This is the Wild West. Or at least a modern iteration. A dystopian proxy of the American dream. Not the apple pie, Disney, white picket fence American dream. No, this is the version where the letter of law is the bullet, the good guys are never-say-die heroes, and the bad guys, meanwhile, are clear cut desperadoes. Right and wrong are as self-evident as black and white. Justice is served with ruthless impunity, and the sheriff is Judge, Jury, and Executioner. In Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, you are the sheriff.
Empire State of Mind
There was somewhat of a moral quandary present in The Division. The New York set original saw players patrol snow-covered streets as a titular Division agent. During my time in-game I remember coming across a pair of ruffians rummaging the pockets of a corpse. Upon laying my crosshairs on them, the reticle turned red, which, as we gamers know, means I’m compelled to light them up. Therein lay my problem; I never knew whether these men had actually committed any crime, yet I was obliged by the game to gun them down. I even recall one of them turning to flee, and, without hesitation, I put several holes in his back. Now the game never proffered any moral dilemma, they were just taken to be bad guys, and being put to death is their natural treatment.
This moral ambiguity is completely removed from The Division 2. The street thugs have been replaced with Mad Max-style villains. Nameless, faceless goons, who are rotten to the core. Therefore we have no problem mowing them down because they are treated as less than human. They’ve even been named “Hyenas”, to further compound this fact.
United we stand
Of course, this lack of moral questioning will probably have no effect on your time cleaning up Washington DC in The Division 2. And while I preferred the Winter/New York setting of the original, The Division 2 has caught me in its net.
You see, it’s the story behind the story that I find most interesting. The small pieces of collectible info you pick up on your travels; a glimpse into life, before and during the virus having ravaged the US capital. Sure, the crux of the game is grabbing cover, and laying waste to innumerable Hyenas, collecting fancy loot along the way. But the devil is in the detail, as they say, and in The Division 2, these details create the necessary pathos, in what otherwise would be a vacuous looter-shooter.
Divided We fall
The Division 2 is available now for on Xbox One, PS4, and Windows PC. Ubisoft has already laid out a year one plan for DLC, and the best stuff (Raids) will actually be available for free. No matter what your platform, expect a 40 plus gig download before you can suit up. Some PS4 owners apparently had 90 gig or so to download. There have been a couple of server updates already, but in my 10 hours of playtimes, I’ve encountered only one server issue, having been booted from a multiplayer game randomly. The online matchmaking has been working smoothly, and I’ve had several enjoyable encounters co-oping tough missions with random players. I have, however, also witnessed several graphical issues. These include, but aren’t limited to, enemy groups popping into existence, environment pop-in, and particle effects turning 2d.
The Washington DC environment feels suitably huge. Nearly all of my 10 hours have been in one single corner of the city, the “starting area” if you will. I’m looking forward to the much-vaunted Endgame content that Ubisoft has promised, but for now, I’m taking my time with the main story. You can expect a full review of The Division 2 soon at GamEir. For a quick look at the features of the game, you can check out the video below.