Interestingly enough, The Division begins shortly after a smallpox pandemic transmitted by a virus planted onto banknotes, called Black Friday, sweeps across the U.S. The player is tactical agent that is sent in to assess and combat the treat in Manhattan. One of the first missions is to establish a tactical stronghold and try to save what remains of the city. The player will encounter remnants of the New York City Police, Fire, and Emergency Responders and the New York National Guard now known as the JTF (Joint Task Force) who will help the player throughout the game.
This is probably one of the best reasons to play this game. The “base building” aspect is pretty played out in many of the recent games, but the player’s headquarters in The Division serves as a rally point for all the forces in the game. So far in the beta, all the missions that were completed, earned a new companion that manned a new section of the base. Rescue a doctor, bam – you gain a medical section in the base. These new base upgrades also gain the player new character abilities that can increase in level.
The single player or co-op part of the game is about half the city. Most of this was locked during the beta, so I do not know for sure. Sections of the city are level walled. meaning
that you need to be of a certain level to enter. This was the most fun in co-op mode because other players could be help out while also working on their own accomplishments. As I stated before, the majority of the ‘main’ game is to increase your base of operations while helping the city return to life – of course this is also making your own player more powerful.
That leads us to the other half of the city – The Dark Zone. The Dark Zone is the player-versus-player competitive multiplayer mode featured in The Division. The big draw to this section of the game is the high-end weapons which are left behind when the military retreats in the game. However, these items, are considered “contaminated loot” and can be taken by other players in the zone. In order to save these items, the player must get to an extraction point and call in for a helicopter extraction to wisk the items back to the player’s base. Of course the process of doing this, garners the attention of those that would love nothing more that to take it and do the same.
I found that in the beta supplied levels, that lone adventuring in the Dark Zone was usually a fatal concept. Many player teams travel the zone looking for characters with loot and jumping them at the extraction points, turning these into a tug of war that is usually won by the biggest team.
The Division is an exciting game to play. I enjoyed the ease of the run-to-cover, shoot-from-cover play style. The selection of weapons and attachments is also very nice. My biggest complaint is probably the fact that shots on target all seem to have the same effect. Headshots with a sniper-type rifle may do a bit more damage, but you still have to shot the opponent two to three more times in the noggin to drop them. The same thing applies to a shotgun. Several times I had an unarmored bad guy run toward me and take a couple shotgun blasts to then head before he starts swing a baseball bat at me. For a game this stunning, the A.I. should not be that off. As far as my final decision for The Division, this is a sure purchase if you have a group that also plans on playing to create a team. If you are looking to be the lone wolf, I think you would be better off renting.
Side Note: The storyline for Tom Clancy’s The Division is fantastic! I have an early copy of the book produced as a companion to the game, Tom Clancy’s The Division: New York Collapse and it is a fantastic read. More to come on that later… Below is a quick video that my son produced for the book, just because it has captured his imagination.
Review notes: I played the beta on PC, so all opinions are based on that. The final game may be different and may play different on other platforms. All opinions are my own.