Tom Clancy’s: The Division Review. It’s Full of Bullet Sponges
New York is under attack and there’s only one person that can save the city, you! A virus has decimated New York . The Division is here to save New York. I tread through sewers, subway tunnels, buildings and the wintry streets of New York. So, is this third-person action/MMO game great? Let’s uncover the truth about this game!
How it was brewed:
The Division is developed by Massive Entertainment, Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Reflections and Ubisoft Annecy. This game needed four studios to finish it. Massive has developed some great games in the past. They developed Ground Control 1 and 2 and World in Conflict. These games were great strategy games. The World in Conflict game was the first game to use DirectX 10. Red Storm was the original developer of Rainbow Six. They implemented strategy and tactics into first person shooters. Reflections developed the Driver series. The series started off strong, then, the games were critically panned. The franchise is now dormant. It’s interesting that four developers assigned to develop this game. That is never a good thing.
Let Me Tell You a Story:
I wanted to like the story in The Division, but, it was always secondary to the combat. The story is a terrible virus, decimating New York. The Division is called upon to save New York, but it has not gone so well. You are the second wave. It’s an interesting premise. Unfortunately, the execution did not meet the expectation. My biggest problem is your character does not speak. He or she listens, but you have no control in your reactions. Massive has made a mindless character. The story is boring. The characters are not memorable. I felt like each mission was just another set piece to killing more bad guys. The main antagonist’s motives are not clear. It seems the developer(s) want to keep it shrouded in myself for future updates. This makes the story feel like a hollow shell. There’s nothing to keep the player engaged. The story does not break any new ground or try to be original. If you care about the story, this game is not for you. The story is all about moving the player to the next set piece. The best story was the city itself. Looters rummaging through dead bodies. The JTF or Joint Task Force on patrol, trying to make the city a safer place. It was interesting to see; even the weather change, added character to a lifeless story. The biggest problem was the cut scenes. Everything Fay or any of the other characters says is law. It detracts from the story. The game becomes a ride. If The Division 2 does come out, the developers need to include voices to the players character.
At the start of the game, the player, is given a character creation screen. The character creation is limited. There are about ten different faces to choose from. They have different ethnicity, but, the player cannot manipulate the face any further. Most games like these give that type of control. The Division keeps it simple. It’s, a little too simple. Many players are looking the same. You can add: tattoos, scars, hair color, facial hair and face paint.
[epq-quote align=”align-center”]If you care about the story, this game is not for you.[/epq-quote]
I’ve Got a Sponge and It’s Full of Bullets:
The gameplay mechanics has an imbalance problem. The gunplay has its satisfying moments, but, after the first 10 hours, you saw all there was to see in the game. Most enemies were similar. As you progress, the enemy becomes bullet sponges. It’s a cheap way of making the game difficult. Players should get use to “armored” units; that’s all there is late in the game. If you make your way to the Dark Zone, then, that’s all you’ll fight. It’s a cheap way of creating a difficult situation. The developers should have given strengths and weaknesses to each faction you fight. This would have made the gamer try new tactics and kept the game feeling fresh. Instead, they used the bullet sponge method gets old fast. Players be warned, this is every NPC encounter is in the Dark Zone. You will be using more than enough bullets to kill a small army. Challenges show how much Massive loves the bullet sponge. This video below shows how bad it is.
The combat gets old, but, some of the mechanics are great. The cover system works as intended. I had problems with it when there was lag in the game. I like how they show you how you’re going to get to the next cover. The blind fire is always a welcome addition and helps when those pesky melee attackers. The skills are interesting to play around with, but, most aren’t worth using. The automated turret is a great idea. Unfortunately, the damage is nonexistent. You’re better off taking the seeker mines or the grenade launcher.
The guns feel weighty. Each one is different and lets players choose if single shot or a full auto weapon is what you want. The list of guns is automatic, light machines guns, marksman rifles, shotguns, sub-machine guns. One of the best combos is sub machine and marksman rifle. My second choice is the full auto and shotgun. This allows the person the shot down range and takes care of enemies at close range. Each division agent gets three weapon slots. I recommend figuring out your play style in the campaign before heading into the Dark Zone.
