The game that keeps on giving.
After the whole saga we all went through (for those who played the first title) with the first Division game I am happy to see that they have taken what The Division finally became (total all round fun and awesome game) and carry that through to the second one, and then just build on that success. Even though I am still in the process of completing the second instalment I can confidently say that I am not disappointed, I’m enjoying how they spiced up how you configure your agent, where you really have to think of what kind of skills you want to use in order to make yourself a functional agent that fits your style. The game is do-able playing solo but I will say I did have an easier time playing with the rest of the group, especially when you have a varied team and you see how the different skills complement each other and your situation. There is also luckily a well thought out story that will keep you hooked and that will make you feel like you want to make a difference in the world you find yourself in. You are surrounded by some interesting NPC’s with some interesting backstories (although at this point still getting to know all of them and can’t comment on the depth of NPC’s yet) all this said that 30+ hours in it feels like I haven’t even scraped the surface of what The Division 2 has on offer.
I can at least confirm that everyone in the group feels the same way even though we don’t always grind together and most of us put quite a bit of solo play in, I have heard little to no complaints when we all eventually do join up and continue the grind together, I never read any reviews neither did I watch any gameplay videos for some reason and must say bought the game mainly from what the first Division ended up being and all the countless hours I spent in it either trying my luck in the “Dark Zone” or just re-playing the missions on a harder difficulty setting. There are so many elements and random missions that will pop up all over the map so I find myself always deviating 80% of the time while heading to an actual mission, which in my case is not a bad thing as one of my greatest loves is to just explore as much of the map as I am allowed to and these random encounters help keep that area super satisfied. Especially as mentioned before when the whole crew joins in and we just clean the streets of Washington and feel like we make a difference. I guess in short I can sum this paragraph up as lots of re-playability (even though have not finished the game yet) along with having an absolute killer of a time grinding from mission to mission (or the 50 encounters as head to mission was supposed to do)
The Main Protagonist and the NPC’s
The main character gets a mini intro into where he/she finds herself when the crap hit the proverbial fan while the game runs through the process of teaching you how to control your character and your abilities, it never felt like an annoying tutorial process and it ties into the game quite smoothly feeling very seamless in the transition from tutorial to story. Like I mentioned earlier you will encounter quite a few NPC’s you can interact with all with tragic yet deep backstories, I’m hoping there will be more development on the depth of story for each NPC (but this is mainly because I love feeling connected to characters in a game) but you meet so many in the beginning that I guess it just needs to run you through the paces of who you will end up performing tasks for in order to get them up and running and back on the path to what is considered “normal” in the world you now call home. I love the enemy groups you normally end up finding in these apocalyptic situations as you can actually see those kinds of groups forming and splintering off if the world were to go to heck, where we let our primal urges and animalistic sides get the better of us, losing control of our rational thoughts and reverting to a eat or be eaten type of primate. Although in saying that you fight quite a lot of varied rebel groups where some are like ninja’s who fight with bows and arrows, giving them a super stealthy advantage in combat and makes it quite a challenge for you to navigate to cover and defend yourself. You will also find yourself in some cases squaring off against a force that splintered off from the military and ex-mercenaries more or less like the elite units saw in the first Division (with a hint of extra spice this time), you will fight some crack fighters knowing how to handle weapons and themselves and use the terrain to their advantage. In short I guess I can say they really make you think on your feet in combat and you can’t really just run and gun into every situation.
Gameplay and Map
Delving deeper down this apocalyptic rabbit hole let’s discuss the mechanics implemented in the game and how effective it was done, here again I was not disappointed the gameplay is very smooth, with your agent responding to every command you throw at it, sometimes al be it a bit to well as my hands and my brain aren’t always in sync and end up hitting keys that makes me do the complete opposite of what wanted to achieve (but that is more a user – ID10T error than game error), and the combat gets really intense, especially if you play solo you will feel quite overwhelmed in some fights but have such a great sense of accomplishment when you laid down the hurt on some Hyenas, True Sons or even some of the Outcasts, all of whom make formidable foes. The Map size also does not disappoint, where in the 30+ hours I have put into the game it feels like I have only progressed a few city blocks (looking at the map I have only progressed and explored a few city blocks), where in my defence the game really does not disappoint when it comes to things to do while exploring, you never feel like you are aimlessly just roaming around with little to nothing happening around you, as there will always be some random friendly crew needing a helping hand (or fully automatic rifle) in order to gather the basic necessities for them to survive, to large scale engagements where fight for control over a certain block that your allies can then use afterwards in order to make the streets a safer place once again, the encounters also feel very authentic with the rebel factions performing the same tasks the allied factions perform, gathering food and supplies in order for them to survive, but sprinkled with a hint more destructiveness and general lack of empathy or wanting to share in the bounty, this game has kept me entertained for hours and hours and I can confidently say it will provide countless more hours’ worth of entertainment while I try and reclaim Washington for the greater good.
The main story is also well thought out, from how the warring factions have gotten hold of certain elements/locations to give themselves the upper hand(bargaining power) and how you need to obtain and reclaim said items and locations in order to get the rule of law back and re-instate what once was a normal functional society. The story and missions you have to do all feel like they revolve around the future of Washington and what is required to make it a functional place again, there is also a depth of story that I appreciate (from the little I have experienced up to this point granted) and the missions don’t feel dull and pointless, where you have to go acquire something that has little to no bearing with the story whatsoever and was just thrown in there as something to keep the player busy and just because they had to create some form of a mission or keep us busy in some or other way. The missions also seem quite varied with respect to what can be solved with violence, which helps the game not feeling like doing the same rinse and repeat till eventually finish the game. I realise I have only spent about 30-ish hours in the game and probably (hopefully) haven’t even scraped the surface of the storyline, but from what I have seen up to now I cannot wait to get stuck into the game and see what it has in store for me and my group next.
I would recommend this game with a massive smile on my face, as every second I have spent in the game so far have been moments of sheer entertainment and gaming pleasure, not only does the game look amazing it also plays amazing, if you have a couple of like minded friends who don’t mind a bit of a grind and getting lost in “Washington” then I would definitely recommend getting it. Although in saying that the game can most definitely also be enjoyed on your lonesome and you don’t need a whole posse to make the streets a better place, there are more than enough random friendly AI npc’s around that don’t mind getting stuck into it with you, be it to draw enemy fire or actually also open a can of hurting on the rebel factions. Ubisoft luckily learned from the initial teething problems of the first one where you shouldn’t promise what you can’t deliver and In my opinion have built a game and environment that I am happy to return to, knowing that I am in for an entertaining ride and that it covers a wide area of what you normally look forward to when fire up a good game, just typing this makes me yearn to just drop everything and go mash away and get lost in the environment they created for us to explore and enjoy. Like usual if you are still heavy on the fence I recommend watching some “Let’s Play” videos on the game and see if any of the elements grab you, as those will give you a pretty uncut feel of what you can expect In the game.