I have been impatiently waiting for the release of the much-hyped multiplayer saga, The Division 2 by Tom Clancy & Massive Entertainment. As soon as the beta version hit the market, I got my hands on it and dived for royal gaming bling. Having played it for almost 3 days straight, I can say it has been a fantastic experience that can be summed up in 4 words ‘Out of the World’ multiplayer action! The private beta is available for users who cannot wait to try out the next installment in the highly popular franchise ‘The Division’.
While the gameplay is certainly more challenging, I could not help but notice the innovative graphics used to enhance your character’s appearance, the backdrop, and the intense sequences in the gripping storyline. The developers have announced to release it on 15 March 2019. The title will be available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows platforms.
In this co-op shared-world role-playing third-person shooter, a national task force is deployed to take control over rogue insurgents and rebels who have spoiled the social order and community peace in New York. The Division 2 has a Washington DC background and as I played through the initial sequence, I realized the Washington backdrop was another amazing twist to the original plot with the pandemic flu virus igniting civil rebellion having spread over to other places after having originated in New York.
The First Impression
I was pleased to notice that this online multiplayer video game entailed an array of exciting and creative PvP, PvE and role-playing attributes (like other popular titles in this genre). However, the attention-grabbing plot gives it an edge over the rest. The Snowdrop engine is great at portraying the gritty fight sequences and character appearances with a more realistic and poignant vibe, something that draws your attention to the gameplay and keeps you hooked into your screens.
For a third person shooter with many elements from the prequel making a return such as the dark zone and the national task force, The Division 2 offers a jovial playing experience. If you think this one would get you jaded because of the similar storyline, then you are wrong. You will experience an entirely revamped endgame where you have to scavenge for resources. These would include exciting new content for the campaign modes, the dark zone, and pvp mode. Awesome graphics and brilliant game mechanics had me dashing for a start.
Gameplay and Storyline
The storyline takes much of its elements from The Division. You will observe through the narrative and underlying gameplay dynamics with the predecessor. You have been tasked to organize the Washington DC social structure that is in massive disarray and is in control of government entities. As I played through, I could tell the story would have challenging action-packed moments ahead in the plot that was already unraveling.
Following the outbreak of the Winter New York’s Dollar Flu events, the virus has now spread to Washington, seven months later and has made the once peaceful city all a picture of riots, anarchy, turmoil, and growing civil unrest. The authorities need to implement the law and order to save the crumbling and beleaguered city now controlled by outlaws, mercenary groups and rebels, all vying for a hand at the ruling position.
The core civil war that is now dominating the state of Washington must taper off and the Division is all set to make that happen. They now need to fight these rebellious squads headed by former Joint Task Force member Antwon Ridgeway including the military sections such as True Sons etc.
In a place where Directive 51 has been implemented and civil disorder is pining for a fix, you are ultimately the savior who must either join the elite Division group to restore peace in Washington D.C by fighting off the opposition or battle it out with the rebel allies to gain control of the fragile state. As much as I was smitten by the exciting storyline, what caught my fancy more was the picturesque environment. It was setting the tone for a brilliant shooting fest. I was also amazed at the way enemies used powerful tactical strategies to take you down.
The rebel groups in The Division 2 are more powerful and prehensile compared to the ones in the Division. They execute their strategies after careful deliberation. You have to be skillful and super vigilant in order to avoid being ambushed or slayed. They do not just wait there for you to shoot them, instead, they run and take cover to save themselves. The Black Tusks reminded me of the LMB in Division 1 but their AI is like a hunter.
The Division 2 is a fusion of thrilling action and mesmerizing adventure. It combines elements from the prequel and other titles in the genre that you adore while improvising them with a nice zap of ingenuity. You have a nice repository of artillery such as assault drone, chem launcher, hive, seeker mine and ballistic shield powered by special abilities and war capabilities that give you ample flexibility to exercise your tactics and overpower your enemy.
Developers have improved light machine guns and shot guns. The gameplay also offers you an impressive range of opportunities and resources to cash on defense tools, build your own customized armor like green, purple or gold parts straight from the loot system, and earn hefty rewards from bounty hunting as a Division member. While I play as part of the Division flank, I was tempted to try playing as one of the rogues. These include the Civilian Militia, the Hyenas, Rogue Division Agents, and the True Sons, the Black Tusks and the Outcasts.
