The Division Beta Review
With 2016 underway we approach one of this year’s major video games “Tom Clancy’s: The Division.” The creator, Ubisoft, gave players a chance recently to test out and experience a taste of The Division. It is an open world MMORPG where players experience a modern plague infected New York City. Even though players did get the chance to experience this beautiful game Ubisoft in the end gave very little content and story as to not ruin it before it’s release. This would have been a sever unfair advantage too if they did release more as far as skills and story goes, because beta-testers would have a more increased unfair advantage at launch. After getting to play the beta myself I have very high hopes for The Division between it’s beautiful environment and highly tactical combat system I was able to tell this was a game that would be worth all my time.
Little is known about the story behind the events that unfold in The Division, but what is known is that there is some type of virus that has been wiping out the human population. The virus appears to have originated in New York and your character is sent to help contain the situation and possibly find a cure while battling through crazed rioters that remain in desolate city. As you explore you can find collectibles like left over cellphone recordings or echo recordings (digitally captured moments in time) that help explain some of the events. You may also encounter radios where the radio show host explains and talks about what is happening in other cities or even talk a bit about the disaster and how it occurred. Now your character is a part of an organization called The Division which is a group that is sent to bring order to New York. Along with The Division is a group they team up with known as the Joint Task Force (JTF) which is made of former government groups; military, police, and even elected officials to help bring back stability to the entire country. Ubisoft started players off at level four in the beta which leaves us to believe there was some type of even that occurs in those beginning levels that they want to keep a surprise. Assume that there should be a lot of explanation on the background of this worlds crisis at the beginning of this game.
After spending about fifteen minutes or so just roaming around enjoying how beautiful the game was I decided to finally try out the combat mechanics. Taking constant cover and strategizing your next move to out maneuver your opponents seemed to be a big part in this third person shooter. One of the major mechanics I took a liking too was what I call the cover running system which is exactly what it sounds like. Constantly taking cover while being given opportunities to maneuver around objects you are taking cover behind and even auto running to cover that is farther away. This system alone gives you a lot of options to fighting from hiding behind a dresser in a hallway and running to an open door or behind cars and fences in the streets. Taking cover is a very necessary part as your character is easily killed unlike most shooters where you can run and jump in and kill all of your targets. Your gear does grant a lot of benefits and protection but not enough to keep you alive from for constant fire. You do however have a very unique 3D map that allows you to zoom in any area and find any hidden loot ahead of time, also it is worth noting you can fast travel as well which saves so much time seeing as there is no known vehicles you can use yet.
Using your environment to your advantage will be a crucial skill to learn as you fight your way through New York.
As you explore the city and learn to use the city around you as your tool to survive you will begin to encounter one of the most effective weather systems I have encountered in an MMO. The Division appears to take place during the winter and in New York that means blizzards and storms. Eventually as time passes you will have to endure these relentless unforgiving blizzards and learn that they could be your greatest advantage or a titanic hinderance. These blizzards become so nebulous that nothing is visible that isn’t directly in front of you. On top of having no vision of the area surrounding you any source of light reflects off the snow so well that you are instead blinded by such intense lighting. If blizzards weren’t enough some areas are just filled with such reflective material that even in daylight you could be blinded by the Sun’s reflection just trying to find your way. Ubisoft truly outdid themselves as they designed this beautiful world with a very well created weather system to match.
Now with a beautifully designed environment they still managed to bring out some interesting content. You do get a story and some side missions to help build your base, which influences your skills and abilities based on the resources you collect. The base has set objects to be built each granting you a bonus and new abilities and talents unlocked to pick from. The Division also offers “instances” of some sort which seem to be a small focus in the game as they offer very little reward for the trouble you go through to complete them. For the most part you don’t even appear to interact with other players unless you are partied together or venture into an area known as the Dark Zone (DZ). Ubisoft seemed to have the beta revolve around the Dark Zone as that is where you found the best gear and where most of the fighting took place with other players. In the Dark Sone one would be in a contained area of New York where lawlessness takes hold while you battle through infected areas, relentless rioters or even players that have gone rogue and decided to set you in their sights. When you are killed in this area any loot you may have received in the Dark Zone and didn’t evac out you will lose and give other players a chance to steal. Teaming up with friends seems to be the only way to survive, but nothing is stopping them from betraying you for that nice legendary gun you just found.
Overall The Division should be a fantastic game to take up your time as you are constantly having to change tactics for each situation, but it seems to lack in foe the which could be its downfall. Although it was a beta and understandably had limited content it still appeared the game was focused around Dark Zones and its PvP (player versus player) aspect. Any real chance at high end loot seems to be from farming for hours on end and surviving other players or having one supremely lucky drop. The Division has the chance to be one of the best games this year, but if it can not produce worthy end game content then it will surely see a loss in players.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!
feel free to comment and discuss below on how you feel about The Division so far