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The Division Review

by on April 9, 2016
 

 

 

Since it’s release several weeks ago, GameOctane has had the chance to dive deep into The Division, the new third-person shooter from Ubisoft.  What do we think of our time so far in the chaotic, virus torn New York City?  Read some of our thoughts below!!!

 
Ryan – GUYS, IT’S JUST LIKE DESTINY!  BUT IN NEW YORK!  AFTER A VIRUS WIPES OUT PART OF THE CITY!  Guys?  Hello?  Wait, come back!!!!!

I have to admit, my first few hours of gameplay brought back bad memories of Destiny.  Repetitive missions?  Check.  Repeating missions and encounters for better loot?  Check.  I was very worried about how things would go.  Luckily, Division has several features that make for an enjoyable gaming experience.

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The gameplay in Division is solid.  It is a 3rd person shooter with a cover mechanic system that protects you against leveled adversaries.  The AI in the game are fairly challenging.  I didn’t have an encounter where I stayed in one spot and sniped everyone.  Enemies will hit you from distance with rifles and assault weapons while others will try and flank you with shotguns.  The variety of enemies and weapons kept me on my toes and forced me to develop strategies quickly in order to survive (Hint – be prepared to roll out of the way and find new cover!)  Going solo is a possibility, but I definitely had the most fun playing in a 4 man team.  There are various vantage points in each mission, allowing the players to strategically place themselves for maximum efficiency.  The missions and story itself are ok.  Again, it can be a little repetitive.  Go here.  Turn this on.  Kill this enemy.  Find the collectible.  Rinse, repeat.  However, daily challenges, different difficulty, and incursions (coming next week) offer a more challenging experience for gamers.

Although missions and collectable hunting can be repetitive, the loot system and crafting system are nice additions to the game.  Completing side missions opens up blueprints for crafting weapons and gear.  I found myself taking my time in missions so I can find weapon parts or fabric to create better gear.  If you don’t want to go that route, then various vendors will sell low and high end weapons based on your level.  Your base of operations can also be expanded and improved, opening up various perks that will make the game a whole lot easier.

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Upgrading your Base of Operations opens up Perks and Skills to help you take back New York City

One of the biggest draws in the game is the Dark Zone.  I know some gamers are hesitant to go into a PvP area of the game.  But the rewards are too great to ignore.  There are a couple ways to take on the Dark Zone.  If you don’t want to mess with players, then you can look for named enemies that will drop essential loot for survival in The Division.  But come on, you know you want to test your mettle against other players!!!!  Areas of the Dark Zone are set aside for specific levels, so don’t worry about sending your Level 10 agent against a level 30 agent with the gamertag ‘TeeBaG420BlazeXxX.’  Attacking and killing players causes them to drop any loot that has not been extracted from the Dark Zone.  While it is a fun way to gain loot, it marks you as rogue and attracts other players who want to take you out!  Extraction Zones are tense and chaotic as you try and get your earned/stolen loot to your stash in your Base of Operations.  Getting killed in the Dark Zone causes you to lose XP, Dark Zone Credits, and any loot that has not been extracted, so be careful.  The Dark Zone is a great addition to this game.

The Division is a solid shooter that may bore gamers who aren’t interested in grinding for loot.  While the main story and missions may be repetitive, the draw for many is the tense and challenging adventures you will have in the Dark Zone.  For me, this is a great addition to any gamer’s collection who wants to strategize and co-op with some friends.

Grade: B-

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Curt-  I’ve been playing Tom Clancy’s The Division since Launch day. In my opinion, before you can really understand anyone’s review/thoughts on The Division, you have to take into account their experience with MMORPG. This background lays foundations, standards, and perspective which can heavily sway an opinion positively or negatively. So, before I begin my MMORPG background includes a good solid 3 years playing World of Warcraft (Vanilla [2004], until just before Wrath of the Lich King [2007]), and 1 year playing RIFT, I’ve also dabbled in Neverwinter Nights and Star Wars the Old Republic. One of the reason’s why I stuck with Warcraft for so long is I had a core group of friends that would raid on a regular basis, this group dynamic (40 player in vanilla, 20-25 player in Burning Crusade) of having individual players work together, fulfilling separate roles to achieve an ultimate goal. The teamwork aspect is the linchpin of a good MMORPG, and in my opinion, this is where The Division shines. Because having your team work together to take on some serious amounts of enemies is very satisfying.

