As Tom Clancy’s The Division was announced back in 2013, Ubisoft has had nearly three years to whet gamers’ appetites. Despite delays, excitement has continued to build and build, so it’s unsurprising that Tom Clancy’s The Division has given Ubisoft one of their biggest launches ever. It’s easy to see why: the game has an intriguing concept, based around the breakdown of society after the Big Apple is struck by a monumental disaster.
Anticipation has obviously been high, and the game has plenty to live up to. Now that it’s finally with us, what type of experience does The Division deliver?
Social Warfare Is The Best Kind
The Division is a third-person shooter set in a snowy plague-ravaged New York. With the entire United States struck by a pandemic on Black Friday (spread via contaminated bank notes), society is on the brink of collapse, and players take on the role of a well-prepared Division agent. These men and women are in deep-cover, living what seem to be ‘normal’ lives until a crisis hits – it’s then their job to go to work and save the day.
Still, rather than being a simple plot-led solo adventure, The Division incorporates social elements, with players able to forge friendships and work together throughout the game. Not massively unlike Destiny, the record-breaking shared-world shooter, The Division throws players into an environment together and lets them decide how to proceed. It’s not strictly an MMO, but it is geared towards being a social experience from start to finish, incorporating PvP and PvE to great effect.
This sense of freedom and choice is a huge draw for The Division. Players can work with teammates to take down enemies or brave it solo, though the latter is obviously not the best approach so early on in the game, when experience is low and weaponry is as basic as it gets. Cooperating with other players allows you to confront enemies strategically, with some flanking them while the rest attack from the front. Working in squads is hugely rewarding, with players levelling-up together throughout and helping each other out in times of need.
Crafting Your Own Experience
Combat is akin to most third-person shooters, involving tactical use of cover and matching weapons to the right situation. Rifles, grenades, and various gadgets are up for grabs, including seeker mines and sonar tech that identifies enemy-locations. Working with other players to waste enemies and cover each other is fun, and co-op teams can accompany each other everywhere in the game – except for the Base of Operations.
This is a personal area for players, offering a wide variety of upgrades. Players can also store weapons and items for later use, while crafting stations allow you to build and modify guns, armour, and more. Items you already own can be taken apart to create materials, though resources also lie in wait out in the world. The crafting system is pretty easy to use, a more advanced version of the process found in Skyrim and other RPGs.
On the topic of customisation, players can design and tweak their own character to a ridiculous degree beyond basic skin and hair types, adding unique elements like tattoos, piercings, scars, and warpaints available. Throughout the game, you can find accessories like beanies, knee pads, backpacks, and more, all helping to keep the player models fresh (as games that force you to play with the exact same model from start to finish soon start to look a little stale).
The Joys Of Going Rogue
The PvE action will take up most players’ time as they level up and work through the game’s plot, but the PvP environment is sure to put a smile on many faces. Not only can teams battle each other, but players fighting side by side can turn on their allies on a whim, meaning you have to stay on your toes to avoid being blind-sided. Never quite knowing who to trust keeps the action unpredictable, and offers the freedom to take a ‘friend’s gear if they have a weapon or item you covet.
The Dark Zone is a specific area in the game designed solely for PvP encounters, and offers the opportunity to grab some of the best loot. Once a player kills another, they can extract retrieved gear and pick it up later at their base. This is a great addition to the main campaign, allowing players to have some more basic multiplayer fun, working together or simply going rogue.
The Division is an exhilarating experience, offering players a dark, engrossing storyline, gripping action, and plenty of social fun. Developing a unique character and helping to bring society back from the brink is sure to keep players hooked for months to come.
What do you think of The Division? Let us know!