Tom Clancy’s The Division has players assume the role of Division agents in which they find themselves caught up in an epic conspiracy, forced to combat not only the effects of a man made virus, but also the rising threat of those behind it.
Developer: Massive Entertainment
Genre(s): Action, MMORPG, 3rd person shooter
The initial premise of The Division is a genuinely scary one who could happen: a strain of weaponised smallpox sprayed on US Dollar bills and distributed around America ON BLACK FRIDAY (of course!!!) has lead to an unstoppable epidemic that has decimated the US. To restore peace and order, the Division is called, a collection of sleeper agents activated by the sudden crisis and tasked with restoring order and defending what’s left of the United States from an army of rioters, criminals, vigilantes, and fanatics.
The Division doesn’t waste a lot of time holding your hand. In a succinct, non-offensive tutorial to start the game in Brooklyn, you’re quickly introduced to the basic gameplay and mission structure. After a couple of short missions, you’ll be dropped into the open world of Manhattan. Shortly after a little walk around town, you’re shown your home base, that you will be building up throughout the game and then… you’re on your own to explore. It’s an open world and a falling one.
This structure to start the game feels a lot like any open world games is set up. You’ll be checking your map often as it will constantly evolve to include more destinations that you can set your waypoint to and check out. Similar to how GTA has different mission givers that you can visit, The Division has that same kind of structure with the Medical, Security, and Tech wings. Once you kick each one of them off, you’ll get a steady stream of missions and side missions to take on for them.
Playing alone is hard after the first few missions but the game is brilliantly paced, and as long as you’re staying in areas and engaging in missions appropriate to your level, you’ll find that even side missions and encounters can be really challenging, usually due to your being unfairly outnumbered. The key here is CO-OP…. playing with a group of friends (max group size is 4) is pure joy. The game missions are adapted to the group size and become much harder, even at Normal difficulty. So teamwork is the key to survive but also so rewarding. One of the beauty with The Division is… all the game can be played with friends. Compare to a lot of other games who’s allowing only side missions to be payed co-op, The Division is a true Co-op game.
I can’t talk about this amazing game without talking about the graphics. One word… STUNNING. The weather effects are part of the game. They are just amazing. When NYC is hit by a storm, you really feel it and your visibility is affected. Another hint, trying to defend the Lincoln Tunnel at sunset or sunrise can also be changeling… but it’s so well done. If you want to survive, your gameplay strategy will have to be adapted according the weather and time of the day.
Oh I forgot something…. the Dark Zone…
The Dark Zone is a walled-off quarantine zone in the middle of Manhattan, with the goal to stop the contagion of the once as flu suspected virus. Linked seamlessly with the rest of the game it is the place for PvP-fights and at the same time contains the most powerful and rarest loot in The Division.
You can enter or exit the Dark Zone (as a lone wolf, or a team – it is open to you) by overcoming certain and well-marked wall sections or gates/checkpoints (decontamination chambers). Once inside the zone you immediately lose the connection to the outside world, the agent’s com device starts to reboot and wearing a gas mask is highly advised. Contaminated items that you will find in the Dark Zone cannot be used before they are carried out by Extraction, in game selected places. If you try to leave the zone with contaminated items, but without extracting them, they will simply get destroyed at the checkpoint you want to exit it. And if you die ? You simply loose what you have found in the Dark Zone…
The PvP-Mode is not a classic multiplayer mode, as you might figure it out from other games. There is neither a scoreboard, or a team that leaves the zone as winner. But a persistent Dark Zone Rank ensures how other players perceive you and what stuff can be bought with so-called Dark Zone Currency from merchants in the zone.
In the Dark Zone you won’t only fight against AI controlled opponents, but possibly also against other agents of the SHD, in the worst case even against the allies of your own team (who turn Rogue and want your items). Fun, Fun, Fun….
However, if you are fully devoted to the single player and co-op mode experience and want to avoid PvP fights at all costs, you can safely avoid this zone. But always keep the valuable items inside the DZ in mind. Maybe some day also you will dare to go over the wall!
The stunning visual, the gorgeous weather effects, the cooperative play who’s a pure joy, the so many gears for your agent and an air-tight narrative story within a game world that is unmistakably Tom-Clancian provides a sense of purpose and urgency that makes it kinda impossible to put the controller down.
Buy this game and you’ll be like me quickly. It’s an addiction as contagious as the fictional virus sweeping through The Division’s New York City. The 3-year wait was worth it, so get out there and gear up, agent and let’s take back NYC!!!!
- Graphics are just stunning with gorgeous weather (Snow Effects) and light conditions (Sunrise and Sunset)
- All the details included making this world more alive (Easter eggs, the different areas in NYC, etc.)
- Vast open world to explore
- Very strong and deep mix of capacities, skills and abilities to play with
- Truly encourages cooperation (Communication is the key)
- Ubisoft roadmap for upcoming content for the next year… and a lot will be free 🙂
- Will missions be repetitive ??? Too soon to say….
- You need to be connected… so let’s hope the servers hold. No server, then no game 🙁
- 9 / 10