Welcome to a (much overdue) post and thanks for sticking with us. In todays post I am going to be finally getting my teeth into Ubisoft and Massive’s Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.
I have been playing this game now from early previews at EGX to day one release, I have switch platforms from PS4 to PC, although that was more because my PS4 went to the gods. Never-the-less I have sunk copious hours into the post green poison hit Washington DC and more recently the return to where it all began in the recently released expansion “Warlords of New York”.
I am not going to sit here and say that I’m not a Division 2 “fanboy” because I am however I also don’t wear rose tinted glasses and know that there is a lot going on that wrong with this game, bear in mind this post is going to be as straight down the middle as I can make it and I will touch on a lot of things I have enjoyed but also I will be going through an awful lot that needs some major love. So sit back, have a read and lets crack on.
Welcome to Washington DC Agent
I was always worried about how Ubisoft was going to follow up from the first instalment of the Division because lets face it the first one originally nose-dived so badly and how it had to claw its way back and win over its player-base both new and old. The early signs suggested that Ubisoft had learned it lesson and was on course to release a great follow-up.
I for one wanted to know just how far Aaron Keener (The Division 1’s main protagonist) had got after escaping with the virus and Vitaly Tchernenko. It was a story line that was fed to you in the form of more recordings when wandering around Washington which whilst I didn’t mind that too much there was no real feeling that you were even bothered with Keener which surprised me but then again the second instalment was more to do with what was going on in the nations capital rather then the workings of revenge seeking maniac like Keener.
Putting aside this desire to track and take down Keener I took in what was going on in Washington instead. We have two new leaders to work alongside in the form of Division Agent Alani Kelso and Base of Operations Manny Ortega who guide you through the rough and ready streets of D.C. The story was almost a little predictable as you found yourself battling new factions similar to the original but this time it was The outcasts, The True Sons and The Hyenas each faction had their own unique way of dishing out their own form of “justice” and causing chaos and havoc wherever they go.
I enjoyed the idea of control points that you could take over from the mentioned factions which would reward you with armour and weapons when you successfully took them from then bad guys, naturally whilst you could take over the control point you also had to take out the strongholds of each faction as you levelled your way through to level 30 and then on to world tier difficulties. The whole area is strewn with little hidden areas to find weapons caches and armour caches also and it all adds to the atmosphere of making it worth looking every single alley way and open buildings.
The scale of Washington is perfect and you can see that the team really wanted to get as close to the real DC as you can, all credit to them for it because its thoroughly immersive in that respect.
I could go on and on about how good the game looks because it really does look fantastic but sadly looks only get you so far. Take the Dark Zone for example, it’s a great area laden with loot but the downside is the gameplay and bugs have taken the whole experience to a very sour place. I kid you not when I say it almost feels like negligence when we talk about how much the DZ (Dark Zone) needs serious attention.
Loot Glorious loot!
The loot system was “overhauled” in recent months but it still feels very lacklustre, I am the first person to admit that if I want the best loot there is then I want to work for it and feel like I’ve earned it but that’s the problem the reward doesn’t justify the time and effort put in.
So gear in Division 2 is similar to most MMO’s in the form that you have Green – Common Gear, Blue – Rare Gear, Purple – Epic, Yellow – High End, Light Green – Gear set items and then the icing on the cake the Orange Exotic gear / weapon drops.
Naturally as you progress through the game the lower end of the gear types lessen and you get your high end equipment with the extremely rare chance of an exotic weapon or gear piece dropping for you, bare in mind there are some exotics you can get with some grinding like the Nemesis (Sniper Rifle) and also the Diamondback from Kenley College.
The problem with the loot/gear drops is however that you could be doing the hardest level of difficulty (Heroic for Missions and Legendary for Strongholds) and the loot that drops is seriously substandard for all the effort you put in.
Its a damn shame that I even find myself writing this because as already mentioned I am a huge believer of earning your rewards and not having them given on a silver platter, that being said, if you are expected to take on the hardest bosses, raids and strongholds then you should have the rewards to match this.
If they can sort the reward system out this would go some ways to sedate the growing concern with the game. Whilst on the subject of gear, I mentioned exotics in the game and that they are the highest calibre of loot around. Well they are but, they can end up being worse than the High-End loot that drops, now don’t get me wrong with a recent update you can re-roll stats on them but the chances are still there that they will be worse off.
I like many other find this frustrating because if you have taken hours on end to get an exotic weapon, for example it took myself 161 runs of the Jefferson Trade Centre just to get Merciless for it only to be substandard even after rerolling the stats. Its such a shame because again this game has bags of potential and it almost feels like Massive want to mess it up only to see if they can rescue it and make it better.
New York, New York!!!
Welcome to New York Agent, its finally time to bring down Aaron Keener, a story which has spanned the first instalment of the Division and left breadcrumbs in the form of recordings across D.C. and a brief moment encounter at Coney Island.
