Personally, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Tom Clancy’s The Division.
Opening to huge fanfare at 2013’s E3 with the release of their gameplay trailer, a lot of people got excited at the prospect of another MMO title for home consoles that had all the Ubisoft touches;
Gorgeous graphics, wonderful animations and an expansive world that had multiplayer elements that can be driven by moral code.
Of course after the 2013 E3 event, the game Watch Dogs was released which caused its own furore with how the title was represented there versus what was released.
Along with this, the market was being overly saturated by Assassin’s Creed titles that had their own issues which forced Ubisoft to step back and, in a way, start quality checking their product.
“Because yesterday, we were ordinary citizens.
But today, we are The Division.”
With the title having been live for a few weeks now, I’ve had 12 hours to run around in The Division and discover that this title is a whole lot of fun for a world dealing with a huge pandemic!
I almost feel sorry for The Division in some respect, as it follows hot off the heels of Destiny. Sure consoles also got Diablo 3, but due to the action-driven nature of the game, along with a lot of the multiplayer and gear aspects, it was almost inevitable they’d be compared.
But in many respects, they’re different.
Ubi really like to steep their games in story and while they can lose themselves sometimes, it makes the world a lot more fun to run around in.
This was an issue that affected Destiny heavily as you kept playing.
To understand its lore, you had to take time outside of the game to read through its large Grimoire library that contained a huge amount of backstory that describes how its world ended up where it did.
Whereas with The Division, I’m discovering the story as I go and because of this, I’m being immersed in the game which is what any good games developers wants to accomplish with their title.
It also helps that their world is contained in one large environment.
With Destiny, you could understand the scope of their world, but with the Director breaking immersion as you selected missions that “flew” you in, it was something of a “Go To Base > Get Gear > Select Mission > Wait For Mission > Complete > Repeat” affair.
The Division is just one giant space using smart loading screen tactics to avoid breaks in immersion. Safe Houses have “Virus Scan” areas in which your character has their pace locked to allow for loading; Fast Travelling does this also, with smart loading kicking in while you’re pushed to the new area.
It all comes together to do one thing, and that’s to keep me locked in on the world I’m in.
And it works.
Ooo, What’s That Thing?
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Ubi games.
And that’s because of how they abuse my love of collecting “stuff” in-game.
I LOVE collecting in-game stuff.
I don’t even know why. Maybe it’s the leftovers of older games, where collecting items had some relevance to improving your character but those types of buffs are long gone, buried under the power of new machines that allow your character to wield multiple ‘things’ to increase them to God-like status.
After the Assassin’s Creed franchise, I thought I had burnt out over in-game collectibles. Those games had an ever-increasing library of collectibles to be acquired as you went through the game that it felt like the majority of the game was just that; Collecting.
Yet The Division has done this the same, and differently.
While there’s an incredible amount to be picked up, they bring unique parts of the story together that actually give them a usefulness and you bet your ass I’m running around collecting ALL OF THEM…
Guns. Lots Of Them.
What you’ll be fighting with in-game can dictate a lot about how much you’ll enjoy the game.
So The Division avoids this pitfall by giving you A LOT OF GUNS (think the shelves Neo summons in the first Matrix film).
While they repeat in terms of quality and power, they also each have their own modifications that give the player even more options as to how they’ll equip them.
And this means I love it utterly, because I just want to wield a neon-pink SMG with a crazy silencer and scope on it for maximum ridiculousness.
I Believe In RNG
RNG stands for Random Number Generator.
This particular function assigns numbers to items you drop (or earn) in-game and is responsible for what you earn.
The current state the game is in, its drops come through in similar fashion to Destiny meets Diablo 3, except even more kinder than the latter. At no point in the game have I felt ripped off by what a boss has dropped, and constantly find myself surprised by what is dropping and WHERE it’s dropping.
After the affairs of a certain other game, I find myself excited by the fact that I’ll get weapons that will make me feel I can actually do my part when running missions with friends.
Along with a ton of other fun things to do (Look, I just love changing my character’s clothes, okay?), The Division has turned out to be an experience I wanted to continue away from other titles that were starting to lose their ‘cool’.
With Ubi’s fantastic animation work wrapping itself around the game, I’ve found it hard to come back and finish this post countless times due to wanting to spend more time in the world of The Division.
Not without its issues, for what it’s delivered on release is something I’m loving and only hope that the first drop of content coming up only adds to the already fun experience in a world that’s falling apart.