Review: The Division

Posted on by Dale
SCORE 4.5 / 5

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The Division is easily Ubisoft’s biggest game. Having smashed the record of Destiny’s New IP launch day sales and still climbing, the game is looking good to consumers. The game itself is a third person shooter. Not your typical Halo or Call of Duty, it plays more similarly to Gears of War with the run and cover system but once in cover that’s where it changes. The game is set in New York City, Manhattan to be more precise. A virus similar to smallpox but, much stronger, has been spread across the world at different large cities through money causing death and chaos across the globe. Manhattan is being overrun by rioters, Cleaners, Rikers, and the Last Man Battalion, the latter being the hardest group to take down. There’s a lot to breakdown to really be able to tell if this game will be amazing or a total flop so lets dig in.

Gameplay
The Division uses an over the shoulder camera angle that really allows for the player to feel a bit more into the action. Watching your character run between cover while in a firefight is one of the most intense but satisfying experiences I have had. Early on in the game I had some issues though while i was behind cover of trying to shoot someone at an odd angle from where I was looking. Little did I know then that you could press down on the left thumbstick to swap your gun from shooting with your right hand to left hand. This to me really helps with adding a more life like experience. The shooting mechanic at first is a bit different to get used to. I have been playing more Destiny, Call of Duty, and Halo recently, so this new combat system was a bit tricky. Once I got a hang of the gun having realistic recoil and being able to mod my guns with compensators or vent brakes I was able to really dial in my precision. The ability to aim down scope with snipers is a nice addition for long range situations as well. The game does have a loot system similar to Destiny’s in a way with it being color coded. The loot system can be a bit silly with purchasing a new gun and then finding that same gun only a few moments later only it ends up a bit better than the one you bought. I’m not a fan of that but at the same time, it is a better gun that I have which is extremely important.

There is a lot of trash and a lot of disbanded cars in Manhattan.
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There is a lot of trash and a lot of disbanded cars in Manhattan.

The game is definitely meant to be played with a group of friends. I have managed to make it through plenty of missions on my own, but having some people to talk to and enjoy the game with really does help any experience. Especially since a lot of the voice acting gets repeated and you will find yourself growing tired of hearing it in a long session of gaming. The good news is that The Division have managed to make a great system of being able to join into a group and leave easily. The group manager is one of the best I’ve seen in awhile. The fact that I can leave my group and kill my own friends in The Dark Zone is a huge plus in my opinion because it just allows for more freedom than other games are willing to provide. I was easily impressed with the smoothness of the gameplay provided in The Division with working together with your group. An issue that this can cause however is having different people of different level. If they are a higher level than you are it will take the mission’s enemies you are facing to their level. Say they are level 30 and you are still trucking along around 15. This can cause some serious issues and I hope they can resolve this in a good way at some point. The AI in this game are a bit too good in some cases. If you can’t see them through a snowstorm they can still see you somehow and snipe/shoot at you with almost no issue at all. I believe this needs to be resolved because it creates an unfair advantage for them.

The Dark Zone is a PVP enabled environment.
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The Dark Zone is a PVP enabled environment.

Another aspect of gameplay is The Dark Zone. The Dark Zone is a pvp enabled area where you can find great loot and have to extract it out via helicopter in certain extraction zones. With that being said there are a lot of interesting things that can happen within the Dark Zone because of this. It is absolutely a love hate relationship for me and this part of the game. I am normally a lone wolf type of person, although when its vs two or more a lot can happen. Especially when the other group is not rogue at the time so they seem friendly. I quickly realized that in The Division you can not trust anyone. If that helicopter is coming and you have not extracted your gear you need to be on high alert. The Dark Zone items that you have not extracted do drop for other players to pickup. That being said it is one of the best and worst things of the dark zone. I have lost a lot of stuff that would have helped me but I have also gained a lot of stuff for killing other players. It is absolutely better to go into the Dark Zone with a group. A group that you can trust. Anyone can leave your group and go rogue to kill each other to gain their loot. You can lose a lot of friends quickly here. The Dark Zone has enemy AI running around and treasure to find as well in locked chest so there is more than just PVP here which is what keeps me coming back. I personally enjoy the Dark Zone a lot.

Graphics
The game has you start out customizing your character and then from there letting you explore the map a bit. When you see your face is actually looking into the window of a taxi cab and you begin looking around the developers really wanted to make a point of how good this game looks. They did a fantastic job all around. The buildings are detailed to feel big and for you to feel as though you are in the city. Everything feels right when you look at it, even the snowstorms that come through are well done and frustrating. You can’t see anything through them but yet the lighting stands out somewhat as it should and again just feels right. The snow even gathers up on your jacket and cap if you are wearing one. The fog will roll in as well although the fog in the game is not as brutal as a white out. The Dynamic Weather system runs smoothly through it all, not effecting FPS that I could personally tell of. Here’s a couple of screenshots to show off the game’s fantastic graphics.

Don't mind that this is from the Beta. The graphics still hold true to the actual release.
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Just taking a stroll through the streets of Manhattan can be breathtaking.

The Break Down
Alright, so after covering a good bit of what this game has to offer I will say it has some faults that keep it from getting a perfect score. The voice acting feels limited and you do hear it often. The AI can have an unfair advantage in snowstorms due to whiteout conditions, and the AI’s level can increase to far if you are a lower level than your buddy that is playing in your group. This can cause a good bit of issues for you throughout that mission of dying a lot and with ease. Aside from those issues the game does play well, it has fantastic graphics, and is a game that will hopefully continue to evolve and get better with time. For now though the game gets a 4.5 out of 5 due to the couple of issues holding it back.