Tom Clancy’s The Division Review
Viral outbreak is not a new concept and many fear what would happen to the world. Most have survival plans for a zombie apocalypse, but what do you do when a viral strain kills off the weakest members in society? This means that some will not be affected at all, but that still can cause a chaos that you may not recover from until the Division was created. As an Agent it is up to you to bring back order to the City that never sleeps.
Set as an agent able to loot, scavenge and of course liberate the mess out of many citizens, all you need now is an endless supply of weaponry and the will to search for whatever caused this new strain of Smallpox in the first place. Luckily you will get all these things and more with an added bonus of grouping up with a rag tag players from your friends list or randoms. I do recommend going with your friends list of course. Let’s get into this review, shall we?
In the tone of Gary Oldman’s character in The Professional, “EVERYTHING,” The Division as you know is set in the near future based in New York City. You will begin as an Agent in Brooklyn, close to the downtown area where you will get a lovely tutorial to give you an look at what you will be doing. Once you are done being smart, grinding to level 4 or 5 on that one mission, you are off to Manhattan where you get a real look at the horror of this virus. Bodies are littered on the floor, still infectious hazmat garbage bags are piled high in the streets and there are of course numerous oppositions to deal with.
The enemies that you will encounter are Cleaners, Rioters, Riker’s Gang, and Last Man Battalion. The Rioters are the ones to greet you first as you enter the city and as you progress you will meet the rest. To me, the worst of the worst are the Cleaners. They are the ones that go around with flamethrowers burning anyone they see with a belief that they are cleansing the city. Now I would say the toughest has to be the Last Man Battalion. Being a military group they will give you a serious tactical fight. Do not get it twisted, these A.I characters all have flanking ability and will try rush you down when they get the chance. You will need to be on your toes if you are flying solo, but being that your abilities call for a team, I would utilize that.
In that let’s talk about the special abilities you will utilize. The Division can be played solo if you want that “Badass” feeling of accomplishment, but you will have a tough time in many higher level areas, as well as the Darkzone which calls for cooperative combat. This is a great time to practice what you have to offer being that team player. There are three skills: Medical, Tech and Security with each having four extra abilities that branch off into five categories to enhance each skill. Then you have Talents that you can assign into four slots as you level up, plus the added edition of perks that will work automatically once unlocked.
There is too much to dabble into this so I will go into what I utilize going solo and what I use with other players. With my solo set up, I have Pulse with extra critical damage that when activated, it will send out a radar informing me of all the threats, granting me an extra bonus in critical damage. The second is my auto turret with a critical damage perk dishing out heavy ammo that pierces armor with a chance of causing suppressing fire for me to flank the enemy. When I am with a team I still stick with my turret, but also with a med kit that grants players the ability to revive themselves, if downed. This changes, depending on the mission, of course, but I have a video below that will give you a closer look at a combat scenario.
As you can see the visuals are amazing, as well as the sound effects. I will give you Ubisoft all the praise for getting those little and big details correct. First up is the freaking explosions that are amazing. I swear it is such a glorious thing to make Cleaners go boom or seeing the massive carnage happen as things explode around us. The visual effects of the game’s camera shaking giving us that disorient effect were a nice touch. In that you also have an amazing sound department that made the effects of gunshots echoing through the city and explosions causing a slight mute and ringing effect as we get closer to the chaos. Those little things gave us the right experience to enjoy the combat much better. Not many games know how to give us that same visual simulation, but damn good job Ubisoft.
The cover to cover system that everyone knows about is done beautifully in The Division. You will not be able to jump, thankfully, because for some reason, gamers seem to thinking that jumping is a proper tactic in a shooting game. However, you are gifted with a nifty dodge roll and holding the action button while pointing at a certain cover will move the Agent to cover flawlessly. Let’s say you are in action running into combat and you see obstacles, that is no big; just holding down that Circle or B button while sprinting to hurdle (NOT PARKOUR) over obstacles easily. This also works when you want to get down ladders faster or sprinting up them as well.
All the weapons will upgrade as you go through each encounter, missions and side missions throughout Manhattan. As of right now, I am sporting a modified M60 Light Machine Gun with a 4x scope, heavy magazine and other abilities to make this weapon efficient. Secondary weapon is a Marine Super 90 shotgun and sidearm is a double barrel sawed off shotgun. You will have additional gear to enhance your agent to be the quite durable on the field. As you make the proper upgrades to your main base, more things will unlock like the re-calibration station to re-fit your gear in Primary DPS, Skill or Health. Some gear will have mod slots as well to take them a step further to give you an additional advantage.
Character customization is quite limited, but I doubt they were going for pretty people in this game, which I am quite okay with. However your clothing gets you all the customization you need. If you help out random civilians they drop items and once you upgrade your base to a certain degree, you will have the opportunity to buy new clothing and skins for your weaponry.
As stated earlier, upgrading your base will give you a strong advantage in your journey. You obtain points by doing color coded missions for your base. Yellow is for the tech wing, blue for the security wing and green for the medical area. Each portion costs a specific amount of points, but do not fret because it is not that hard to obtain and the grinding is part of the fun.
Voice communication is way better than I expected where it feels as if you are in a party chat, but all it is just the group chat in the game. The funny part about this is if you are in a party chat, you can still hear the person in game, but they won’t be able to hear you. This could be used as a tactical advantage in the Darkzone which I will talk about in a separate review.
One of the best features is the Ubisoft Club store that grants you extra items, gear or some side fun stuff with points you earn in game. I have unlocked unique clothing, extra phoenix coins and dark zone keys by earning specific trophies. It is a fun feature that rewards you for your trophy hunting progress and I think more games should implement this mechanic.
Do not fret, this will be short. The game’s only problem so far are some of the glitches that I only hear about from my fellow gamers. They either fall through the map, get stuck in weird areas like a super serious mime-in-a-box or you just freeze in place. Okay, I will admit I experienced that frozen situation once and the only way to get out of it is to fast travel either to your comrades or to another place. I have also witnessed some animation glitches where the guns are bigger than the player or when some missions do not work. However it seems it is just for a select few because most are not experiencing any of that.
The matchmaking can use some tweaking where you enter the world and you see your friends at first, but then all of a sudden they vanish. I mean you could just join their session through the friends list, but that kind of bothered me a bit.
I will admit that going in alone can be dull since the enemies will be a timid vs. you going in a group and the difficulty changes with how many people are in your party. If you have higher level party members than at times they will be higher level enemies, but alone it is forever on easy mode unless you walk into areas that are higher than your level on the streets. I say party up to give you that challenge you deserve.
Tom Clancy’s The Division hits a lot of strong points in the story, definitely gives you a shock value on the events of the small pox virus and what happens to the people of city, as well as immerse you into an adventure that keeps you grinding. Some will argue the fact of the repetitive nature of the game, but if it is fun and becomes even more fun to redo missions with other players, then I don’t have a problem with that. Besides a few glitches, I have played for a week straight and am still grinding for more.
I definitely recommend picking up this great cooperative role playing experience with many things to customize and upgrade, plus with the addition of tactical gameplay you can’t go wrong. The Division is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. Stay frosty gamers!
Tom Clancy’s the Division receives 4 paws out of 5.
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