After only a short time playing The Division 2, it’s clear that Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft learned their lesson from The Division‘s launch. Where as the first game launched with a number of issues that took several patches to eventually fix, The Division 2 is an improvement in virtually every aspect. And, while it’s not perfect, it feels more polished from the get-go.
Will gamer’s flock to The Division 2 as they eventually did with The Division? Let’s find out!
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Details
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Developer: Massive Entertainment
Genre: Action role-playing, survival, third person shooter
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
The capital is in crisis
The Division 2 takes place seven months after the events of the first game. The Green Poison viral outbreak that devastated New York has now slowly spread across the nation. And, even though it has yet to be contained, it is being controlled well enough that is not yet an epidemic.
Though the country has started to rebuild, it is in a state of chaos. The American government, for the most part, has collapsed and crime is running rampart due to the lack of any type of law and order. While The Division are aiding in the rebuilding and trying to get things back to normal, they receive a call from Washington, DC for help.
While playing the video game, I noticed that it’s assumed you’ve played the first game or are up to date on what happened. It does little to give you a back story or refresh the details for you. The story unfolds via other characters you encounter and through audio logs that you uncover.
While the characters you meet are vaguely interesting, none are anywhere memorable. Perhaps my biggest disappointment is that the character you play is does not converse in any conversation. In fact, the most you will get is a nod. It’s this that prevents you from connecting with your character and building a bond.
A lush post-apocalyptic Washington DC
Surprisingly, the change of venue and time of year from New York City to Washington, DC is refreshing. The overgrown streets are filled with crumbling buildings, abandoned vehicles, downed planes and wildlife. As a result, the enemy has a lot more places to hide.
Getting around the city can be done in a variety of ways. There is always a direct route from point A to B, though just because it’s the fastest doesn’t make it the safest. More often than not, you can take alternative routes to get where you want to go by climbing and crawling, and this is where the fun kicks in.
The Division 2 encourages you to explore off the beaten path and believe me there are a lot of places to explore. In turn, your rewarded with valuable loot and materials that help you along the way. The same great cover system from the first game returns. And, you are able to run to cover from one spot to another by targeting the area and holding down a button.
Enhanced enemy AI
There are four enemy factions that you will face in The Division 2: True Sons, Hyenas, Outcasts, and Black Tusk. Massive Entertainment has tweaked and improved enemy AI. Enemies attack you much more realistically. You’ll always need to be on the look out as they come from all directions, and not only head on.
Furthermore, enemies heal themselves when not under attack and now have access to use a variety of different weapons that they previously didn’t have. Honestly, at times it was hard to tell if my opponent was a human player or AI.
Your headquarters is none other than the White House. It’s here that you are introduced to the game’s customizable tools and abilities for your character. These range from Assault Drones, to Chem Launchers, to Hives, and Seeker Mines. For my character I choose the Hive skill and unleashed the Wasp Hive on my enemies. This is where small drones launch and attack specific targets within an outlined area.
Moreover, not only will you build up and expand the White House but local settlements as well. By doing so, you open up the opportunities to craft new items and get access to better weapons.
Polished gameplay that is better with friends
Missions feel much more polished in The Division 2 than they did in the previous game. They follow the same structure as the previous game of making your way through a building to confront an enemy. Though this time around they are more enjoyable and rewarding to play thanks to the other enhanced gameplay elements.
Much like other games in the genre, The Division 2 is meant to be played with others online. You still can however play the game completely by yourself if you choose to. Though be warned, you currently can’t turn off the distress calls from other players asking for help.
Every mission of the game’s campaign can be played with a 4-player squad. You no longer have to wait to form squads at bases and safe houses, they can be made anytime. And, if you are looking to assert your dominance, there is a 4v4 deathmatch PvP mode and is quite fun.
Additionally, there are now three Dark Zones that you can play in. These are zones where the game’s strongest enemies are and contain the best loot. Each of these Dark Zones are scaled accordingly so that you now have a chance even if you are at a low level.
Constant visual performance with a few sacrifices
Generally speaking, The Division 2 looks good most of the time. Character models and the environment in which you play in offer a good amount of detail and are animated well. Loading is kept to a minimum and only occurs when you are changing between multiplayer sessions or respawning.
The frame rate is steady, regardless of what is going on the screen. However, it appears that to sustain this performance it requires a few sacrifices to be made. For instance, it’s not uncommon to see objects pop in and textures that are blurry because they take additional time to load.
While it doesn’t really affect gameplay over all, it’s a bit puzzling to see it occurring on higher powered consoles like the PlayStation 4 Pro. While the game’s characters might not be that memorable, they are voiced well. Perhaps what surprised me the most was the intensity of the music during battles, it really got my blood pumping.
The Division 2 is a sequel that is far superior to its predecessor in every way
After spending a little over a week with The Division 2, it’s clear to see that Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft have listened to feedback from fans and incorporated it into this game. Comparing the launch of The Division and The Division 2 is like night and day.
With new weapon archetypes, four new gadgets, the ability to call in NPC reinforcements, 8-player raids, clans and improved enemy AI—The Division 2 is far superior to its predecessor. The first year of post game content will be free and as of this time of writing, there have been three packs announced. I’m excited to see how The Division 2 will evolve in the days, weeks, and months to come.
+ Amazing multiplayer experience
+ Enhanced gameplay over its predecessor
+ Great deal of content included with game
+ Rewarding and satisfying experience
– Characters for the most part are forgettable
– Some pop in and blurry textures
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF TOM CLANCY’S THE DIVISION 2
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5