The late Tom Clancy’s name has been attached to some hugely-successful franchises in the past 15 years, with hits like Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six endorsed by the acclaimed author. Next up? The Division, an online-only action-packed RPG that looks set to provide gamers with a powerful, atmospheric exploration of mid-crisis New York.
The Division beta is now available on Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4 – but only until the 31st of January, which gives gamers the weekend to sample the game in its unfinished state. From what we’ve seen so far, The Division is shaping up to be an incredible experience, with lots to be excited about.
Here’s just five reasons we can’t wait to get our hands on the finished game …
- 1 #1: Battle it Out in a Living, Breathing World
- 2 #2: A Massive Integrated Multiplayer Experience
- 3 #3: Mind-Blowing Customization Options
- 4 #4: Turn Against your Allies on a Whim
- 5 #5: Kick-ass Action with Dynamic Environmental Assists
- 6 What do you think of The Division beta? What aspect of the game are you most excited for? Let us know!
#1: Battle it Out in a Living, Breathing World
Open-worlds are nothing new in gaming, but The Division’s is incredibly impressive.
New York’s harsh winter gives the city a beautifully-bleak look, adding to the overall ambience. The Division features a dynamic environment, with the weather changing constantly, and a day/night cycle that affects the way in which you play: would you rather search ravaged apartment buildings in darkness, or wait for daylight? The choice is yours.
Your character needs supplies to survive, of course, so that means you have to be on the lookout for any useful items littering the city: water; food; medicine; ammo; weapons; and armour. The better-equipped you are, the more likely you are to survive encounters with enemies and other players, so scouring every nook and cranny you spot is essential.
#2: A Massive Integrated Multiplayer Experience
In the world of The Division, other players take control of characters in the same environment, all armed with varying types of weaponry and gear. Wandering through the ruins of NYC with a gun in your hand might make you feel like one tough cookie, but a sudden encounter with a gang of other gamers boasting better artillery will soon put an end to that.
However, that’s not to say that all players will be hostile towards each other: a chance meeting may well turn into a ferocious shoot-out, but it may just as easily lead to a pleasant voice-chat before you team-up to tackle missions together.
This fluidity and unpredictable nature means The Division will have plenty of replay value, and keep players uncertain exactly what lies around the next corner. We’ll all have to stay on our toes – lose concentration and zone-out, and you could wander into a game-changing situation before you realise.
The Dark Zone is a separate multiplayer mode from the main campaign, pitting players against each other in a race to extract loot from the irradiated Dark Zone. This features its own progression system, so for players who flat-out suck in this mode, the core experience should remain unaffected.
#3: Mind-Blowing Customization Options
For some of us, there are few things more thrilling in a video game than changing your character’s design to create a unique avatar.
Who can deny the thrill of picking up powerful new armour in Skyrim, only to discover that it makes your Dark Elf look like an absolute badass too? It’s a real luxury of today’s game engines that we can customize our characters so, making them look the way we want them to down to minute details (recreating ourselves as we are … or as we wish we were!).
Well, The Division takes this to another level.
Not content with just giving players the chance to equip different types of armour, this game offers some of the most impressive customizations options we’ve seen. At the start, you can alter your character’s gender, skin colour, and other attributes as you see fit – nothing particularly new about this.
Beyond this, though, you can tweak your character’s outfit throughout the game, using bits and pieces of gear you find in New York. Again, while other games have provided such aesthetic freedom (Skyrim and Fallout 3 & 4 grant players a wide range of clothing choices), The Division is steeped in our world and time, meaning the gear available is a little more fashionable and, frankly, cooler: beanies; scarves; shirts; jackets; shoes; and trousers are all up for grabs.
These are purely cosmetic, and bring no additional stats or abilities – you just make your character look exactly as you want them to. This is a small touch, yes, but it helps to prevent character-models becoming stale over time; it also means that you shouldn’t feel prevented from dressing your hero in a specific style in case it reduces your attributes (unlike in other games).
#4: Turn Against your Allies on a Whim
That’s right: The Division offers players the opportunity to just open fire on your friends for no reason other than greed!
Co-operative multiplayer games typically toss complications into the mix with friendly fire – accidentally put a round or two into your pals, and they’ll either shoot back as a brief punishment or shrug it off.
In this game, you can actually change your mind about working as a team and attack your allies. While some of you reading this will find the very idea of this abhorrent, it means you should always be extra-careful about the company you keep in the game – pick someone who seems a little shady, and they may well pump you full of lead the first chance they get.
This is another unpredictable element that’s sure to keep The Division from becoming repetitive in a hurry.
#5: Kick-ass Action with Dynamic Environmental Assists
The cover mechanic is well-worn at this point, popularised by the Gears of War series and borrowed for countless other games.
Still, this element has been worked in alongside stunning environmental mechanics that assist you in tough situations. How so? Well, imagine you’re sprinting through a desolate NYC street, gun in hand, all clear ahead of you. Suddenly, a squad of enemies appear and open fire. Taking cover behind a vehicle is an obvious solution, but what about gaps between the bottom of the car and the ground? Enemy bullets can still pass through them, right?
The smart tactic: shoot the tyres so the car drops lower to the ground, giving you better cover by reducing the number of access-points for enemy rounds. This is a subtle touch that helps to make the world feel even more real, and makes both sides of a conflict consider their strategies a little better.
Other environmental structures – buildings, dumpsters, walls – provide cover, ensuring you’re rarely (if ever) left out in the open while under fire. Players with an eye for good vantage points and cover will be in their element.