The 3rd person cover based shooter foundation for this game is fairly solid. The controls are comparable to Gears of War, so they are not completely unfamiliar. However, like Gears of War they can feel a little clunky at times when trying to make fast movements away from close quarter attackers who are trying to push you out of cover. This adds to the intensity of each individual firefight as you health is driven near it bottom, but can sometimes seem like an annoying crap shoot if the buttons don’t respond to your liking. I’m unsure if this close quarters feeling was intentional, but it lends well to both the realistic setting/gunplay and accentuates the importance of strategically playing towards the strengths and effective ranges of your current weapons and skills loadout. However this loadout is fluid and can change at anytime, a strength or ability not present in many MMORPGs (especially early ones). At no point are you locked into any particular class, build, or playstyle; however, the stats on gear and mods you are using can really bolster a particular build and heavily influence a playstyle.

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Craft Weapons and Gear in your Base of Operations

Visually the game is beautiful and eerie, while the  story is somewhat depressing and disturbing. The realism depicting the downfall of society is haunting and savage. All of these elements  are very positive. But there is a weakness that lies deep within this uber realistic setting and its relation to the gameplay variety/structure. To be honest the only time I notice this problem is when I reach the end of an instanced mission. Each mission works one of two ways without much variety (lack of variety seems inherited from the realistic Tom Clancy setting). First in all instanced missions fight your way in (not too bad and very formulaic to all MMOs). Second, move the objective forward, find story driven item or set up story necessary tech item, while killing more guys that are getting increasingly more difficult and strong (once again very form fitting for the genre) Finally, the mission is coming to a close and the end is in sight one of two things will happen: 1. Hold the position and defend from oncoming attackers including one big bad guy with lots of health, or 2. Continue storming forward and assault the big bad guy with lots of health. When the fight and encounter mechanics being essentially the same for every mission and most firefights the settings weakness is most apparent. There’s only one fight with a separate mechanic than the rest of the game, so I’m hoping for bigger and better things in the coming incursions and subsequent updates. This lack of variety has contributed to some people getting bored of the game quickly.

Solo Play/Leveling was the main way I was able to reach max level. Each Zone of the PvE area was leveled appropriately with side missions and encounters that were sufficiently challenging. The side missions were particularly rewarding with decent gear for completing each mission and crafting blueprints for completing all the side missions for an area. If you’re thorough your XP is doubly rewarded upon speaking to the assigning JTF officer and then again when he or she send you to the next safe house. One of the worst parts about an MMORPG is the inevitable grinding for levels. This side mission and encounter loops while repetitive are a good way to gain the XP needed to level. In my experience it was only slightly annoying to go through these loops, but each loop felt like it made a difference towards level progression. To reach max level I didn’t even have to finish all of the side missions, encounters, or even instanced missions. Overall the experience didn’t seem much like a grind to complete. Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman would be happy that they wouldn’t have to kill rioters endlessly to reach end game content. This was very reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed 1 and the missions that repeat themselves that lead to the assassination.
Pvp in the dark zone is a fantastic way to break up some of the repetitive side missions and encounters. While many reviewers have recommended waiting to go to the dark zone until reaching level 30. While the gear you pick up in the DZ  you can quickly outgrow with more the experience and allies you can build in these lower levels can help significantly later on. I would advise finding a group or entering the dark zone in a group. There’s always strength in numbers. Ultimately, the dark zone brings an intense and entertaining element to The Division. With the upcoming changes in patch 1.1 all named enemies should be dropping high end equipment this should become a place to get some seriously good gear.

Gear stats can be a bit confusing, but they create a wide variety and practically endless variables. Between all the mods for weapons, gear, luss all the additional stats and talents that be attached to each part of equipment. This endless variation makes easy to carry multiple items depending on situations you find yourself in, but at the same time it makes it difficult  to tell which item.is better overall.

I continue to enjoy my time in The Division, I think they’ve laid a decent foundation to build upon, and my hope is that the development team can find some creative ways to engage players and teams in a variety of ways beyond bullet exchanging firefight. For a game which has never been marketed as an MMORPG it pulls the genre off quite nicely in a way that is new and innovative.

Grade: B

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Hang in there, buddy

Add us!

Ryan – SPReCHNSieDIC (Xbox)        

Curt – cals1st (Xbox)

 

How would you rate The Division?  Let us know in the comments below!

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