As an avid gamer and a fan of Tom Clancy games in general (I’ve played and beaten almost all the games with his name on it), I was SO excited to hear about this game when the first details were released and had high hopes for what could be done with this open world game from Ubisoft. Although a lot of my expectations weren’t met, I still enjoy this game and actually don’t mind the “grind” that usually comes with an open-world RPG type of game.
The Division is set in New York City in the near future where a terrorist group has released a deadly, altered form of the Small Pox virus on Black Friday by lacing US bills with the contagion so all the shoppers would contract the illness. While the majority of New Yorkers died, some people were able to stay in shelter, away from the infected bills and people who were sick; wearing gas masks/medical masks to keep from breathing in contamination after it went airborne. After people started getting sick, the public and government fell to chaos and rioting, trying to survive and succumbing to the dark nature of humanity. Once New York City was quarantined and the government fell to escaped Rikers inmates and rioters, The Division was activated.
The Division is an elite group of “sleeper” agents who are scattered among the populous as a last ditch effort to gain control of an area in the event of the fall of government in the midst of a catastrophe. Now, this premise makes me think, “oh HELL yeah!” However, there are a few things that are inconsistent with the premise and kill the immersion of the experience of playing as a Division operative.
For instance, while exploring the various boroughs of New York City, the player comes across groups of rioters, Rikers inmates, and “cleaners” (a group of enemies who thinks the best way to deal with the virus is to eradicate it and everyone else in NYC by burning everything down). Instead of having in-depth interactions with these groups such as possibly being able to trade with them or run missions for them in return for services or gear, you just run up on them like a drive-by and open fire on them. I get that you are an agent of the government who is trying to gain control of NYC, so it’s hard to say you could make deals with these people. BUT how many under-the-table deals does our government make? More than we can fathom. The point here, is that Ubisoft missed an opportunity to add even more depth and story to the game and just allowed it to be a run-and-gun, gear grinding game instead of so much more.
Along the same line of thinking as this previous point, players could have been able to make deals to do dirty deeds for these groups in exchange for being marked as “friendly” to certain factions so that you weren’t shot upon site and doing so would cause the agent to “go rogue” in areas outside of the “Dark Zone” (which is currently the only PVP area in the game).
The Dark Zone is a unique place where players can compete against one another as well as against the AI to obtain better gear and weapons to advance to higher levels and be, well, better than everyone else! Now that I’m writing this, there’s another downfall, I really don’t know what the end-game is for the Dark Zone other than to just get the best shit you can get so you don’t die as easily against other players and so that you can kill other players more quickly.
The Dark Zone is, regardless of its lack of end-game, a lot of fun. It’s a great experience when a player can get a group together of 3 other agents, go into the Dark Zone where everyone could potentially be an enemy and other players could turn out to be allies, and take out anyone that seems like a threat; constantly looking over their shoulders for the next ambush. Teamwork is a must in the Dark Zone when you start to go into the more difficult areas (DZ04-DZ07). These areas are full of level 31-32 enemies with more elites and shielded enemies, the deeper you go so all 4 players are needed to take these groups down. My issue biggest issue with the Dark Zone, is that there seems to be too few areas with “named bosses” that drop the best loot. As it stands currently, there are a handful of areas that spawn groups of enemies with a named boss that has a higher chance to drop the best loot and it gets old going from place to place, waiting for these bosses to respawn do you can do it all again. Ubisoft could have roaming groups that are like this or have the enemies spawn at random so that they end up on a random rooftop somewhere, dug-in, where it’s more of a challenge to take them out and you can’t really plan your attack and go at it the same way every time.
The Division may have a few problems and my not be as immersive and story-driven as I would have liked, but the bottom line is that nowadays, it is very hard to find a game that keeps you coming back and keeps you interested, especially without the story and immersion. I don’t believe in the modern rating system of most reviewing sites that decide to give most games that aren’t Call of Duty 7/10 or less…so I’ll end by saying that this game is great, has great graphics, and is a lot of fun. It has the LongDongSilverz (PSN gamertag) seal of approval!