In this shared co-op shooter gameplay, The Division 2 takes fun and gaming to an entirely different level. It swaps between fighting outlaws and scavenging for purple, green or blue gear to rescuing residents bugged by the rebel factions, looking out for those in need, hunting for settlements in the area and filling in for NPCs and civilians to complete their chores. Although I wanted to get to level 30 to try out my endgame for the Dark Zone, the plot was so gripping that I could not stop but shoot at the ferocious clods who were unleashing their rage at me with a bout of intimidating weaponry and special abilities. My character had an impressive set of its own unique fighting prowess and it was up to my battling knack to move up higher echelons.
You can essentially choose to play as Demolitionist, Survivalist or Sharp Shooter. These three player-categories symbolize a distinct set of battling abilities & character talent. Sharpshooter class is for players who prefer using sniper rifles and long-range combat because this class is specialized for such combats.
The selection of the class should depend on the type of defensive & attacking abilities and your character’s special attributes for various combat types. If you are an aggressive, intense action-packed close combat player, then I suggest you go for the Demolitionist class.
However, I opted to play as a Survivalist first to grab a clear understanding of the gameplay, the sequences and get familiar with the dynamics. I needed to do it to unravel my combat and sharp shooter capabilities. With only a crossbow at my disposal, my character had at least the expertise to launch attacks at the enemy and plan snares to entrap them into the killer’s zone.
Aside from the primary campaign mode, you can also play the Dark Zone, consisting of three different map locations: the South (Waterfront), East (Capital) and the West (Georgetown). Each of the three zones allows you to try out the immersive Player vs Player and Player vs Environment modes for yourself offering progressive levels of difficulty and challenge as you fight opponents and primarily scavenge for loot.
It took me a while to understand the loot system properly. It is a good idea to assimilate as much blue and green gear you got here at these levels. It will allow you to construct your own high-end equipment (like purple and gold) that you will need in the endgame play. The more gold gear you got here, the higher are your chances of moving up levels and building up stats for the top slot. I found the green gear a bit dross at first because it is the basic level equipment, which does not pack any punch when it comes to gaining an edge over powerful enemies.
However, here is the catch. You can always use it to make high-end gear like blue. This will enhance your defenses for sure; do not throw it away. I later learned that it is best to keep your blue & green gear with you to use it for assembling specialized gold & purple resources. You will need these high-end weapons as you move up levels of complexity.
You will also notice the “Going Rogue” system in the end game for The Division 2 gives the option of fighting the Division members as part of the roguish factions. You have an option to choose between three different classes: the first, second and third tier.
If you are a compassionate contestant who prefers executing less gory combat strategies to tackle the opponents, then I recommend this for you. Players who choose this category do chores like cutting extraction ropes, theft, picking locks, and whisking away supplies like medicine and drugs etc. Shooting, kicking, flanking or punching and even thwacking something on your enemies head make you a second tier rebel.
I, however, decided to later try the third tier that employed more violent ways of combat; outlaws that were actually wanted by the Division because they’re mean, smug, highly competent, top combat experts who’ve slayed so many that they’ve put up a bounty on these mercenaries who show no mercy.
You also have the option of removing your character’s name from the first two tiers by completing a time bound mission while the third tier will have you using an SHD terminal or getting to a certain hideout location for a wanted rebel whose location is displayed to all players within the dark zone. I could not wait to try the occupied dark zones with no safety checkpoints or automatic entry turrets for civilian protection that offered bigger rewards and powerups but kept it for later.
While the pros largely outweigh the pallid features in The Division 2, there are certain downsides that caught my attention.
Overall, The Division 2 is a spellbinding shared open world third person shooter with amazing graphics, gripping storyline and impressive character dynamics. A colossal improvisation on the Division 1 gameplay and tech, this one is massively entertaining offering you more flexibility with artillery, battling tactics and gaming through an array of exciting modes & powerups.
While the developers plan to expand the gameplay to step up its riveting appeal with new upgrades and fixes as part of post-launch, the existing plot is already highly engaging. The gritty action-packed sequences, larger than life visual effects, great character customization, amazing powerups and a slew of moments allow you to test your analytical and tactical prowess in gaining an edge over the roguish flanks in the city.
On the whole, The Division 2 is a great take on a modish shooter saga, which takes you on a journey you’ve never experienced before. I am completely addicted!