After a couple delays and a few years since it’s announcement, The Division is finally here. I was never necessarily looking forward to this game, but boy am I glad I picked up Ubisoft’s new game up. It’s a third person open world shooter with fairly deep role playing elements, along with seeds of an MMO. There’s a lot to take in here and while I’m not going to be going every intricate detail in this review, I do want to talk about what makes this game work and things that hold it back.
The biggest take away you should get from this review is that the game is fun. Videos online don’t do it justice, you have to at least try this game out if you’re on the fence. Actually playing the game was a completely different experience than watching a video. Get it on Gamefly, Redbox, a friend, or just buy it; it’s worth the price of admission. The mission and side mission structure have enough variety to keep stringing you along, that mixed with compelling semi-stat based cover based shooting calls for a fun time. I have put in about thirty hours with The Division and have completed all the main missions (some more than once) and am now working on side missions to get me to the “End Game” or level thirty.
Missions have just enough backstory and narrative to feel somewhat relevant, but at the end of the day you won’t really care or know what’s going on. It’s just not that interesting. Luckily for Ubisoft, the overall premise of the game should have loads of potential to tell some fantastic stories through DLC or future sequels. Side missions are all variants of each other that get pretty old after a while if you do many in a row. Sadly that’s where I’m at. I completed all the main missions, the latter of those missions were with higher rank players that helped pull me through the missions, which were above my rank.
This will segway to the co-op gameplay, it’s a blast if you’re playing with three other friends at the same rank as you. Yes, the same rank as you. If you are rank 13 with three friends that are rank 20, the game will cater to their level and leave you in the dust. You will do limited damage to enemies and usual get one shot killed. It’s not really fun if you’re in this position, but sometimes it could be necessary if you want to complete a high ranked mission. At least you can match make each mission to get lobbied up with same rank players. This is true for every aspect of the game.
Gunplay is pretty exciting. Each class of weapons feels very different from one another, but most of the guns in those classes can feel similar. Though each gun has different pros and cons like recoil or accuracy. You can attach mods to your guns to help with different stats. There’s enough depth in the gun managing to make you care, which is great in a game like this. You also have many types of grenades and bullet types. Cover combat is the core of this game and it works great, full with flanking opportunities and suppression options.
Your character also has a plethora of skill bases options. You have perks that are automatically put into play once unlocked. Talents can be assigned to one of four slots that are unlocked through rank. Then you have your skills which directly affect gameplay. They are assigned to your bumper buttons with a third skill activated by holding both together. These can be radar’s, shields, health and ammo packs, along with a bunch of others. Your character can be tailored to one of three different paths that all feel unique in their own way.
Loot is at the forefront in The Division and you get much of it. It has that addictiveness that it should to keep you playing for next best thing and this system works much better than Destiny’s, which was to random. You will most likely get some type of gear that will be better that what you have every single time you go out into the world. You can also buy, create, and store weapons and gear at safe houses or your base of operations, which act as hubs for every player.
Speaking of the world, it’s a beautifully realized New York city that feels planted in reality. Ubisoft did a fantastic job with their direction of the city, characters, and designs. Some people are praising the graphics, while they are good, they aren’t all that groundbreaking. Ubisoft implements a cool lighting system that makes the look of the game though.
Lastly, the dark zone is the PVP segment of the game that I have only spent about an hour in. It has it’s own ranking system, sadly nothing you do in here can boost your regular rank. The game turns into a very tense one in the dark zone. Definitely go in with your friends that have your back, you will get into some brutal fights that are extremely rewarding. You can also get some of the best loot from the dark zone, if you’re able to extract it.
Overall The Division has been and is a fantastic experience. There are many ways to play the game that should cater to a wide audience. After you play the extensive single player or co-op missions of the core story, there is the competitive dark zone that will have players playing for months to come trying to outdo each other. Hopefully future updates can make the End Game worthwhile for players who don’t want to go into the dark zone and want to stick to the main game.
I give The Division a 4 out of 5.