[epq-quote align=”align-center”]You, the player, are charged with retaking New York.[/epq-quote]
This is Your Mission If You Choose to Accept it:
The map is laid out well, showing you the side missions and other events as small circles. The main missions are big circles with a medical, tech or security symbols. Hovering over one of the markers will tell you everything you need know about it. It’s one of the better features in the game. The navigation system is another issue. It works in a way, but it does not always lead you to find the drones, cell phones, survival guides, etc. It does lead you to where it will be around, but it’s up to the player to find the back alley, room or roof. Besides that little annoyance, it does work as intended. I’ve only run into a couple of bugs where the map would not mark a point I clicked on.
Home, Away From Home:
Every Division Agent needs a home base. This allows the player to upgrade skills and gear. The base has three main upgrades: medical, tech and security. They all offer different skills, talents and perks. When you upgrade your facilities, they offer new skills/perks/talents for your agent. Other upgrades let they player get crafting materials and get better gear as well. The base is nice, but, I never cared about it. I only went back to push the story along or sell/buy gear. It’s a static place that does not bring much to the game. Everyone can upgrade the facilities, but, that all you can do. It’s wasted potential. Games like Dragon Age Inquisition, or Destiny give you more customization. Every base is the same; in a game that wants you to customize your character, your base is not a part of that deal.
As the video described, your base has three different fields. One is medical, this wing will upgrade your medical abilities, perks, and talents. Tech and security all have the same premise as well. The way you upgrade the different fields is by doing missions in their color. Medical is green, tech is yellow and security are blue. The developer did this so you would play the side quests. This is the only reason too. Those side missions are repetitive. The green side missions are about researching the virus, saving a hostage or soldier. The tech side missions are about supplies and blue is about protecting the JTF. It does not deviate from this..ever. Four developers could not have added variety in these missions. The Witcher did a better job with their side missions. This is a great example of keeping the side missions fresh. Inside, they copied and pasted the same mission over and over. If have side mission, take the time to flesh them out. This is the Dragon Age 2 of side missions.
Welcome to the Dark Zone:
When The Division was shown at E3 2015, they unveiled the Dark Zone. This was a place to get elite gear. It was a lawless place, agents could turn on agents, it was intended to be an intense PVP arena. At the time, it seemed like a great idea. When it was released, that changed. Going rogue is not worth the risk and it’s more about the grind. It is a gritty experience. If a player goes rogue and gets killed, the punishment is harsh. The rogue player will lose their gear, Dark Zone credits and experience points. I think the loss of experience points is terrible. If a player spends hours leveling up only have gone rogue , then loses that level, it is frustrating. They need to rework this whole zone. The reason is, nobody wants to go rogue and there is no difference between the Dark Zone from the rest of the game. The problem with the Dark Zone is the gear. Elite gear drops It’s a terrible system. This is late game content and it sucks. The developers have said they will be reworking the Dark Zone, but, for now, we are left with a mess.
Look, Taste, and Smell of the Brew:
The game is gorgeous. Massive did a great job bringing New York to live. This is my favorite part. The city feels alive. It’s not a static place and NPCs do wander the streets. The beautiful sunsets and sunrises make players stop for a second and marvel at the beauty of the game. There are some small touches as well. The tools on your backpack sway while your character is running. I did notice some screen tearing and flickering on my play through. It was rarely, but noticeable at times. The sound quality good. The guns sound like they have weight to them. The marksman rifle has that nice snap sound. The light machine gun has that low churn sound. Even if the stats are messed up and most weapons are not useful, the sound is on par. The voice acting is superb, even if there writing needed some work. If only looks were important, then this game would be amazing. That’s not the case, there are some shortcomings in this game.
It Tastes Like…
A cup of coffee that is forgettable. It looks good and smells great, but, there is no flavor to it. It tastes like everything else you’ve had in the third-person genre. The Division falls into the same traps as other like it. Until the developers figure it out, the problem is going to get worse. They developers are trying to fix it, but, their efforts are confusing. It will be interesting to see what they do. The six-month mark will be a good indicator if this game will survive. PC gamers are unforgiving when a game is bland. Best of luck in the Dark Zone and keep on grinding.