The Division, by Massive Entertainment and published by Ubisoft, has been out for a little over a week now. I have not played it non-stop. I have not even reached the maximum level. Honestly, I’m trying to take my time and enjoy the game. This is working as intended.
I’m not a reviewer, but I’m still going to give my thoughts on this new type of game. I’m not sure that it really fits in any one type of genre. It’s a third person shooter. It’s a loot driven game. It’s an RPG. It’s a shared world game. What else? It’s not quite an MMO, though. It’s a very nice blend of several aspects of other game types.
It’s Destiny, but better in most respects, and I’m saying that from the viewpoint of having enjoyed playing Destiny.
I also should really do this on a computer instead of my phone. Ah, well.
This is from my experience so far on the XBox One.
Character creation and Customization:
Character creation is nothing comparable to, say, Fallout 4 or Black Desert. You get several choices of face types, hair types, piercings, tattoos, and really that’s about it. Personally I think this isn’t something that can destroy a game, but I also think that in this generation of consoles and gaming computers that there should be more options to customize your character’s look during initial creation. His particular creator is lazy.
The faces actually look mostly good. The hair even looks decent as well. The tattoos can only be placed on the neck (male anyway, haven’t made a female) which is odd. You can change the saturation of said tattoos, but that’s it.
There is a little more to customization one you get in game. There seem to be a decent number of appearance items that you can pick up.
Your “armor” doesn’t change your appearance all that much. Kneepads and your backpack come to mind while I’m sitting here at work. These are actually visible. Otherwise you have those appearance items that you get to try to find all over New York.
Hats, scarves, jackets, shirts, pants, and boots.
Baseball caps, SWAT helmets, beanies, pom pom beanies, skullcaps, flap hats, military style hats, and a few more I’m sure.
If I ever wear a pair of skinny jeans either in real life or in The Division, then I demand that someone shoot me. In the knee.
B- – Creation is subpar. Appearance items brings this grade up.
Graphics and the Environment:
Wow. That’s all I can really say. I’ll start by saying that my opinion on this is based solely on how it looks to me. Resolution and refresh rate are not taken into account at all. I’ll leave the technical stuff to the technical people.
Snowstorms. Fog. Christmas lights at night. Fire. Trash. Not quite feral dogs. Breakable glass. Car doors/trunks/hoods that you can close. Okay. That last part isn’t that important. Why are there so many cars with doors that are only cracked open? Weird.
The snowstorms and fog seriously affect your visual distance. This can literally change the way that you play. You really cannot see anything past about 20 meters or so (again, not technical) during a snowstorm.
I really like the environment. The ambience. There are are people randomly saying things from the windows of their homes. There are people talking to each other in the street and even done trying to open car doors that seem to be locked. These latter individuals will back off quickly and leave when you approach them. I’ve atm pushing matches in the street. I’ve been barked at by a could breeds of dog. Rats scurry around pretty much everywhere. Birds take flight when you get near. Groups of Rioters and Cleaners will fight against each other, even in the Dark Zone.
There might be too many trash bags though. An evacuating populace would not create more trash on their way out of town. Then again, a quarantined populace probably would.
The world itself looks great. Walking down a street and being blinded by the setting sun is so very awesome. That’s my technical term for it. You’re welcome. The day/night cycle makes the immersion so much better. Night time brings on the Christmas lights as well as the neon signs.
The world itself is also very large. At least it feels very large since you are walking or sprinting everywhere. The streets are packed with disabled vehicles and road blocks, so there are no vehicles and no way that you could drive them around if they were available.
A – The visuals are stunning, even if it’s a post-epidemic scenario. Maybe even because of that. The ambience is distracting in a great way.
I’m rambling, therefore
I shall ramble some more.
Story & Missions:
There is a story. I’m having a hard time putting it together. That’s not entirely true. I feel like I know what’s going on. I also feel like the telling of it could be done differently. I’m not a game creator, however, so take this opinion with a grain of salt.
The story has a good beginning. You know who you are supposed to be: a Division Agent in a sleeper cell in New York City. You know what happened to cause your activation. You know what your job is. After that, though, you end up doing different missions that progress what you know. This is for, but I sometimes feel like it’s too free roaming in that respect. You can do the available encounters, side missions, and story missions in whatever order that you want.
Upon further reflection, however, I think the previous paragraph may be slightly in error. The story missions are level gated in a sense. They have recommended levels which can prevent you from competing those out of order.
Extra seasoning for the story comes on the form of video and phone recordings.
Perhaps I really have to rethink everything. I’m thinking about it as I Swype this out on my phone. The storyline doors not revolve around you, the character. It’s more of a big picture. Even some of the NPC’s in your Base of Operations mention things basically about the” “next man up.” If you died then they would just assist the next agent that takes your place.
Side missions and encounters have enough variety at this point (level 12) that I can’t truly complain. Yes, there are multiple instances of mission types being reused, but there are others that make me enjoy doing them.
- Rescue hostages
- Kill this group or that group
- Assist the JTF
- Recover/Protect supplies