Tom Clancy’s The Division (PC (Reviewed), PS4 , XBOne)
Developer: Ubisoft Massive
Released: March 8, 2016
MSRP: $59.99 at purchase
So, full disclosure, I’ve had an outline of this sitting in my draft for nearly a year. I’ve been intending on writing the review of this for that entire time. However, I’ve just been distracted by so many other things.
The Division had some really good aspects to the game. I played the single player to 100% completion (before additional story updates were added). Doing that took a total of 54 hours or so. I felt like the gameplay was done very well. That is one thing that almost every Tom Clancy game has, good game mechanics. Shooting in The Division was always a treat. Each gun had its own advantages and disadvantages. So, find a couple guns that fit your play style and situation. The sounds of the guns were amazing. They sounded nearly realistic. A few buddies and I are always looking for fun games to play co-op. We all hop on to Discord and play games with each other, or at least talk together if we’re playing other games. The Division was a very good choice for a month or two until we finished the single player (or co-op) portion of the game. When I’d be waiting for my buddies to finish up doing some inventory management, I discovered that if you shoot the tires, they’d blow up. So, that became my thing. Another buddy would shut any open car door if it was on our way. The last one would shoot every dog he’d run in to and yell “no witnesses.” We all worry about him sometimes. So, The Division also allowed us to create our own fun to an extent.
I haven’t been back to the game really since finishing the single player. Some buddies and I tried to get more and more in to the Dark Zone, but there would be Rogue Agents running through the lower level areas with gear that significantly out leveled you and would kill you almost instantaneously. This prevented you from getting any higher gear because once you reached max level outside of the Dark Zone, the gear didn’t scale higher. This was fixed in a more recent patch by allowing enemies outside the Dark Zone to become more difficult once you reached max level. However, this was a little too late for my friends and I. Ubisoft added some daily missions to try and get people to keep coming back to the game. However, the Challenging missions weren’t possible for us without higher gear, which you’d have to acquire in the Dark Zone. See our issue?
There were significant plot points that weren’t told through the main story line. You had to rely on the Echoes and phone messages, two of the collectible types in The Division, to understand more of what’s going on. This is a major pet peeve of mine. You can not rely on side missions or collectibles to explain the world. If they’re there to enhance the experience, that’s fine. But, you should be able to understand the story entirely through the main missions. Halo 4 suffered from the same thing to me. For a game that seems to want to be more of an RPG, it’s character customization is pretty weak. You really just pick between a number of presets and can customize some aspects of it. I get that Tom Clancy games aren’t really known for it. However, if you give a character customization option, don’t essentially have it a choice of presets. Let us customize our characters to how we want. I’m fine with giving some barriers so people don’t make absolute monsters (looking at you WWE 2K and Dark Souls games). The Division is also fairly glitchy. I fell out of the world a number of times. After installing a new graphics card and bumping up the graphics of the game, my game would not work. The character selection screen didn’t have the character displaying. When I selected the character, the character still wouldn’t display, the environment would partially load, and what loaded would display as if you took a picture with a camera and left the lens open and moved it (creating a shooting star look). It eventually worked itself out after an update or 2. But it was just insane at that time. Lastly, there were a ton of repeated missions. I’m not even going to touch on the daily missions that are going through previously done missions. That’s kind of the point of them. I’m talking about progressing through the single player portion and having nearly identical missions. For example, go in to the sewers, go find the power station, protect said power station from the Cleaners that are trying to take it back from you, survive a few waves, and you’re done.
There was also a very annoying, but also entertaining, bug that happened on PC right when the game released. There was collision set to your character so other characters couldn’t walk through you. Well, on day 1, everyone has to go through the same few tutorial missions and turn them in. One of the first missions forced you to log in to a computer to get the mission and turn it in. Well, with the number of people playing on day 1, it very quickly turned into a problem. Each player could get bumped off of the keyboard, which would interrupt getting or handing in the mission. This caused the server to go insane for a bit with everyone pushing and shoving to get their missions turned in. However, eventually people started settling down and literally formed a line to the computer. Now, this is hilarious to see, but I could only imagine the frustration of these players who just want to play the game on day 1. This was very quickly patched out. But until then, it’s such a weird choice to not allow characters to pass through other characters.
All in all, like I stated earlier, I put in over 50 hours into the game. It had its issues, but my friends and I kept coming back to it because its gameplay was fun. Running around, diving behind cover, shooting enemies, and looting is always going to be fun if the mechanics are done well. The Division did nail the gameplay aspect, even if the story had much to be desired.
I’m blurryphoenix, and game on!
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