You’ve discovered that the Rogue agent is back where it all began in New York and he is not alone, he has his group of Agents and they are just as pissed as he is. This time though Keener not only has his division of rogue agents he also has his grip firmly in place of the factions back in New York, the Cleaners and Rikers are pretty much under the tyrannical rule of Keener as he prepares to let loose the new poison that he had Vitaly Tchernenko create from the original dollar virus.
Believe me the new poison is some seriously heinous stuff and you’ll see first hand why. New York is not how you will remember it from the original Division but that’s to be expected after all time has passed and mother nature had battered NYC pretty damn hard. Aaron Keener isn’t the only Division original to return as we greet a badass looking Faye Lau as we journey to Haven (your new base of operations). Roy Benitez is back but my personal favourite from the original game Paul Rhodes is there but he is dead set against having you anywhere near haven and it’s with justified reasons after all whenever the Division is near hellfire and brimstone seem to follow them.
So you can bet your bottom dollar you are an unwanted guest but have a lot to prove to earn his and the Peacekeepers trust. You soon find out that New York has been split into four quadrants and each one is under the control of Keener’s Agents, intel is lacking on where each agent is so you need to complete missions to locate exactly where they are.
You’ve also 10 more levels to grind through which doesn’t take long but if you are not careful you will out-level the content finding that you need to grind out some levels before hitting Keener’s last stand.
Inevitably you will complete the required missions track down the agent, take them down, earn a new skill and find out a little more about where Keener is hiding then dispatch him in true division style.
I make it sound so simple because, well it really is and it doesn’t take long at all tracking down the rogue agents, learning the location of Keener and ending his reign once and for all.
I enjoyed the Aaron Keener fight but after taking him down I was left feeling a little empty, that’s even after the unexpected cutscene which is one spoiler I wont be talking about because even I was like “WAIT WHAT THE F***!”
So again we find ourselves feeling short-changed by Massive as they could have had another gem of a game but have let themselves down by making it too short and not worth the £25.99+ price-tag that they have put on it. Realistically this should have been Season 2 with the next season pass but they chose instead to launch as a separate expansion which was in the eyes of almost all Division 2 players a faux pas.
I would go into more detail about the expansion and NYC but there isn’t much more I can say about it. Other than the curveball cutscene at the end of Warlords you also learn that there is a whole truck load of other Rogue Agents and Keener has been a busy lad to say the least.
Rogue Agent’s, Seasons and Directives.
With Keener’s dying breath activating the Rogue Division Agents you have more trouble on your hands because now each season within this expansion you are tasked with taking down a Rogue cell of agents who were lead by one of Keener’s lieutenants.
This is Massive’s way of having you re-run old content to unlock information of the whereabouts of each Agent, leading you to take them down and learning the location of the Lieutenant. Sadly though again this is not enough to keep you coming back for more and still leads you to wonder why you paid so much for something that could have been put as a Season Pass for the second year.
I cant say that hunting down the Rogues is the only addition to the game. They have added seasonal events where you grind out 100 levels in a season to earn Named high-end weapons and armour (like Baker’s Dozen, a ridiculously overpowered Rifle) as well as other cosmetic items.
Also they have added a welcomed old mechanic…Directives, so now you can make the world more challenging but activating directives such as not allowing armour to regen once a bout of combat has ended or non-returning ammo where you need to ensure you use every bullet because if you reload mid-magazine you lose any bullets that were leftover. Yet again another reason to run old content with directives to try and lure you in whilst you wait to find out what is next for this game.
An Agent has left your group.
Right now the game needs a whole lot of love and I want to believe that Massive and Ubisoft are doing what they can to fix the issues within this game but that’s just the thing I WANT to believe it.
Recently the original game was on sale for £2.50 which was a great way to get new players into the division, Its now £25.99 which isn’t terrible for roughly 80+ hours of game-play and content (at least from Team H’s Lowkie will attest to).
The expansion as a stand alone is a further £25.99 (or you can pay £49.99 for the Base and Expansion) which when you compare the original for the same price you cant help but feel you’ve been duped into possibly paying at least £10.00 too much.
Once again the cost for content ratio is way off with the Warlords expansion and that’s the killer here because this could have been a great way to relaunch a struggling game. I have no doubt that somehow Massive and Ubisoft will once again rescue the game as they did with the first Division instalment, my only fear is that it may come too late this time.
You see with the first Division as players didn’t know what to expect you are more willing to allow time for things to be fixed and improved. That same mindset isn’t afforded when you release a sequel and do not learn from your mistakes.
In closing if you already own the Division 2 base game and do not own the expansion, I would say wait until it is on sale because right now the cost and bugs overshadow what could be a great expansion to the Division Series.
Thanks as always for joining me for another review! Do you play the Division 2? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the game, you can always comment below.
Until next time, have a blast and Load The Next Level!