The Division: Review

I played The Division at launch with a group of friends and enjoyed my time with it immensely. The campaign was a blast to play with a squad and then the dark zone had great elements that got you excited and nervous to extract gear, that usually wasn’t that good. After a couple years away, I decided to dive back into the game on PC.

TL,DR at the bottom.

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Gameplay:

I’m not a huge fan of third-person shooters, but I think the cover based shooting plays well. I can’t imagine this game in first-person, considering the need for cover.

I’ve been experimenting with different gun styles and so far I’ve landed on an LMG/Sniper combo. I think the ability to shoot for days with LMG pairs well with the accurate nature of the sniper. Some enemies are just bullet sponges and require something like 200 rounds before they actually go down.

I’ve yet to find a use for shotguns or pistols really. They just don’t seem to fill any particular niche or use where other guns can be used effectively in multiple situations. However, you can probably figure out something that works given the variety of perks and stat adjustments.

I’ve only just finished the campaign again so I can’t speak to the expansions yet. I think the game is much more smooth compared to the launch of the game. I think I finished the campaign and all minor side quests and upgrades to the base in around 25 hours, so it doesn’t require a huge chunk of time, which is great.

The game doesn’t overload with random things to do but it does provide enough to keep you entertained while the finish the story missions in each section. I like the minor events you need to do contribute to the overall game by helping to upgrade your base over time.

I’m going to start getting into the end game to see what that’s like, but it seems like Ubisoft has added a ton of stuff to the game and people are generally fairly happy with how The Division turned out.

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Graphics:

I love the NYC setting in a hardcore winter. The city feels real and accurate, based on zero knowledge of the city itself.

I feel like Ubisoft nailed the smallest details and it makes the world feel alive.

Although the enemies look exactly the same, besides the differences in three factions, the cars, the buildings, and the sky itself all add to the atmosphere and present something akin to apocalyptic on a small scale.

I will say that everything starts to look the same after a bit of time playing. Underground, normal world map, and the dark zone all look different but things do start to blend after some time. That isn’t really surprising for a video game and it doesn’t really detract from the game as graphics aren’t incredibly important with The Division.

Nothing in the environments stick out or detract from the overall experience and everything blends well graphically.

Overall, I’m impressed with the graphics and think the environments and small details really allow for a better experience overall.

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Sound:

Some of the sounds in the game are fantastic, other sound is passable.

I think the background sound adds excellent nuance to the game and adds to the feel of the world Ubisoft is trying to create. You can hear shots and birds in the background that aren’t part of your moment to moment action that enables the world to come alive.

I don’t think gun sounds are that great, but I’m so focused on the action that I don’t really notice so it isn’t a detractor.

I turned off the voice overs because I found them to be a distraction and I have already heard them all once. I wanted to get through the game as fast as possible and listening to people talk about random nonsense took me out of the game.

The sound is actually pretty great overall and I think it adds a lot of fun to the gameplay experience.

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Story:

I think the premise of the story brings you from the beginning and is paced well. The introduction to the game is awesome because it makes you feel important but also allows for other people to have that same feeling as well. You aren’t the savior of a world but are part of a team who tries to accomplish the goal of taking back the city.

The story is very grounded in plausibility. It isn’t something incredibly far-fetched or outlandish so you aren’t taken out of the game by some nonsense that could never happen.

The pace of the story never slows down either. Sure, some of the missions are better than others but that is to be expected for any game really. But, for the most part, I never got bored wandering around the world and finishing missions while doing the other smaller events to level up.

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World:

I think that the world Ubisoft created with The Division makes it incredibly easy to feel like your apart of something larger than yourself. The story, the graphics, the sound all come together to create a wonderful, although desolate, place to live for a few hours.

I like traveling from place to place in this version of NYC shooting enemies and collecting loot. There isn’t any downtime in the world and there’s always something to do or some new place to explore, maybe not true for veterans of the game but for returning and new players its definitely true.

I love the idea of the Dark Zone and exploring a place trying to get loot as NPC and other players try to take you out. I have found that at lower levels the Dark Zone is just a place for me to get loot and not have to worry though, which is a bit sad. Maybe once I get to higher up it will start becoming a risk.

One of my favorite things about loot games is the risk factor of losing what you have, in the vein of Day Z. I want to go in and risk my own gear for better stuff and have the chance of catching other players as they attempt to extract their loot.

I have yet to play the DLC added expansions but for now, I’m content to travel in the world while getting better loot while venturing into the Dark Zone occasionally getting better gear.

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Overall:

I enjoyed my time with The Division on Xbox when it first launched but we didn’t stick around because looting was incredibly time consuming and took the fun from the game.

I’ve had a similar experience with the campaign this time on PC and look forward to the great changes Ubisoft has made over the past couple of years. I’ll probably keep playing a few hours here and there trying to get some named gear as I move on to another game that catches my attention like this one did a second time around.

TL,DR: Good game, tons of fun, is awesome with friends and deserves to be played after all the awesome changes in the past couple of years.

Thanks for reading.

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