While The Division had a mildly rocky launch on March 8, it seems that the game has gotten its stuff together and has been carrying on for most without issue. And while the post-apocalyptic story set in an abandoned New York City was gripping, I quickly learned that The Division was less about the story and more about the action.
This is a strange feeling for me, because when it comes to games, I dedicate myself wholly to the game’s story. But in Tom Clancy’s The Division, the game is not so much about the story—and it’s okay. The game is about immersing yourself in an open-world map and forming a camaraderie with other online players to either explore the world or complete missions together.
As I played through The Division, I chose to go at it solo. I’m not much of a team player when it comes to video games. At the beginning of the game, you unlock a Safe House in Brooklyn and it is in this Safe House where you can socialize with other players who are running around. One thing I truly hated, at least when I played, was in order to verify your identity, you need to talk to one guy sitting at a table, yet there are many other new players trying to talk to this same guy. I have heard that people have been kind and stood in a single file line and took turns speaking to him, but when I played, I kept getting pushed out of the way. It was a horrid experience, but I eventually was able to verify my identity. Check out the trailer below.
There have been many questions about whether or not the missions are harder when you play alone. The first couple missions were no problem for me, but as I went on, missions got more difficult to complete on my own. Every time I would almost get through a mission on the last wave of enemies, and I’d die, I’d have to redo the waves of enemies all over again. But that’s a part of playing games like these and yes, I may rage when I die and shout vulgarities and throw my hands in the air, but I wouldn’t be a hardcore gamer if I didn’t.
The game design itself is stunning with a visually-breathtaking depiction of a post-apocalyptic New York City. Cars are broken-down in the middle of the roads, buildings desolate and decaying and civilians wandering around and trying to survive. Because of the beautiful imagery of the map, I’m glad that this is an open-world game so that I can explore whatever my heart desires and go down whatever street that entices me.
The movement system for my character was a little wonky. I just wish it was smoother for when I was caught in the midst of gunfights. A lot of times when I pressed “X” to hide behind a crate, it sometimes would bounce me back to standing in the line of fire from the enemy, and it does this numerous times. And when I would already be frustrated about failing a mission several times, this little nuisance would just add to it. The movement of the character in general felt wonky though, like when I would run, I would have less control over my character, running into walls and getting stuck on corners of things. This was another especially annoying aspect to tackle during a gunfight—getting stuck on a corner when you’re getting shot at is pretty maddening, especially when it causes you to die. I just wish those mechanics would’ve been more ironed out.
Another small quarrel I have is with the character customization. For me, when there is a female character I can create, I usually choose to create a female character over a male character. It’s more fun to have a character that resembles me, or so I like to think. But when you go to create a female character in The Division, apparently women in a post-apocalyptic world all shave their heads. There are like four different shaved head or short hair options, and one long hair option tied in a pony tail. What gives? I understand this is the apocalypse and women’s hairstyles should be the least of your worries, but why have so many short hair options and one long hair option? Again, it’s a small quarrel, but something that’s worth questioning. You have an open-world game with so many options for exploration, but very little character customization options? Overall, I enjoyed Tom Clancy’s The Division. I absolutely love open-world games like this because there is just so much to do, it’s hard to know where to even begin. Like walking into Disney World and not knowing which ride to go for first. It’s a visually-stunning game that can keep me busy for hours.
This review based on a PS4 copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Players: multiplayer, solo, online
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Ubisoft Massive, Red Storm Entertainment, Ubisoft Reflections, Ubisoft Annecy