Apparently I can only play Ubisoft games at the moment. Not content with two Assassin’s Creed games and Watch Dogs 2, we’re now diving into The Division 2.
Having played plenty of the original Division, and playing the closed beta for The Division 2, I can say straight from the get go that this is definitely more of the same. Albeit refined, polished and chock-full of stuff to do.
With all of the VasDown boys on board, we’re going-in and working together to hit max level. Getting through the tiered worlds, and hopefully tackling the end game in a couple of months time.
So, as we play it through as a relatively slow-burn, it seems like a good opportunity to take it all in, and put some thoughts down here.
The Division – Back at it
The Division came out to some mixed results, critically at least. But it was one of the games that showed how developers should handle a service game, like Anthem & Destiny. A strong showing of hard work, always improving, always updating and fixing. It must have been a slog, but it paid off.
It went from a hopeful but sloppy release, to something people loved and praised.
I spent about 30 hours total in the original game. Not a great deal by any standard. I always enjoyed it, but there were a couple of things that I really couldn’t quite get to grips with, and despite my best efforts, I couldn’t fall in love with it.
Fond memories and a positive inclination towards the world of The Division? Yes.
Eagerness for more of the same? Not so much.
Being honest, my main two issues were:
- Enemy scaling when high-powered friends came to help;
- Solo play was dull (to me anyway).
Without going into too much detail, I can see that changes here aren’t particularly significant.
I understand the need to scale enemy levels when high-level friends join the fray. But it often made it impossible to have fun because as a low level, you were either constantly downed, or unable to really do much damage.
The Division is very much a game for co-operative play. With plenty of matchmaking options there’s no need to solo. But when you do, I just find it a real drag. With a lot of the encounters being essentially the same thing (get to a room, clear it, next wave, boss, move to next room), it isn’t particularly compelling.
Saving each other’s ass, and having a friend get that cool headshot when you’re reloading etc. Making stories and sharing the adventures, that’s where the fun is.
If you use the matchmaking tools and play with friends at similar levels, you’re golden. The Division 2 is a well crafted sandbox, with excellent shooting and cover mechanics.
Is it a good game overall?
10 hours in
I’ve not invested a substantial amount of time into The Division 2 yet. But I’ve definitely started to get my head into it.
Dropping my hangups about not matchmaking with strangers, and having the (so far) excellent “call for help” function, means I’m progressing well, with or without friends.
I only dip in for short sessions at the moment, but this time around, I feel like I’m always making progress. Side missions, main missions, events taking place on the world map, SHD caches, control points etc etc.
I can gain XP, get a steady flow of newer, better gear, and not have to invest my whole life into the game.
New gadgets and skills have changed the way I play. Having my trusty drone is awesome. The little guy has saved me more times than I can count already!
Having scopes and grips as permanently available skills, instead of dropped parts, is interesting, and to be honest a major improvement to me.
Boss health seems more realistic, in that it’s good armour that you break before killing them with relative ease. The Division had this unrealistic bullet-sponge, but totally human weirdness. Just a simple show of armour being the “sponge” has made a massive difference!
Beyond that Washington DC in spring/summer is much brighter and appealing than New York in winter. I’m no longer desperate for a new scarf to drop, instead loving a tank top and jeans look….
There’s so much to dig into here, and I’ve not spent enough time to get into the nitty-gritty of gear and builds, nor have I finished the story or encountered everything on offer.
If I’m being honest, I wasn’t particularly enthralled with the idea of getting back into The Division, but with all of us going in on it, and getting yet another CDKeys bargain, here I am.
With a string of free updates coming out, and a full clan of people to play with, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t beginning to think this could be a really good time. Right now, it’s looking really promising!
Give me another 10-20 hours and I might have an idea of how good this game actually is, and I’ll put some more cohesive thoughts together.
Until then, I’ve got a new Uzi and a new Sniper to try out, and those Hyena’s are asking for me to give them a spin.
Find me in Washington D.C. if you want. I’ll be looting a bin for some scraps of gear, or wreaking havoc with a drone friend in the streets!