. The amount of time spent versus the benefits were drastically different. An even larger problem was the fact people were so timid about going rogue because of the XP and currency lost if you died, would wipe out literally hours of grinding in a matter of minutes. Essentially, before the most recent patch, the dark zone was just another PvP area that dropped great loot early on and absolutely no one was going rogue.
Now, with patch 1.0.2, you can’t step into the dark zone without watching your back and being wary of every player that you see. Now, thankfully, the amount of XP and currency lost when you die in the dark zone has drastically decreased. However, this means that players are more likely to go rogue and more likely to try and kill you, taking precious loot. There are still a few problems that need to be addressed.
Blueprints for gear or weapons that are purchased in the dark zone require something called Division Tech. Division tech can only be found on random enemy drops or in various chests throughout the map. The problem is, the DTech chests around the map seem to refresh at an alarmingly slow rate, so you often find yourself unable to craft any weapons or gear that you grinded so hard to get. Also, even though they say that the high-end items have a better chance of dropping, it’s not an overwhelming difference. So essentially your picking up and extracting items only to break them down for crafting materials that you can’t use because you don’t have enough division tech to use the blueprints for the gear and/or weapons you really want. It’s a vicious cycle, that can make a player not want to even set foot into the dark zone. Especially if you’re stepping into it now by yourself.
Overall, the Dark Zone needs some help and some attention, but it would seem that the good people at Ubisoft are paying attention to the players and trying to make improvements with each patch. But for now, unless I have my squad with me, I’ll be staying out of the dark zone.
The Division is a game that takes several gameplay elements and mixes many of them together well. Linking up with friends has been an almost effortless affair. The world map is impressive, this is NYC indeed. The main story premise is great, too bad we were never fully immersed in it. Narrative woes aside, for those who love the grind of looting and leveling with awesome payoff’s, this is still one to try.
The Division Gets
3.5 Out of 5
+Smooth Coop Interface
+Fun Player Progression
-Light on Story
-Dark Zone is flawed
-The Grind isn’t for some
-Bullet Sponge Foes