I will never forget the first time I seen The Division in action at E3 2013, a bleak Christmas time in New York, a post virus infection of the Big Apple. It’s gorgeous graphics, snow falling all around you while Danny Fromajio’s Snow, Snow, Snow played in the background, setting a tone that I wouldn’t find anywhere else. And it proves exactly that, it’s unique and it’s good, the perfect game to join up with friends or travel solo and defend the city of New York. Fast forward three years later and at long last, Tom Clancy’s The Division is out and it’s good.
New York has been through the ringer in real-life and in-game, the people of New York is strong willed and strong minded, when a virus hits New York it spreads all across the city from Brooklyn to the very borough that the game takes place in, Manhattan. You can still see that the people of New York don’t give up through the pockets of civilization and the JTF across the borough to fight against the Cleaners, Rikers, and the LMB, a private military organization that is in New York to protect the wealthy.
The Division is classic Tom Clancy; you play as a sleeper agent, a regular person who is actually a covert government agent who’s trained for an apocalypse scenario, you must establish a line of Resistance and gain a foothold in the city, discover the origins of the virus and put a stop to it, along the way find out what has happened to the first wave of Division agents that didn’t make it out of New York alive or has gone missing. It’s an interesting premise, you can partake in story missions but the story isn’t quite there or it’s as strong as it could be.
Your first task after starting out in Brooklyn for a brief gameplay tutorial, is to set up the Base of Operations and find Dr. Kendal. Here, in the Base of Operations or BOP, you can buy weapons and upgrade the base to gain new perks and new abilities to use in combat. Watching the base be upgraded and gaining a small but relevant foothold in the city is one of the strong parts of The Division.
The Division’s story could be said that’s it about saving New York, but in a sense it’s all about the loot. Just like in Diablo or to some extent, Borderlands , as you rank up and gain currency, you can buy new powerful weapons and they’re marked by green / blue / purple / gold , the endgame gear is powerful and can be a game-changer. To get the purple and gold loot, you will have grind.
If you complete the story by Level 30, the game puts a brick wall in front of your face and your actions are severely limited and the only thing that’s left is grinding The Dark Zone. The Dark Zone is in the middle of Manhattan, the Dark Zone has it’s own leveling system and it’s own playstyle. The Dark Zone is singlehandly one of the best parts of the game, it;s tense and nerve-wrecking. Anything can happen in The Dark Zone. I strongly advise to travel The Dark Zone with friends.
If you can see past it’s shortcomings, The Division is a fine game and it’s intriguing. I believe Ubisoft has hopefully restored their reputation because this game is really good, it’s a callback to the old Ubisoft, a Ubisoft that made great games like Beyond Good and Evil, Splinter Cell ( Original, Chaos Theory, Pandora Tomorrow.) , Rainbow Six ( Original, 2, 3, Vegas.) and some of the Assassin’s Creed games. The Division proves that Ubisoft can make great games, here’s hoping they see it too.