- Massive Entertainment / Ubisoft
- Xbox One / PS4 / PC
- March 8th, 2016
The Division is a game that was really hyped up to release and for the first few hours of the game you’d find me saying almost nothing negative about it but going further into The Division’s brand of online MMO / open world type game play the signs start to show that not everything is as good as it first appears.
The story for The Division keeps it to a minimum, since they almost seem to know that no one would care. It takes place weeks after a plague hits NYC and you are part a team sent to help restore peace and find out how to fix the mess that the city has become. Other then that I really don’t think anyone else cared what happens in this story.
Visually as a whole the game is beautiful. Going into bright lit areas after being inside will cause your character to have to get his eyes adjusting to the light while during snowstorms you randomly get caught in you will notice your depth of perception to be almost at nothing. None of the game looks bad but soon you’ll notice that other then the main missions the majority of the map looks the same and is just the same roads with cars, parking lots, stores and such. It starts to feel mundane very quickly.
Speaking of mundane the game is a open world third person shooter MMO RPG. Now it doesn’t have to be played with others though and can be fully tackled alone. The game is set in areas based on your level full of side missions, random occurrences, and your main mission. Now complete your main mission then grind and grind to level your guy up to go the next. Rinse and repeat the entire game. Get used to missions including rescuing hostages, grabbing supplies, holding off areas, or protecting crates of supplies. A lot of it gets repetitive right away but is only there to help level your guy up and give points to upgrade your home base which then helps you get specials in 3 different areas.
One complaint though is outside of missions the game feels empty. You’ll randomly come across a group of or 4 enemies while wondering the streets but other then the NPC characters that are friendly I found myself many times running around for a minutes at a time without coming across a enemy. For being NYC even with this plague, the emptiness of it all just made it feel like a slow bother having to traverse the town.
For the repetitive missions though at last the game gets the shooting right. It boils down to a cover based third person shooter. You have you two main guns that can be fully customized along with two special abilities that recharge over time. The enemies however will sometimes use tactics to come at you while other use covers. Though for every time the enemies were smart there was another time where at least one of them would either stand out in the open or just charge right at me and stand there until he was dead. Speaking of enemies just like the missions and graphics you’ll quickly notice that there are only a handful of guys that you will be fighting over and over. Expect to a die a lot as well especially later on when you start to notice that enemies can be bullet sponges while their bullets will quickly tear through you.
As with most RPG games that involve loot you’ll quickly notice that most things only change your character in a minor way never really changing the amount of power he has. After getting through endless amounts of crap loot as well you’ll see that there aren’t many differences between the low level and high level versions of the same gun since enemies similar to your level will still just more powerful then you. Speaking of getting points to level up your base in special areas, it is a very time consuming effort doing that as you can only upgrade them at the main base, never on the go nor at any safe houses you go back. So you have to fast travel back which is a long load time, walk slowing into the building, upgrade, long load time back to where you need to go, then stroll through the street back to your objective. It’s a time consuming effort for upgrades that often times had no affect on anything I did or used. Since gaining XP doesn’t grant you skills or anything of the sort or raise your levels too, unless you leveled your base up and have good loot you could be a high level with very mediocre equipment.
Once you hit a certain level you will notice you are able to travel to “The Dark Zone” a area that holds it’s own XP level. The dark zone is a free for all, you can see other players, friendly fire isn’t around, and even if you think you are teaming up with others they can quickly kill you and take any loot you have. What the dark zone does offer is better loot (none of which I thought was better then anything I previously had). Loot is done different as well though since it doesn’t automatically go to your inventory, instead you have to go to a certain area and load it up and wait for it to be taken out of the dark zone, but as you summon your plane to take it you are open targets that can be attacked by others at any time. Now the dark zone is a good idea but playing alone it gets boring still. I found myself running through streets never running into enemy or player characters at all. I did notice however that a patch had wiped my dark zone XP back to level one however further pushing me from wanting to go back.
Overall even with good ideas and a very promising first few hours, after that The Division quickly shows it has little to offer. Little incentive to follow the game to the end mixed with odd RPG elements, a big empty world and the mediocre and equally empty Dark Zone can’t help some beautiful graphics (at times) and solid game play. The Division will go down as a game with big ideas that sadly ended up being mediocre. It’s worth a quick look for a weekend but you’ll find that your trip to this NYC will be a short one.