Tom Clancy’s The Division has broken launch records and generated $330 million globally in the first five days, but how does the game fair overall?
The Division drops you into a recreation of New York City which is simply stunning despite the lowered graphics and bleak, trash-littered streets. The attention to detail is amazing and the open world environments capture the chilling and desperate vibes incredibly well.
After a cinematic intro, you are set to create your Division agent, which is one of the few lack luster components of the game. You’re given a handful of stock heads and some pretty meager accessories to try and make your male or female agent feel like your own.
You can always restart with a new agent, but choose a look wisely if you’re into character vanity, as you won’t get an opportunity to change your character’s appearance again. If you have sunglasses on, you’re stuck rocking those shades for the length of your agent’s campaign.
It would be nice if some safe houses possessed the option to wash away any war paint regrets your Agent may have made or kick back and take your shades off.
However, if character creation is one of the bigger disappointments of the game, I think we can all look past this issue and enjoy what the game has to offer—a strategic, open-world, shooter experience with RPG elements. In many areas, Tom Clancy’s The Division delivers.
The Division is a game that can truly be enjoyed whether you play solo or co-op. The game feels fun when running strategic missions with a squad of friends, but becomes eerie and even more rewarding when conquered alone. The side missions do become repetitive, but the main missions are the highlights.
Admittedly, the AI’s combat system isn’t one of the brightest you may have seen, nor are they the worst enemies you could encounter. Sometimes hostile NPCs will aggressively rush you with bats and other melee weapons, sometimes they are shielded and keep to cover. However, after a few hours of fighting enemies, you soon realise the combat system is very repetitive and predictable, yet, I still found it hard to stop playing.
The Division can compel you to mow down countless enemies and complete every objective possible in order earn credits to fully upgrade the Base of Operations and find as many loot drops as possible. The grind for better gear is real, and you’ll want to do so before venturing off into the PvP Dark Zone.
Since the skills, talents, and perks used to beef up your agent are not tied to experience points and instead unlocked as you upgrade your Base of Operations, there can be a slight feeling of unbalance in the game. You can be very unlucky with the quality of your weapon and gear drops, but be completely maxed out with your skills if you’ve fully upgraded your base.
Of course, the crafting option comes in handy if your agent requires better weapons and gear. Crafting is also pretty straight forward in the game. You get blueprints, you scavenge materials or dismantle unnecessary items, and you create better items at the crafting table inside the base.
However, what I believe to be the biggest issue in The Division exists in the co-op aspect. Here you have a game which brings a wonderful co-op experience, but only if your friends are close in rank. For example, if you’re a level 30 agent and join a level 6 friend to help them out, be prepared to do all the work for them. The enemy level auto balance—which ironically isn’t very balanced at all—as soon as you join your friend’s squad. A level 30 teamed up with a level 6 agent will give you level 24 or 25 enemies. Yes, the lower level player will get more XP and level faster, but this doesn’t seem like a fun way to play cooperatively with your friends, especially if you’re the level 6 getting instantly killed by enemies.
Despite this, everything else runs pretty smoothly in The Division, and I’ve personally only encountered a few bugs or glitches. Several squad mates have somehow wedged themselves into walls, trash piles, lamp posts and more, but they have always been able to fast travel in order to get out of the jam.
I have personally fallen through the floor of the map in several different places during one mission, but Ubisoft have taken the game offline a few times for maintenance, and I’m sure we’ll see patches to further improve the experience.
For the PvP, I think the Dark Zone definitely saw an improvement from the beta with added NPCs lurking just about everywhere. Even if you don’t encounter rogue agents trying to steal your loot, you still feel a great threat within the mass amount of NPCs trying to kill you. Medical skills and the scanner come in handy for the Dark Zone—an area where you probably don’t want to be a lone wolf—but add those skills with good use of the game’s cover system to survive.
The ability to fast travel is not available in the Dark Zone, which in some ways is understood but can also be quite frustrating. I’m sure the PvP zone would be far less stressful if you could easily fast travel back to your death location and scoop up your gear while your squad mate stands nearby. However, in turn, it would also be far less rewarding.
The Dark Zone is a place you’ll either love or hate, but is still pivotal in your hunt for better gear. Ubisoft have announced an unknown feature will be added to the treacherous PvP zone in an upcoming DLC, which I think is a smart move to keep the area from becoming stale. Hopefully the addition will be something that adds more replay value such as random events or challenges.
Despite certain downfalls, The Division is still a great shooter-hybrid to lose yourself in and there’s no reason it won’t continue its groundbreaking success, as long as Ubisoft listens to their community.
So if you appreciate a strong, cover-based shooter and don’t mind grinding for the best gear, I would definitely recommended Tom Clancy’s The Division.
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