The Division: Review

We’re starting to enter a new era of games. The Quasi-MMO games. Destiny was the first, and now, The Division enters the fray. An RPG with MMO elements, but without the massively multiplayer environments and engagements like in games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic or the beast that is World of Warcraft. The Division, as opposed to Destiny, is a third person cover based shooter, based in the modern day after a pandemic in the city of New York. But is it any good? Does it work as this new type of multiplayer shooter? 

For the most part, it succeeds in spades. Approaching the game as what it’s designed for, multiplayer sessions, it’s a fantastic shooter with really interesting concepts. The fact that you can change your “class” on the fly is a great addition, allowing you to not only try out everything and make a mismatch class, but it allows you to change things on the fly to adapt to the situation presented before you.

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The setting of The Division also works to the benefit of the game. There’s an insane amount of detail put into the streets of Manhattan that the game is set, and although it’s a fairly limited slice of the city, it still feels like it’s large, and of course could be added to in content updates down the line. From adverts, to bodies littering the ground, to literal garbage bags everywhere, the game feels like New York has been brought to it’s knees due to the virus that has been unleashed on it. Although it’s obviously not the case, it also feels like if you need to or want to, you can go inside buildings at your will. Whether that be a garage for parts, an electronic store or just some random persons apartment. It adds a lot of depth to the environmental storytelling that the game does so very well.

One way The Division tells it’s story in the best, and most unique, way is the Echo system. Around the city you will find certain spots that will allow you to play a replay of a situation that has happened before you arrived there. Rioters causing havoc, strange things going down or even just previous agents of the Division who were encountering the residents before you. They’re interesting to look at and help you immerse yourself in the world presented before you. Aside from that, CCTV footage, cell phone recordings and other collectibles around the streets help you piece together what life was like during the intial outbreak and the chaos that ensued afterwards. It does a very good job of establishing this world the developers hope you spend a lot of time in.

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In terms of combat, it can be hit or miss for some people. While the Tom Clancy games have been known for their authenticity, The Division decides to lean on the RPG aspects of the game. For the statistics on gear to work, such as your firearm skill that helps you do more damage, bullets to the head of an enemy will not instantly kill them. For some people, this is a game breaking feature, for others like myself, it’s something that you can eventually get used to. If you can get around that, the combat is fun and most importantly to me, feels much more tactical like the golden days of Rainbow Six 3 and the original Ghost Recon games.

Encounters can be planned out and engaged at will, and superior tactics and communication with your team-mates can lead you to victory in almost every encounter, no matter how challenging it may be. Changing skills on the fly, picking skills that benefit and compliment the others that your team-mates pick, flanking the enemy and knowing when to take cover are all extremely important. It feels good, and it’s enjoyable even 30 hours into the game.

I’ve hit max level, and I’m exited to see what lies forth in the end game content in the Dark Zone and in the future. I’m still eager to play after 30+ hours, and to be completely frank, I feel this game does what Destiny tried to do better. I’ve never felt like there wasn’t much to do, it doesn’t feel like I repeated too many activities and it feels like it took me much longer to reach max level without having finished all the story missions.

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So would I recommend The Division? Yes, definitely. If you’re into a bit more of a tactical shooter and like your looting games, The Division does it all extremely well. It does a great job of creating a world that’s close to home and feels like it could potentially happen. It has characters that don’t feel shoehorned in to satisfy a certain demographic and it has an interesting story surrounding the whole thing. It’s got more coming in the next couple of months for free, and I’m excited to see what’s in the future for me and my battle bros to find.

 

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  1. Are Shooters Stagnant? | Sitoxic Gaming

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