Going into the beta for The Division, I had no idea what I was in for. I had only paid half attention to the game after feeling disappointed by some previous Ubisoft games. After a friend of mine told me to look into the game as a potential co-op game, I put the $5 down on a pre-order at Gamestop so I could play the beta and finally understand what The Division was all about. Needless to say that I am happy with the game that Ubisoft is putting out. Will The Division be a game worth playing? Let’s run through some aspects of the beta and find out.
The Division is a third-person cover shooter RPG that takes place in New York. In some ways, I’m reminded of the fun that I had with the Mass Effect series. Changing from cover to cover is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. For the Xbox One version, it’s a simple matter of looking where you want to go and holding down the A button. Players will have to keep a watch on the NPC enemies since the AI will know how to flank at times. This makes combat challenging on the “Hard Mode” dungeon-like areas. It’s safe to say that players should not attempt the mode unless you have people playing with you.
The scope of the city in the tiny portion of the map that is available in the beta is impressive. It took me quite a good couple of minutes to travel from the starting area of Camp Hudson to the Base of Operations. Once I got to the base and helped the JTF (Joint Task Force) clear it out, I was able to set up my own little headquarters. This base will allow players to earn new skills and skill mods by setting up different three different wings (medical, tech, and security). Players will also be able to find vendors here with inventory that changes every so often.
While combat feels fun to me, the sounds of The Division is one of the best things about it. Using a new headset that I was lucky enough to receive this past Christmas, I was able to enjoy the main sounds and the ambient sounds of the game. At one point, I was able to hear something that resembled a jet (only heard and not seen) as it flew overhead. The guns also pack a punch as they are fired at the enemies. There is a definite difference between each type of gun. The only one that I was slightly disappointed in was the shotguns. I feel like they should feel more powerful than they are.
As I was going into The Division, I wasn’t aware of how the game would be for each player. I thought that we be able to see other players on the streets of New York. That didn’t turn out to be the case. Each player actually gets their own instance of New York. Friends will be able to join in and make the game a co-op experience. The only time you see other players is in the Dark Zone. This means that the game can be played completely solo.
Does the game have PvP? Yes, it does, but it’s not in the traditional sense. When you go to the Dark Zone, you can seek out NPC enemies and get loot as it drops. Loot gained from the Dark Zone must be extracted in order for it to be “cleaned” since the area is contaminated. However, you can be attacked by another agent for your loot. Once a player shoots at another, they are branded as a rogue agent. These players are given a skull for an icon and other players will know where they are. In my time spent in the Dark Zone, my friend and I saw, at least, six other players. One of them started following us trying to learn where to go. We killed some enemies, got some loot, and got a clean extraction. As went for another loot run, a swarm of rogue agents showed up on the mini-map and we tried for another extraction. The rogue agents finally managed to kill us after we got our second set of loot out of the area.
If still haven’t checked out the game, here is some gameplay that my friend made. The last bit of the video is when we did the “hard mode” Madison Square Garden instance.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by The Division. I was unsure of what to think of the game before I played the beta, but now it is a must play for me. I am hesitant to drop the $60 on it since the game can in some ways be compared to Destiny. I think Ubisoft has a good thing going for them with The Division and I really want it to be good. I also feel conflicted with the game. Will it have a story that makes sense? Will the game have lasting power? I hope both of those answers are yes. My friends and I really need a new co-op game since we keep blowing through all the updates in GTA Online in no time flat.
I am an aspiring journalist with dreams to make it to the conventions and play with the big boys of the game industry. When I’m not writing about games, I’m playing and enjoying them. Some say that I have an obsession, but I don’t. I have a really expensive hobby.