I take cover quickly behind the jeep in an abandoned street. Thugs are holding a civilian at gunpoint and I take a few seconds to notice their positions before tossing in my seeker mine, which quickly rolls and splits itself to take the first three down before they have a chance to react. I make quick work of the remaining hostiles with my decked out AK-47 while moving from cover to cover to get the best possible flank. When it’s all said and done, the firefight ends with me being victorious. I hear the other captives begging me to find the key to let them out. When I do I am rewarded with experience points and gear.
Moments like these are really fun in Tom Clancy’s: The Division at first and the game overall is a lot of fun. However, I do still have some complaints that will hopefully be addressed with future expansions. In The Division, available on PS4, Xbox One and PC, gamers take on the roll of an activated sleeper agent in the wake of a biological attack on New York and you work trying to restore order to the streets.
While this seems like a noble goal, it’s exciting and dull at the same time. Each area of the city has the gammer doing tasks that help establish and upgrade the home base and help the civilians. At first they feel and look really varied. Eventually, I found myself doing the exact same thing only with stronger enemies and toward the end, it just felt like a serious grind. However, this can be combated by taking on the city with squad-mates, which I would highly recommend. This makes it more engaging and allows you to think strategically while the difficulty turns higher. This doesn’t mean that the game can’t be played by yourself; it just means that it’s clearly meant to be played with others, as a lot of unlocked skills are beneficial for a team.
In terms of gameplay, The Division is really solid. Weapons feel relatively powerful and are fun to upgrade until you find one that is even better. Combat is usually fast and furious, and using the special abilities is a lot of fun, especially when you unlock the mods that tweak how they work (my personal favorite being the seeker mine with an incendiary load). Lastly, enemies can feel really challenging when they are coordinating to drive you out of cover. However, there were a few times in my 31 hours that I would try to move fluidly from one piece of cover to another and I would get stuck. It feels awkward transitioning at times and I miss having a system similar to Gears of War when this happens.
The story of The Division felt rather weak compared to the fun of the gameplay. Story missions are a blast, but the order they are played doesn’t feel fluid. Having cutscenes is great as well, but when my agent just stood there like a robot it was hard to feel like I was anything more than a pawn. The officers that give you missions almost feel like cartoons of people and while I understand they may be there for comic relief, it doesn’t fit the rest of the game tone. I found myself tuning them out or mocking them the entire time. The end mission doesn’t bring real conclusion either, in my opinion, and just leaves you with taking on the Dark Zone and replaying missions on a much harder difficulty.
Overall, The Division is a solid game with good mechanics. It has laid the groundwork for a good community (except in the Dark Zone, don’t trust anybody in there) and it has a very addictive core. However, an overall lack of mission variety and a fairly weak story bring the overall score for this one down a bit.
Feature image courtesy of Ubisoft