Given the hours needed to fully delve into The Division 2, I’ve split the review into two parts. The first, focused solely on the single-player campaign, and the follow-up, which will deal with end game content, dark zones and multiplayer.
It’s been 5 hours since I last set foot on friendly territory. I’ve been waging war on two fronts; one side against maniacal Hyenas, the other against despotic militia men, the True Sons. A trail of destruction lays in my wake. Former enemy strong points littered with corpses, thousands of shell casings scattered along the ground. The city block is deathly silent… A voice rings out. Tinny, distant. Sounds like a speaker. A chill goes up my spine. I already know the nature of this broadcast. The Hyenas have been holding public executions on the streets of Washington DC. Innocent people brutally put to death. Guess these boys hadn’t heard there’s a new sheriff in town. Best go introduce myself… Welcome to Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.
And I looked, and behold, a pale horse…
In Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, you will be an absolute badass. A nonspeaking, unflinching, gun toting, ball cap wearing, dealer of death. Wave after wave of enemy soldiers will fall before your never-ending, high velocity, armour piercing, fury. Be it by well-aimed sniper rounds, precision-placed explosives, or bullet-hose machine guns, you will stand atop piles of enemy corpses, triumphant. Were they all bad? Were their hearts truly evil? We shall never know. All we know is the kill.
If you’re looking for context amongst all this slaughter, you’ll have to search for it. Narratively speaking Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is basically Tom Clancy’s The Division. Although the setting has moved from New York to Washington DC, and the game takes place 6 months after the first, we are never given enough depth to empathise with the city’s remaining inhabitants. Our nameless, voiceless, agent, will carry out missions to aid the various friendly settlements around DC. In doing so, we also push back the enemy gangs and make safe the streets again. The keen-eyed agent, will, along the way, discover various collectible intel, which is where the player learns most of the game’s plot. It is worth sifting through the collected items, however, as the material can be well written, and features solid voice acting.
…and his name that sat on him was Death.
Mechanically I can’t fault The Division 2. Character movement is smooth and responsive, the various weapons feel appropriately weighted when running and gunning, and the cover system rarely frustrates. In fact, it’s a game of cover or die. Exposing your agent to even 2 seconds of incoming fire will lead to a rapid depletion in body armour. A new addition for the franchise, body armour is now your agents first line of physical defense, before their squishy health bar. Consequently, you can carry several spare body armor kits, which can be used to fix up depleted armour mid-mission. This leads to some nice organic tension, hiding beneath a hail of fire, desperately trying to armour re-up before the enemies take advantage. The loot drops meanwhile, which have been the downfall of recent looter shooters (Anthem), are varied, and feel genuinely rewarding.
Character customisation operates at the level we’ve come to expect from modern titles. By that I mean that options are plentiful, and you can mould your operator to your liking. The parameters for customization are all within reason however, and you won’t be creating any ethereal monstrosities. When it comes to evolving your protagonist, levelling up falls into two main categories: skills and perks. Skills are technology based abilities. These can be used an infinite number of times, although some come with lengthy cooldown timers. Perks are permanent character boosts, that add an extra dimension to levelling up. These can include weapon improvements, increased carrying capacity, or XP boosts.
Compounded to all these character options are the base management features. Along your journey you will discover and aid various new settlements, and, through missions, upgrade them. This all follows a fairly linear path, but it does give much needed meaning to the whole “Go there, kill those guys” dynamic.
and Hell followed with him.
Although I have stated before I preferred the New York setting ahead of Washington DC (I’ve always favoured winter over summer), that doesn’t mean the actual environments are worse. In fact, they are much improved. No two levels will really feel the same. There are stand out instances in the American History Museum, the downed wreckage of Air Force One, and of course, an assault on Capitol Hill. Even the much-maligned side missions have become interesting, and fun to play.
We can commend Massive/Ubisoft on how smoothly the launch of The Division 2 has been. A large initial update aside(40+ gig), most people have encountered very few problems in-game. In my 30 hours or so, I was booted from the game only once, while never having login issues. There are some glitches, however, and this will probably vary case by case. I’ve witnessed assets(including enemies) popping in, random character movement glitches, and some erratic loss of sound. But in all my time, these instances can be counted without taking my socks off and didn’t dent my enjoyment too much.
And power was given unto them…
“How about them guns though?” There are loads of them, and they feel well balanced, and as previously stated, weighty. Effectively this means that enemies will be affected by rounds impacting them. The effect is even specific to where you hit them, and what caliber of round you’re firing. Similarly, even the heavily armored “bullet-sponge” enemy types, can have their armour stripped in specific points, giving you bullet-access to the soft flesh underneath!
Levels do matter. Tackling a mission one level above your own can lead to a tumultuous challenge, go two up, and you’ll most likely be ganked. It’s a similar situation with weapon and kit levels; utilising gear below your character level will lead to reduced success. Again this is where the balancing of the game is well executed; the challenge stays consistent throughout.
For the love of Pete wrap it up already!
It’s safe to say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with The Division 2. I will further cover the online aspects in another article, but, taken as a single player campaign game, The Division 2 is leading the pack for 2019. There’s a lot of depth and variety to the missions, the loot is interesting, and rewarding, while the mechanics leave nothing to be desired. I would like a more worthwhile connection with the NPCs, and the narrative is somewhat lacking. However these problems never really spoiled my fun. I’m all about the body count.
Stay tuned to GamEir for the follow-up article, where I’ll be delving into End-Game and online content for The Division 2. If you’re interested, you can also converse with us on Twitter (@gam_eir), Facebook (@GamEir), and Instagram (@GamEir). Check out our videos on Twitch (GamEir) and YouTube (GamEir) and we’ll give you all the latest content.