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Letters from the Front

The private beta of The Division 2 kicked off yesterday for those who signed up or pre-ordered to gain access. High level content doesn’t kick off until later today, but there’s still a lot to unpack from yesterday’s first few hours with the game. Let’s begin!

First, the combat. The changes to the combat in The Division has run deep and these changes begin with how different the environment is to that of snow-covered Manhattan from the original Division.

Environments in Washington D.C appear to have less contrast and once engaged regardless of the time of day, enemies will come out of the woodwork and will leave you guessing to where they be hiding. These subtle changes to The Division 2 change up how you will engage the enemy and you’ll be constantly on the move this time around. As my friends and I moved up on two separate sides of a parking garage, enemies randomly surprised us and we had to pull back to the far end and dig in but were forced to retreat as some of them flanked us and pushed us back to a small hallway. As a consequence, we were on the move and have to move with purpose and be careful of where we went as the enemy could’ve killed us.

Coupled up with these new changes is another change which is called “Parkour mode.” it cuts down the Gears-style sticky cover mechanic by making your Division agent automatically vault over objectives if they’re sprinting from cover to cover. This new feature allows you to quickly get out of a scrape and plan for more fluid retreats if you need too pull back and heal up.

On top of this, weapons now matter more in The Division 2 than they did in the original game. You can now separate an assault rifle from a DMR or a DMR to a scout rifle while shotguns now been improved. A semi-auto Shotgun can be quite formidable in the right hands and is the best option against incoming enemies and is the best option for CQC.

The role of tech has greatly expanded in The Division 2. SHD tech wasn’t at all relevant in the later sections of The Division but in The Divison 2, the role of SHD tech has greatly expanded. Enemies now have access to SHD tech as The Division agents who use them, one of the enemies can use an RC car against you while others lob seeker mines and throw down turrets to withhold your advance.

Agents can use some of the same tech as the enemies that use them. There are two turrets that you can use in the beta, both plug away at the enemies but you can also assign them to enemies while you can flank around and defeat your foes. You can also use a healing drone which doesn’t just heal you but heal your armor and your turret which will increase its resilience if another firefight occurs. Although, at some points, is that the skills currently feel “meh.” at this present time despite the role that they can take on is much greater than in the original Division, although, perhaps that’s at a glance after using some of them and not all of them since not all of them are available in the beta.

At this stage, I’m very impressed with the combat and how the role of tech has been greatly expanded upon and new features like the “parkour mode.” breaks up the traditional cover mechanic that was so prevalent in TPS games after Gears revolutionized it in 2005. At this stage of the game, I’m quite impressed with The Division 2 and it shows a lot of promise. If Ubisoft plays their cards right next month then I’m willing to stay for the ride and see where The Division 2 takes us.

( The beta ends on Sunday. Stay tuned for my final thoughts on the beta this coming Monday, see you then!)

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