If you smooshed borderlands, Destiny and ghost recon into a blender with a well written script and an original plot you’d get the The division. Currently sat in a onesie with half a bottle of white rabbit edition JD, numerous cans of Diet Coke and some snacks. Let’s get to work.
Set in the near future, an organisation has developed a new strain of small pox and contaminated millions of dollar bills to be used during the busiest shopping day of the year. Black Friday. New York is ground zero and you are one of its residents, secretly trained by a government entity known as the Division. You have been called upon to leave your normal life behind and take back the city.
So far so good! Original setting and story annnnnd I’m queuing to use a laptop. Yes that’s right I’m queuing in a video game, not even mid way through the tutorial and I’m already fed up.
Resorted to standing in a doorway, ruining it for everyone else too until the room had cleared out.
-10 points. For the queuing.
-5 points for being able to ruin other people’s experience so early on.
The first few missions have you securing a forward base and then populating it with useful individuals that also double as the skill path engineers. Once established you’ll be able to buy weapons, gear and modifications. Depending on what upgrades you choose you’ll also gain crafting materials after certain amounts of time. It doesn’t matter what upgrades you choose as you can acquire all of them so long as you gather enough resources.
I went for the upgrades that give you 10% more XP. I want to spent the least amount of time possible grinding to max level.
Once you’ve played the first three missions and tried out all the different play styles, you need to make a decision on what skills you’ll be using most. Each skill type can be enhanced by your armor stats, in the higher levels stats make all the difference.
-5 points for making you walk very very slowly every time you enter the forward base via decontamination. It’s almost on par with mass effect 2 citadel security.
I decided on a sniper play style, using the scan and smart cover abilities to enhance my damage output, a marksman rifle for primary and a sub machine gun as secondary (just encase i get rushed).
After that I spent a few hours just running through the city enjoying the views and completing side missions / encounters. I didn’t go out of my way to find any collectibles but those i did find i was very impressed with! Certain collectibles come in the form of a batman esc detective mode that lets you see events that have already transpired. The scenes and story that play out are a great incentive to collect them all!
These holograms also double as part of a missing persons quests. I wont be going into details of the games story but there honestly isn’t much to it. More than destiny less than most shooters.
Combat – is extremely satisfying, landing a perfect head shot with a marksman rifle rewards you with a satisfying thud. Hearing that rattle as the last of your clip empties into the looter running at you with a shotgun makes your heart sink. Knowing that a single bullet can mean saving the team from wiping or completing the mission never gets old.
Combining abilities on the battlefield can be deadly, i personally like using the smart cover bonus damage, pulse damage bonus and marksman head shots to deal massive damage to bosses.
There are three factions Looters, Cleaners and the “last man battalion” (probably the worst named faction ever). Each have their own tactics and weapons. You’ll spend most of your time fighting the looters and cleaners as the “last man battalion” can be only be found on the high level areas and missions.
-10 points for the game crashing to the dashboard more often than i loose connection
Dark Zone – is the only player vs player area in the game, it ruffly covers a third of the map and is sectioned off into leveled zones to keep things fair. This is where equipment and stats matter most, you’ll spend hours coming up with the best ways off killing other players through ability and perk combinations.
There are also high level NPCs scattered around the map, the more difficult the enemy the better chance you have at getting good loot. NPCs also rush extraction zones when activated, as if they weren’t difficult enough already.
I’ve noticed in a lot of reviews / blogs the dangers of the dark zone have been dismissed since there is no benefit to playing as a rouge. But i conquer there is a huge benefit to playing as a rouge. Its fun.
There is nothing funnier than dropping a grenade at a busy extraction zone and watching all hell break loose, its even better with friends. You can combine the most damaging attacks to down large amounts of players in one go. Yes your actions eventually get you hunted down like a dog and upon death you lose a lot of dark zone xp and credits but you get to have fun.
-10 points for making the most entertaining part of the game so unrewarding within the games economy
Co-op – The division is best played with friends, for every player in your group missions are racked up in difficulty and the enemy levels are set to an average that normally balances out the difference in level you and your friends may have.
As mentioned above the dark zone is also best played in a group, running around solo usually ends in death and a rage quit.
-10 points for the lack of end game content.
The long long grind for phoenix coins and the best equipment in the game is a waste of time, once you’ve acquired it all there is nothing left to do. re-doing missions on a harder difficulty doesn’t count in the slightest.
The division gets a 5/10.
EDIT @33 hours of gameplay in
“The division” gets a 0/10 because its a pile of steaming shit.
Example: you spend 20 – 30 minutes in the dark zone hunting NPCs for loot, you are on your own and you are having a good time. You make one mistake and wind up dead, but no matter you can run as quickly as possible to the location of your death and pick up all the stuff you dropped.
But someone else beats you too it. Why the hell should they get the gear that you spent your time getting? So you kill them and get back what is rightfully yours. Because you killed them everyone in the area knows where you are, you then spend 90 seconds running around trying not to get killed but in the last 5 seconds someone finds you and gets in a few head shots. The rouge agent(s) that killed you should be shown on the map but they are not. They get away with all your loot and you’ve lost 2500 dark zone credits, 3000xp and one level because you just wanted your stuff back.
This is not fun. It’s bullshit. If i spend 20-30 minutes trying to progress in the game i do not expect to be thrown an hours worth of play time back.
Do not buy this game. It is not finished. The Dark zone is 1/3 of the map and functions as the end game content and its broken. The story doesn’t really do anything for the game, its predictable, boring and uninspired, it just gives context to your actions. What are those actions? Constant, unrewarding fetch quests.
Combat is now dull and the novelty has worn off. Everyone uses the same abilities and there are only five weapons types in the game. Enemies are dumb damage sponges and just rush you, no tactics.