Tom Clancy’s The Division came out this March 8th with a LOT of anticipation from the gaming community to say the least. The Division has been more hyped up than Destiny, one of last years biggest releases, and quite fun might I add (regardless of them shafting early users). I’ve been deep in the action for a while now and am ready to give this new open world MMORPG from Ubisoft a review.
Character & Gear:
After a well done introduction about a man made Small Pox virus wiping out most of the world on Black Friday, you get dropped into the customization process in New York. I must say I was a bit disappointed with the depth. Full of an endless selection of tattoos, there were only a handful of face and hair options. Granted we weren’t expecting a ton of customization, this small of a selection really limits the ability to create a unique looking character. Ubisoft relied too much on accessories and tattoos which leaves everyone looking relatively the same but with silly glasses and neck tats…Anyway, it’s not a huge deal as people end up getting different hats and clothing throughout gameplay which you can equip to vary up your look. Don’t be expecting Destiny type flaming gear here though people…this game is going for realism (relatively). Gear and aesthetic clothing are everyday jackets, pants, shoes and hats. Ubisoft focused mainly the features of BackPacks which I think is pretty cool and unique actually. They’ve done a great job of creating a huge variety of incredibly detailed backpacks each sporting different attached gear that swing and sways with the utmost realism as you tear up New York. So all in all, I found myself admiring the look of my character time and again.
This is what Ubisoft focused on with The Division…Gameplay. The third person feel is always a refreshing way to play a shooter if it’s done well, and Ubisoft has done well. Moving quickly and safely from cover to cover with the X button is really satisfying and is absolutely necessary with the lack of a crouching ability. At first I felt completely naked with no crouch button, but quickly learned that traveling from cover to cover by holding the X button is just as good if not better. It brings a lot more realism to the action you’re in. Rather than clunking around in a free moving slow crouch and goofily jumping over things with a free jump, you feel like you’re actually watching someone scramble over a barrier and and slide behind the cover of a broken down police car, slamming the door shut as you make impact. It’s truly a great feeling game.
The gun mechanics and aiming are good, as expected from a developer as experienced as Ubisoft. My only complaint would be that when zoomed in with a marksman rifle, aiming is veeerrrry slow over distance. I’ve found myself not able to keep up with a running enemy a few times and having to unzoom and rezoom to get back on him because I can aim fast enough while scoped. A tad frustrating. Other than that, the sniping feels great. Not too much scope movement and bullet drop seems realistic.
My favorite by far are head shots…Head shots are sooooo satisfying. The noise it makes when you tag someone perfectly in the head is wonderful. Making it even more satisfying when you lead and pop an enemy perfectly in the dome.
Role Playing Elements:
Here’s what people were anticipating the most. How The Division’s RPG elements were going to work, and hold up against the likes of Destiny.
I have to say, for the most part, I love the way Ubisoft has gone about all the leveling, weapon mods, skills and talents. You have to complete certain missions for certain “wings” of your Home Base in order to get supplies needed to upgrade them. Each upgrade in turn unlocks talents, perks and skills for the three tiers of ability/skill: Stamina/Medical, Tech and Security. It’s really a unique way of going about progressing. It requires you to continue the story and do certain missions to unlock things, rather than being able to just roaming around killings endless “hogs” like in the South Park World of Warcraft episode.
The weapon and gear mods are cool as well. They give you slots on your weapons for loads of different scopes, suppressors, mags, barrel attachments and skins. Higher level/rarer gear starts to have mod slots as well that can increase you Stamina, Tech and Defense.
Weapons have an overall DPS which gives you a good idea of their power, but don’t let that be the only factor! For example: Shotguns are going to have a lower dps than most weapon types, but their single bullet damage is going to be MUCH higher. So always consider damage as well as DPS when choosing weapons. Consider it when selling and scraping weapons of the same class as well. Sometimes an assault rifle will have a bit lower dps but higher bullet damage than another. This is because it’s fire rate or magazine size might be small, thus lowering it’s dps. The way they’ve gone about this really makes you have to think about which of the weapons you’ve picked up on your missions is the best one for you. It’s not as clear as, “oh, this has more damage it’s definitely better”. You have to analyze all aspects to truly determine the best choice.
A complaint I have is with the Perks. They are good bonuses, and are active all the time once you receive them which is all nice…They just have no organization at all. They are displayed on in three little scrolling strips that you can only see a few at a time and they don’t unlock in any order. So for someone like me who HATES to have a notification symbol for something new showing, I always have to scroll through the strips of perks to find what I’ve unlock. They should do them out in a tree so you can see them all at once and navigate them quickly.
I’ll keep this short and sweet without spoiling anything. The story is about a man made virus [A Mega Mutation of Small Pox] released to the public on dollar bills during Black Friday in New York. The quick spreading disease shut down the city and eventually caused panic and rioting after all the prisoners from Rikers busted out. There are essentially two groups you’re fighting, the Rikers [gang type guys with some military type equipment they’ve found] and the Cleaners who are a group of people that think the only way to cure the virus is to burn everything and everyone infected. The storyline has you completing various missions to get supplies and stop the two groups from tormenting and controlling the city. You’re also investigating the man you believe to have started the virus.
The actual implementation of story is meh. The storyline doesn’t pull you in all that much. While the voice acting is great, a lot of it goes amiss due to the lack of story depth. I do love how you find phones laying around with conversations of people reacting in panic when the virus struck. These have really given me the most emotional connection with the story as the calls all have a very real and possible feel to them. As if it could be you. So I highly suggest grabbing and listening to all the phone recording laying around the map! They add tremendously to the story/feel.
Here is where The Division CRUSHES Destiny. They’ve made matchmaking easy and allow you to play all missions with random people…was that so hard? Take notes Bungie. There’s no reason to force people to find friends with the same console and game to complete a mission. I’ve had a blast clearing out rooms of Flamers with random people around the world and it’s as easy as clicking matchmake. Thank. You. Ubisoft. Haven’t ran into any lag or problems with connection to match made missions either.
All in all Tom Clancy’s The Division is a great game. A must play even. Game of the year? Can’t say that as we’ve still got a long way to go. The graphics are top notch, if not the best I’ve seen on consoles thus far (albeit textures tend to load slowly sometimes). The gameplay is phenomenal. Story is a bit lacking but it’s slightly made up for with bits of emotional info placed all over the map and the great gameplay. The RPG elements are awesome, but could use a bit of tweaking. I look forward to future patches to smooth a few things out. The game is an all around great play. The gameplay and that ohhh so satisfying headshot sound will have me coming back time and again.
P.S. I really am looking forward to the expansions as Ubisoft can definitely continue to make The Division even better with more story and added weapons & gear.
Let us know what you think of The Division in the comments, and give it a user rating!