Hands On: The Division

Tom Clancy’s The Division is at first a interesting game. Garnered from the attention on the internet people think the game won’t be any different than any other cover shooters out currently, but that’s where they are wrong. I played this game for 3 hours this week, and I’m this is something I’ll most definitely be on board with. To me at least it feels like what Destiny was trying to be, but could never accomplish their dream and I think that The Division will get close to surpass that point with the way Ubisoft is handling it.

What is Division you say? Well it’s the Brainchild of Massive Entertainment known for games such as Ground Control, and World in Conflict. The Division is something new for Massive. It’s using their in house Snowdrop engine which can make for some amazing visuals. Keep in mind that the E3 footage shown below is not on a Console rather on a High End PC, and the newer footage that has been recently released by quite a few people has been on primarily an Xbox One.

Putting graphics aside as we all know how good The Division looks. You are a part of a secret government organization known as The Division (who woulda thunk it), and you’re sent into a almost 1:1 scale of New York, packed with life like characters who look like they actually belong there. They are dirty, hurt, and most of all desperate for someone to come and help them. Everything in the game feels like it is a part of the world, and nothing seems out of place.

The world specifically is post-disaster, but before an apocalypse. What’s the disaster well we don’t know yet as we were shown a build of the game which was specifically for showing us gameplay leaving as much story as they could out of it. The story does begin around christmas, and thematically the world looks like it was prepared for christmas. With signs for sales all around the stores.

There is quite a lot you can do while playing the game. Shooting, crafting, looting, extracting, cooperating. It’s a busy game, and I wasn’t overwhelmed by any spam of icons or anything like that, but everything from the graphics to the gameplay mechanics made me expect that the combat would be similar. But that’s not the case at all. Instead the majority of the combat was more attuned to Bungie’s Destiny. Than any other Tom Clancy game you would see such as Rainbow Six Siege for a matter of fact. The time to kill between the 2 games changes drastically.

Comparing a game like this to a baby made from Destiny and Rainbow Six Vega is probably the best way to describe it. As it takes RPG elements from Destiny, and the cover system from RS6 Vegas. Now everything in the game has stats ranging from your guns to your backpack, and everything in between. Now this isn’t a bad thing as it adds a huge amount of replayability to the game which is what something like The Division definitely needs.

With the time I had with the game it flowed really well. I played a few missions with a level 5 character then jumped into a high level story mission. There was quite a few cool skills which I won’t talk about so you guys can have fun with them for yourselves. Overall the game was quite fun, and you got to remember that when you go into this game you’re not going to be getting Call of Duty Kill Times. Another thing to remember is that you can go to any area in the game. At any level. This is because the game doesn’t scale it’s enemies. So they can, and will one shot you if you think you can kill them.

In the DarkZone you’re not just facing AI you’re also going up aganist other player which can make for quite some fun. I was at one point following behind someone till they got to the extraction zone let them call it and as soon as the heli touched down. I shot him, and took his items while extracting all of mine, and his loot. Now what I haven’t seen show is that once you become a threat in the DarkZone the game will actually call a manhunt on you. This alone will make everyone in the vicinity run after you trying to kill you. Which is quite a treat.

The Dark Zone is a part of the map which was infected with the virus which the game world revolves around, and you will find different varieties of enemies all varying in difficulty, as these aren’t normal looters compared to the people outside of the DarkZone they are prisoners that have escaped, and want to take control of the city.  In the Dark Zone all the equipment you find is contaminated, and you’ll have to extract them at the extraction zones to use them at all. Unfortunately you’re not safe doing this as soon as you enter the Dark Zone you are in a PvP Zone, and anyone can shoot you. Once you do shoot someone else you’ll be marked as Rogue. Which shows you on the map and enlarges your name so people can see you across the streets.

The crafting and mod systems were quite nice, but at times a bit messy which is just asking for inventory management to be a player’s priority while playing the game. The UI might be confusing to the people not playing it, but it is quite user friendly and it does a great job of being quick at it too. It’s a take on the UI from Dead Space, but better.

The Division has been in development for quite some time. The first footage we saw was around E3 2013, and GDC that same year. Now it’s most likely been in development for over 5 years as this is an entirely new engine developed by Massive. At first nobody knew what to expect from the game other than a co-op cover shooter, but now that we have gotten our hands on the game there is a much different story at hand.

The Division Beta will start on the 28th of January to the 31st for Xbox One users, and start on the 29th for everyone else.