In the three years since the arrival of The Division, Ubisoft learned a lot of lessons during the evolution of the original game which it slowly blossomed into a game that was fully realized and earned its fanbase, it became an underrated shooter. But transitioning from what eventually became a fully fleshed out live service to a sequel that is a very bumpy road and one filled with terror as seen with plenty of games before it like Destiny 2 and I’m glad to see that The Division 2 completely subverted my expectations and heeded Bungie’s warnings, this is a proper sequel and it’s a sequel done right. This is the model of which every looter shooter that comes after it and the model of every game wanting a Live Service should copy, The Division 2 is one hell of a game.
The original Division earned its reputation for its endgame material, spongy combat, and much more which is largely diverted in Division 2. The dissonance of needing an entire clip to down a garbageman was too much to bear. This issue is largely diverted, the time to kill is shorter for basic enemies and is longer for armored enemies which makes much more sense. The A.I isn’t the smartest of A.I’s but they’re pretty smart when they’re coordinated and attempt to flush you out which they will attempt to do, the combat comes to life as enemies rush you, rush your sides in an attempt to flush you out. A large amount of variety when it comes to the enemies make combat and general gameplay fascinating and engaging. Satisfaction comes from the abilities that you’re able to use against your enemies, abilities that help you turn the tide in your favor like you can deploy a drone that can flashbang enemies and set up a turret to cover your advance amongst other abilities like a chem launcher that can heal you and your teammates.
The combat also shines thanks to the beautiful rendition of Washington D.C that is a 1:1 replica of the actual city. Much like Fallout 3 before it, The Division 2 takes you across the city on a virtual tour of all the famous landmarks and museums that are dotted across the city; from the famous Mall to the Smithsonian to the Space Museum, you’ll do battle across many recognizable landmarks that you might have seen on TV or visiting the real city. Many of the fights take place inside these historical and famous landmarks, the fight inside the planetarium and a Vietnam exhibit come to mind amongst many others like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Monument. The city is the star of The Division 2.
Ubisoft’s rendition of the nation’s capital is absolutely breathtaking and is packed with immense lore about a nation that has fallen and about a nation that no longer exists, but if you take a look through the tall grass and into the weeds, you’ll find that its nothing but a facade. The story completely falls apart. The Division 2’s storyline is set 7 months after the collapse of American society and the downfall of the American government, New York City has been secured and the SHD moves south to rebuild what is left of the nation but once arriving in Washington D.C, they find themselves in the middle of a civil war and they find not everything is what they expected. The premise is one of the most interesting premises I’ve ever seen but it never goes anywhere nor does Ubisoft go into detail how does the country experienced its downfall or goes into detail how the country goes from a post-apocalyptic scenario to a complete wasteland of despair and violence. The game’s backstory is told through audio diaries and echoes that are strewn about the open world than being part of the plot itself.
While the plot isn’t all that great and crumbles under its weight, the gameplay loop should keep you invested until Level 30 and beyond. The game doles out new abilities and new skills at a steady pace and you have numerous ways to fight back and retake the fallen capital. Completing story missions upgrades the BOP which is the White House, helping civilians and donating supplies makes a difference and generally helping out makes a huge difference and seeing your efforts being paid off is a good feeling.
When you reach the level cap and wrap up the main campaign, Ubisoft surprises you by introducing a dangerous new faction. The fight for Washington D.C is just beginning. The Black Tusk comes in and undoes all of your hard work and retake important sections of the map, including the Capital Building and begin to fight back. Ubisoft changes things up drastically and introduces brand new ways to play the game like introducing gear sets, specializations, and much more as you begin to retake the capital again. The endgame is very important and Ubisoft knocks the endgame out of the park here.
The Dark Zone returns in the Division 2 and it returns better than ever. Instead of just one Dark Zone, there are multiple Dark Zones across Washington D.C which you can go in to explore, these are Dark Zones West and East alongside Dark Zone South which is D.C’s pier and waterfront along the Potomac River. These sections offer more singleplayer content alongside multiplayer content like you can turn on your fellow brethren or enter multiplayer matches but these feel more like an experiment than a full-fledged feature which is fine as The Division isn’t really known for things like Team Deathmatch or Domination.
Besides the story being an absolute failure and a very other nitpicks that aren’t really worth mentioning, The Division 2 is an excellent game and one that deserves all the praise. The Division 2 is one of this generation’s best shooters and you should definitely check it out, this is a game worth playing and worth picking up. You won’t regret it.
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