Now I'm under no illusion that a review of The Division, a game that came out in March of 2016, is necessary at this point. If it interested you you've probably played it. For those with a passing interest who maybe tried the game a little or missed it completely I guess this is for you (and people who want to tell me why my opinions on this particular game are wrong). I have had a long history with loving Tom Clancy branded titles, two worthy of a particular mention here are Splinter Cell Convictionand Rainbow Six Vegas 2. I kind of fell off of the bandwagon though and after trying and failing to get into Rainbow Six Siege I wasn't sure going back to this game that I'd missed would be worth it. How wrong was I?
The Division, at it's gooey centre, is a straight forward open world third person shooter. You wander around bouncing between a set number of repetitive quests with larger story missions mixed in for good measure. Cutscenes are at a minimum, if nearly non-existent, with the majority of the campaign played out over your trusty radio. These might all seem like low points. They're not. The stripped down nature of the game is refreshing. You know what you're getting into from the start. Manhattan and it's many enemy combatants scale in difficulty as you go through each city block from left to right. Each area is compartmentalised with colour coded missions that denote which type it is and what specific points you'll get for completing it (Security, Health or Tech). You are gaining points to build up your home base and although not particularly necessary, it allows you to unlock abilities including shields and auto-turrets. There's also something especially satisfying about reaching the 100% restored in all three areas that tingles the dormant completionist in me.
The story is an interesting one. Someone has bio-engineered a virus and Manhattan has been shut off and abandoned by the rest of the world. You play as a Division Agent, working for a secret agency tasked with restoring the city to its former glory by airing out the undesirables and trying to find a vaccine for Green Poison. Your character is given no backstory which made role playing and making my own all the more fun. Just in case you were wondering my character is Zach Bauer, an American British former police officer. Being thrown into a post apocalyptic cityscape is fantastic. The city feels lived in, decaying, genuine and the residents on the street being harassed by the criminal factions or just struggling to survive really adds to the immersion. Your character also feels unique and even though I am yet to really jump into the shared world end-game (PVP and Raids) the handful of other players I have seen in the safe houses never look alike. The amount of personalisation and individuality really stands this game apart from any counterpart and at the time of writing I'm struggling to think what this would even be similar to.
Having played for well over a day I have finished the campaign and every side-quest. The game kind of flags a red herring big bad from the start and I honestly wasn't even aware I was playing the last mission until it finished. Thankfully though it didn't leave me on that down note, I wasn't quite prepared for the end game to explode in my face as the map now looks more full than during the story. There is a lot of new game types and repeatable missions to keep me occupied for another 24 hours at least, and that's not including the Dead Zone (the high tier PVP area in the centre of the map). Playing The Division is easy going, and often quests are pedestrian but time melts away and it is very enjoyable. The controls feel right and you can build a character to match your play style. I have little skill so sunk all of my upgrade points into health as I knew suffering damage would be my main problem. I then made sure all my weapons were high DPS in the hopes I could kill the bullet sponge enemies before they could kill me. It worked out. I love open world games as long as the world is well thought out. This is. You can enter random buildings and happen across cool easter eggs just out of the blue and you often stumble upon moments of dark humour. They are like little love notes from the developers.
If you missed this game I employ you to go back, it will be well worth it. Have you played The Division? What was your experience? Comment below or tweet us @ghoulishent.