The lack of RPG’s on consoles is well noted and those of the shooter variety are even more rare. To help fill these needs comes Tom Clancy’s The Division from Ubisoft. If you are looking for an in-depth review of the game, look elsewhere. I’ll give you my thoughts on the game by writing about certain points of it.
Having not played a great deal of RPG’s, I cannot speak about those aspects of this game. The closest thing i can compare it to, both favorably and unfortunately, is Destiny. The ability to customize gear and weapons is vast. There are different levels of gear and different ways to alter them far better than anything I saw in Destiny. The Division offers ways to alter attributes of almost any piece of gear. Although it may take some time to learn and obtain the correct mod for your gear, you’ll be able to tailor almost anything to suit your play style.
For players that aren’t familiar with these type of upgrade systems, it can be frustrating and daunting at first. It took me a bit to get acclimated to it but after a while I learned what stats made a weapon work better for me and what attributes I should be focusing on.
Multiplayer is one aspect that i will give both a plus and minus when compared to Destiny.
- The plus is that there is matchmaking for just about everything. If you want to team up on campaign mission, you can. Want to find somebody just to roam the streets with? You got it. To scared to go into the Dark Zone alone? Don’t, find a buddy either via matchmaking or by asking someone you run into to join you. To make it even better, the matchmaking is easy and accessible. You can open your menu, select matchmaking, then pick an activity. If you are already at one of the social hubs, walk up to a terminal and enter into matchmaking. Whereas Destiny took a huge, and well deserved, black eye for not having matchmaking for end game activities like raids and Trials of Osiris, The Division offers a fantastic and accessible matchmaking system.
- The minus is the lack of a traditional multiplayer experience. While I see both good and bad things about the Dark Zone, it does not replace the gameplay styles that some will long for from games like team deathmatch or king of the hill. Sure you can go rogue and rage against other players but it just isn’t the same of being pitted directly against them for the top score. I personally don’t feel this absence hurts the game but I acknowledge that it may turn others away.
If you want to pile some more lumps against Destiny, compare the stories. Granted that The Division doesn’t provide an epic adventure or deeply spiritual experience but at least it tries to give some sort of reference and tone to its world. Although it sometimes can get fragmented and not directly connect it still holds together better than Destiny did. One parallel between the two games that I have is not clearly understand the ideal order of the missions that would offer the best story experience. Heck, I’m still not sure if I played the mission in the order that they unlocked.
On a technical level, the game can be both beautiful and buggy. Graphically the game is good but not great. Games like Titanfall look better but I understand that they are not offering the same scale of environment as The Division. Even with that said, the game looks very good with it dynamic lighting and objects. I’m playing on the Xbox One, which is likely considered the worst graphically, but I am pleased with the graphics nonetheless.
The audio of the game offers its own highs and lows. I love walking down the street listening to my own footsteps only to hear enemies talking in the distance thus alerting me to their presence. The game fails, however, when it repeats dialogue over and over. There is a limitation as to how many audio samples you can record and include in a project like this but it is detrimental when you are constantly passing AI’s that say the same things over and over. What is even worse is when your AI compatriots are yelling “Look out for those Cleaners. Don’t let them get too close.” even though you’ve already cleared all of the enemies and none of them were Cleaners to begin with.
The game offers some great moments at inconsistent measures. Although the campaign tries to tell the story of desperation, I found that the sense of desperation was best conveyed elsewhere. Some of the side missions and audio logs gave a better feel of the emotion of the game than anything the campaign offered. What I did get from the campaign was the feeling of success and glory when I completed a mission. This sense of accomplishment was enhanced while playing with teammates as you could all revel in your victory.
With my praise will also come my scorn. I enjoyed the story but didn’t get the resolution I wanted and I feel like the was intentionally left out as so as to make it available in DLC. I don’t like it but I can live with it. What I can’t live with is some of the bugs. Multiple times when matchmaking for a story mission the event will not start correctly. For example, in the mission where you have go through the convention center, it never opens the doors and prevents you from even starting the mission. The only resolution I’ve found is to leave the group and go through the matchmaking process again.
Another bug I’ve been effected by is one mission not completing correctly. Luckily it was a small mission that did not stop my progress but it continues to irk me. Early on in the game you are sent back to your base to complete the tutorial for your new tech wing, which I did but my mission status says I didn’t. The problem with this is that every time I spawn into the world, either when first starting the game or joining a matchmaking session, it makes this tutorial mission my active objective and draws the GPS guide to it. I have to manually go change to the correct objective so that I am not confused by the errant directions.
Even with its flaws, I excitedly look forward to playing more of the game. There is still more to explore and do in the PvE zone before any of the expansion material release. There is always the Dark Zone to ply my trade in as well. I’ll always want better loot and the desire for that will be tempered by my anxiety of never knowing if I’m safe. If you ever wander across me in the DZ maybe we can help each other out, or just pass each other by leaving each other at peace.
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A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.