Game Review: Tom Clancy’s The Division

the-divisionA devastating pandemic sweeps through New York City, and one by one, basic services fail. In only days, without food or water, society collapses into chaos. The Division, a classified unit of self-supported tactical agents, is activated. Leading seemingly ordinary lives among us, The Division agents are trained to operate independently of command, as all else fails. Fighting to prevent the fall of society, the agents will find themselves caught up in an epic conspiracy, forced to combat not only the effects of a manmade virus, but also the rising threat of those behind it. When everything collapses, your mission begins.

The Division, Ubisoft’s latest release for PS4, XBoxOne and PC, is an MMO-style RPG 3rd person shooter set during winter in New York City.  As a Division Agent, you are tasked with bringing law and order to the chaotic streets while investigating the cause and eventual cure for “The Green Poison or The Dollar Flu”; a mutated form of Smallpox.

As soon as I logged in, I was greeted with the stunning visuals of NYC streets and started feeling immersed right away.  From the ambient noises and dynamic lighting as well as a day/night cycle that can actually affect combat, I was in deep.  A gripping storyline and easy to use controls kept me logged in for over 7 hours the first night and over 10 hours the next day.  As I kept playing through single player missions, the game eventually forced me to join up the-division-2with others to complete a larger mission.  Having been here before in other games and knowing that pick-up groups in games can be a lesson in aggravation, I was curious to see how my team would shape up.  Once the team was formed, I was surprised to hear all three of my team mates had microphones and were ready to work together.  Fourty five minutes later we were a well oiled unit, setting up crossfire, ambushes and proper flanks.  I was in heaven.  I quickly added these fellows to my friends list and with a team behind me, we were unstoppable.  

Once outside of safehouses, the world is set for a single player with all other players in their own instanced version of the world unless you are actively grouped with others, then you can roam the city as a group making grinding the missions fun and engaging.  Then we came across The Dark Zone.

The Dark Zone is a quarantined area of NYC where enemies are exceedingly difficult without a team and other agents can go “rogue” and assault you (basically PVP) and take your hard earned belongings.  The gear drops are much better but the dangers are greater.  I still hesitate to venture too deep into the DZ.

the-division-3Game controls for the PS4 were set up in a mostly classic configuration that makes for smooth combat sequences and instinctual gameplay.  I did, however, have to discover a few controller moves on my own, the control tutorial was a little lacking in some details.  The crafting system could also use some more instruction, but any dedicated player can go to YouTube and watch a few folks explain the details.  And then there’s my headshot dilemma; in most shooters, quite a few fights can be ended with a single well-aimed headshot but in The Division, even low level enemies can take four to five shots straight to the top and still keep coming.  I heard someone refer to the enemies in The Division as bullet sponges.  Few complaints aside, Ubisoft has three expansions planned so far and I cannot wait to see what upgrades and changes they bring.  

So this game.  This GAME!  Action packed co-op third person shooter MMO style?  Yes please.  I’m off to play more.

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FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2017
Copyright 2012 Beazley Entertainment
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