The Division 2 – Xbox One Review
I was very taken with The Division when it first launched back in March 2016 but was saddened by the broken nature of the whole experience, standing waiting to login to a laptop in a queue in a virtual world was an experience that would stay with me for a long time.
Fast forward 6 months and the situation was very different which made the game a totally different proposition, I’ve been waiting very patiently for The Division 2 and hoping that Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment didn’t drop the ball.
It seems like they have taken the learning from the first game and really worked on what they wanted to change this time around, the cores systems of the game remain the same and anyone who played the first game will feel right at home.
You are dropped into Washington DC, 7 months after the events in the original game when the SHD network suddenly goes down and you get a distress call from the White House.
The storyline and main missions are pretty entertaining through what is a fairly decently sized campaign, being a shared world shooter you will be constantly hearing radio requests for backup from other players in the world however you can choose to just ignore these and work on your own plan as much as you want, you get the option to approach missions on your own or with other players co-operatively.
Some of the missions can be difficult until you start to scale up your weaponry and equipment, as you unlock skills at the White House through completing main missions and earning skill points you can add tech to your arsenal in the form of eight different options, my personal favourites are the turret and the drone (which has saved my bacon many times).
The sheer size of the world and amount of tasks to do in this game is massive, the city of Washington is broken into 11 sectors which are scaled on player level, stray into one of these areas before you are ready and you’ll regret it, the enemies with skulls above their heads signifying they are much stronger than you will make short work of you.
Each area has a very similar theme to it in that there will be a number of control points held by the enemies which you can storm, take over and install friendly forces in them, you will then repel an attempt to oust you and once complete a supply room will unlock with a selection of treats for you.
There will be a number of main and side missions spread out across the various areas with differing level requirements as you work through the story, then you will come across other tasks such as supply drops where three crates will land and it’s a free for all race to get the contents between you and the enemies and boy do they want them, propaganda towers to shut down, Supply convoys to raid, resources to be collected and distributed to your control points and all sorts of random skirmishes.
There is enough here to keep you deviated for many hours as you discover Washington, the enemies have their own distinctive types and styles from rushers who will just charge at you with either melee weapons of improvised explosive vests through to the usual snipers, and heavily armoured bullet sponges.
They have enough about them to try and flank you on multiple sides when they try to overpower you and sometimes even sneaky enough to attack from behind ig they have heard the skirmish going on, this is where your tech comes into its own and you can use the turret to target specific enemies or call on your drone to get you out of a tight spot when you are getting surrounded.
There are a huge number of weapons and equipment to be found, bought, earned or even crafted if you can get the right resources and blueprints together, your inventory management will be a constantly living breathing thing until you get to the late stages although you will find you favourite weapon (at least until you find a better version anyway).
There a modification options for weapons, equipment and even your tech items if you can find the right mods to use on them and as always the costume customisation is there along with the ability change your characters hair, tattoos, scars and warpaint etc, there are the usual purchase options here but it really has little bearing on your character and you will naturally unlock some of the premium options randomly as you work through the game so nothing seems particularly cynical about the in app purchases and they really are optional, I’ve not bought anything throughout my time.
Missions are fairly varied and have a good feel to them as you work your way through the story and the characters feel pretty engaging throughout my only gripe is that I wish that the player character would at least have some recorded dialogue rather than acting like a mute throughout the game as it just spoils the immersion somewhat.
Graphically on the One X this looks stunning at times and level of detail across the world really makes you feel like you are walking around in a ruined city, I have come across some minor glitches where the textures will be very slow loading or in fact stall sometimes completely but a quick restart always sorts the issue out, hopefully this will be picked up in a patch somewhere along the line.
The Dark Zones seem to have had a bit of an overhaul from what was my least favourite area of the game the first time around to a more balanced area however I don’t feel the need to spend a lot of time in them yet while there is so much else to do in the main game.
I’m really looking forward to finding out what Ubisoft and Massive have planned through the Year One content as there looks to be a lot more coming.
If you like shooters in any way shape or form I’d totally recommend this, even if you don’t like shared world shooters this is perfectly playable throughout the campaign in solo but it definitely becomes more fun if you get a little squad together and roam the streets of Washington together, the depth of the content here is vast and there is a huge amount of enjoyment to be had in the world, looking at Ubisoft’s pedigree with Games as a Service this one looks like it will run for a very long time.