Tom Clancy’s The Division is the RPG game you’ve been looking for. By combining the icy streets of New York with a devastating epidemic tearing the country a part, you get an action packed RPG that you can play own your own, with friends or with other players around the world.
As most online multiplayer games go, things don’t start off smooth sailing. Unfortunately for The Division, its very first mission requires players to visit a shared hub, talk to a woman and then initiate your character on a computer. The problem lied in the fact that every player had to use the same computer. Frustrating chaos occurred as all players would try to access the computer at the same time. PC players were able to use the chat boxes to form an orderly line whilst those on other devices such as consoles struggled with a lack of response when completing the action and/or having to deal with player trolls who would block the computer and stop others getting close enough. A part from this immediate inconvenience, the game was smooth sailing for thereon out.
As a Division Agent, you and your character are ready to take on the streets of New York. Along with your own Division Agent, you receive a Base of Operations that becomes the main hub in the centre of the map. In the Base are three wings, medical, tech and security. Fairly early on in the game, it’s your job to find three able bodies who can lead each wing. Once this has been completed you can upgrade each wing accordingly with various sectors that each come with their own perks. Medical wing examples could include a virus lab, quarantine, pediatric care, pharmacy the list goes on. There’s also something oddly satisfying as you save up appropriate resources and watch an unappealing and abandoned section of the room turn into something else.
The setting of New York is one to marvel at with something new to look at around every corner. Open world game play allows you to freely roam the streets and alleyways. Main missions are usually where you are able to delve into interior buildings and are usually the most refreshing as you may soon notice the smaller buildings following the copy and paste designs. Each wing (medical, tech and security) have main missions and smaller missions that work around their chosen field. At the beginning of main missions you are given the opportunity to match make with other players and set the difficulty level to normal or hard. Like most games the harder the mission is the better gear you may acquire. Through my own experience, matchmaking became a necessity when it came to taking on the larger missions. At one point I somehow diverted an ‘entrance’ and ended up taking on the mission myself. In spite of game play apparently catering to the amount of players taking on the mission, the task soon got out of hand and I became constantly bombarded by enemies that would take down my character in an instance. In all though, multiplayer games may be accessible for single player use but you do loose the fun of working in a team and taking on the missions with other players. Rewards, depending on the scale of the mission come in the form of weapons, gear, XP and supplies that are spent upgrading your Base.
In terms of combat interface, each player has a small box that follows the player in the centre on the screen and displays easy access buttons such as health replenishment and chosen perks. One of my favourites is the mini machine gun that can be thrown or placed anywhere to help take out foes. As your levels get higher and the enemy levels get higher, the mini machine gun becomes somewhat of an ally and much needed other ‘gun’ when taking on a group of enemies on your own.
I do think that many players may be surprised by the lack of emergence with other players. A part from the infamous ‘Dark Zone’ where all players on the server are allowed to roam free, various safe houses across the maps, or matchmaking in smaller groups, you’ll find that you barely come across other players. The Division doesn’t help that it sets itself up as a game where an overwhelming cluster of players blocks your path as you try to complete the very first mission. It was pleasantly surprising to roam the streets of New York and approach the game as my own story whilst leveling up to create a bad-ass Division agent.
- Beautiful settings
- Easy access controls
- Rewards system
- Frustrating beginnings
- Lack of interior building access