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The Division 2 Review - Major Progression

VO: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: JG
The Divison 2, Ubisoft's latest live-service game is here. Does the sequel build on the years of progress the original setup, or did this grenade need more time to cook?
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Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 - Review

When the first game in “The Division” franchise released in March of 2016, it was considered a commercial and critical success. Though fans took issue with the progression system and other specific gameplay elements, almost every fan of the original game would agree that through a number of free updates, “The Division” was a totally different, and overall a better game by the end of its lifespan. Now, almost three years to the day after the original’s release, Massive Entertainment’s “The Division 2” hopes to hit the ground running and implement everything the developers learned from the last game to make it great from Day One. The question is: did they succeed? Welcome to MojoPlays, and this is our review of “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.”

As you’d expect, “The Division 2,” is a lot like the original game. Set 7 months after the events of the first game, you once again play as an Agent of the Strategic Homeland Division tasked with bringing order and stability after the Green Poison outbreak decimated civilization as we know it. Instead of the snowy streets of New York, the sequel takes place in Washington D.C. and features a wide range of interesting and diverse locations throughout its open world. As you and your fellow Agents make progress throughout the world, you’ll receive new gear and upgrades to use in combat, and gain allies that open up new activities.

While there’s plenty to do in “The Division 2,” the thing that ties all the activities together is combat. The familiar cover shooting mechanics make it easy to pick up and play, but there’s a surprising amount of depth and strategy once you start to progress through the game and learn more about what your Agent is capable of. Moving around in combat can be achieved by selecting the next point of cover you want to go to and a holding the Action button, which seems like a minor mechanic, but is actually fundamental to the gameplay. It’s almost like a real-time-strategy version of moving your units around in an “XCOM” game and can be a huge part of how you approach a combat encounter. That being said, combat can often become frantic and fast-paced.

Since “The Division 2” is a loot-shooter, it stands to reason that you can expect a ton of new loot as you level up. There’s a solid amount of weapon variety, with each weapon type reacting and handling in unique and interesting ways that encourage you to find a playstyle that works for your character.

As you progress through the main game, you’ll unlock new upgrades like the turret, the shield, and the drone. These each have a few subcategories, and you can have two upgrade abilities active at any time. These are at the core of the game’s combat, and experimenting with combinations to find a build that works for you - whether that’s using your upgrades to buff or heal your teammates or going for purely offensive upgrades - can be quite rewarding.

The steady flow of new upgrades, weapons, and gadgets keep the combat feeling fresh, but what really stands out is the enemy A.I. Unlike many cover shooters where enemies will stay hidden behind cover waiting for you to shoot them, the enemy gangs in the world of “The Division” like the Hyenas, Outcasts, True Sons, and Black Tusks apparently don’t have that much to live for, as they can be ultra aggressive. Enemies will rush you, flank you, or just dance around with automatic weapons as you search for the nearest column to cower behind. The enemy variety makes every combat encounter feel like a fresh challenge.

Planning your cover is great and all, but the problem of all cover shooters persists: it can be really tough to control where you lock to cover whenever you’re in close quarters or tense situations.

The game’s Main Missions are a highlight, featuring some really cool set pieces and environments, and providing a ton of replayability. It’s easy to Matchmake with other players who are trying to tackle the same mission, and with multiple difficulty options, you’re encouraged to go back and take on even more challenging enemies and bosses. Speaking of the bosses, this is one area where “The Divison 2” could have used some improvement. Bosses and Elite enemy types are, for the most part, bullet sponges in the truest sense of the word. That being said, they can still provide an interesting challenge for the most part.

The side missions, on the other hand, are a bit more generic but still provide some memorable moments and challenges.

If PVP is more your thing, “The Divison 2” features some solid variety. You can jump right into the Conflict mode, which features two teams of four players competing in organized game modes like Team Deathmatch and Zone Control. Dark Zones return from the first game providing some mixed PVE and PVP content, which is one of the things that differentiates “The Division” and its sequel from the competition.

While they aren’t featured in the game at launch, an upcoming update will add 8-player Raids, which will feature the game’s toughest challenges and puzzles. If you liked playing your way through the main game, the sheer amount of endgame content in the game at launch, not to mention the

But the thing that’s most impressive about “The Division 2” - which likely says more about the state of the industry than the game itself - is that it actually works. Other than a few minor technical issues like popping textures and frame-rate dips, there were no major glitches or problems that interfered with our playthrough in any meaningful way. “The Division 2” is, after all, a live-service game, which puts it in direct competition with other games like “Destiny 2,” “Fallout 76,” and “Anthem.” But when compared to the state of those games at launch, “The Division 2” is way ahead of the curve in terms of polish. Ubisoft knows first hand that a game can be saved by updates - both the first “Division” and, to a larger extent, “Rainbow Six Seige” experienced major positive changes that drastically affected the public sentiment surrounding their game. Knowing this, other publishers have come to the conclusion that they can release games slightly undercooked and fix them later on. Fortunately, in terms of polish and quality, Massive Entertainment’s second crack at “The Division” picks up where the last one left off rather than starting from scratch.
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