The Division 2Xbox One, PS4, PC¦ Third-person shooter
Olympus has finally fallen. Although it’s not attributed to the current POTUS, it’s just a given that he’s to blame. No doubt he turned the entire White House into a resort, with the West Wing a casino, the press room a VIP titty bar and the South Lawn an 18-hole crazy golf course.
But it’s not just the home of the President that has crumbled, as can be seen in Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s The Division 2; where NYC took the brunt of a viral pandemic in the original, now it’s the turn of Washington D.C. in this online, multiplayer shooter.
It’s the not so distant future, and the city is in pretty bad shape. Although buildings are intact, the roads connecting them are strewn with abandoned vehicles, with the streets themselves being reclaimed by flora and fauna.
It’s not the only thing taking over the city, lawlessness has gripped D.C, with all figures of authority abandoning it without much thought for those left behind. From chaos springs opportunity, as three major gangs now compete for what’s left.
All is not lost however - not quite yet at least - as the government has activated sleeper agents to attempt to restore some semblance of law and order. They are known collectively as “The Division”; imagine a fitter, slightly more competent version of Dad’s Army and you’ve got the idea.
Using the White House as a Base of Operations, you set off on your quest, either alone or with help, to slowly but surely take back the city, restoring law and order.
Embarking on missions, in single player at least, can be hard work on the streets of DC. At first you should stick to areas available to you at your low levelling, but even then it can be darn challenging. And frustrating. The biggest pain in the proverbial is if you do get into a fight you cannot win, you’ll come back to life at a respawn point. This can feel like miles away from where you died, and without any vehicles to appropriate, it means schlepping all the way back to that point if you want another crack at it. If you’re good, this won’t necessarily be an issue, but if you’re average, as we clearly are, then it can get tiresome real quick.
But slowly but surely, there’s a real chance you’ll find your footing on the violent streets of Washington. Completing missions will help, as it comes with various perks, allowing you to level up that little bit more. Also, it’s a huge relief to find that if you do accept a main mission, if you die playing it, there are save points within it, so no respawning miles from anywhere every time. Phew.
It’s only when you start to understand how things work on the streets that you find your gaming feet. You get a feel for what you can and can’t do on your own, and can take the experience at your own pace. If you need a helping hand however, joining a clan can be very useful.
We’ve made it known numerous times within these pages that multiplayer ain’t our bag; we’re lone wolves, walking single file in the shadows, happy enough to do our own thang. For the purpose of reviews however, we dip into the dark side that is multiplayer, just to get a necessary flavour.
And although it breaks our collective hearts to say it, clans rock in The Division 2. We were quickly adopted by a welcoming clan, and didn’t think much of it, until one of the players, who clearly understood we were out of our depth, took us under their wing. In doing so, we swiftly felt like Robin to their Batman. We took on a mission, they would swoop in and do all the heavy lifting, and we’d do our best with the leftovers, marvelling in their impressive afterglow. We’ve never felt more alive.
In truth, there’s no way we could have progressed as fast as we did without the help of the clan. There is a case for playing beyond our means; if we did it on our own, we’d probably still be being mowed down at the first wave, but at least we would have done it on our on skillset, however ineffective they are.
But it was a crutch we chose not to rely on heavily, which we feel gave the game a nice balance. The experience made us a little bit cockier, self-assured, and we’ve yet to rely on it again, but it’s there for one and all if and when.
The city is a large one, particularly the more you level up which makes it safe for you to enter new areas, but it’s fair to say it’s no NYC. The architecture is all rather bland, and every street feels the same as the next.
It’s the gameplay though that feels tight and fairly balanced. Yes it’s a bit of a grind, but it can be fairly rewarding. We like to think that if the shit does hit the fan, and it will at some point, The Division 2 has suitably prepped us for the chaos on the streets ahead. Sign us up.