Tom Clancy’s The Division
Rating: 9.2 out of 10
Reviewed on Xbox One
Tom Clancy games are undoubtedly a soft spot in any long-time tactical gamer’s heart if they are done correctly. The Division was one of the games under his name that had a lot of us speculating after several delays and an eventual release three years after the original E3 Expo demo. The Division was really hyped up when it was first announced for the reason that it was an open world, post-apocalyptic game unlike any before (i.e., no zombies or mutants), and it was announced around the time the next generation of consoles was revealed. The Division dropped this past Tuesday, but I had already put in a solid 36 hours in the first 72 hours the game was released, so I would be able to hit the level cap and the endgame to process the game fully, seeing how big of a title this is. After the second delay which moved it to the middle of 2015, I found my excitement dying a little, but I trusted that Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment knew what they were doing and would make this game worthwhile.
The Division is an MMORPG third-person shooter. It is quite rare to find games like this outside of the MMORPG first-person shooter Destiny, released fall of 2014. There are glaringly noticeable similarities between the way these two games work, almost to the point of exact replication. The rarity of guns and armor is labeled by color in both games. If an enemy is over five levels higher than your current rank, the rank is covered by a skull. Even so, Ubisoft make sure to fix what Destiny did wrong: the enemies are not, in fact, invincible. The Division exceeds my expectations as an RPG, throwing in some elements that even big-name games like Diablo III don’t have.
The Division only falls short of a ten for its lack of story. Sure, it’s there, and it will excel as a franchise, but this is a necessary thing to point out: this game throws missions in the mix without context. You get dropped into a world, make your character, and are sent through numerous quests for supplies to repair your Base of Operations. Something was also missing from the Character Customization, or so it feels until you start collecting clothes from dead enemies and from closets in abandoned apartments to change your appearance. This does not affect your armor ratings, but offers a little extra customization to differentiate you from your fellow peers.
Last but not least, The Division’s PVP (player vs. player) of sorts, the Dark Zone, is an amazing experience for those who are up to a very intensive challenge. Access to Dark Zone areas are unlocked immediately, although I would not recommend going in until at least level 11 or 12. You are dropped into an area of the world where communications no longer exist and Division Agents like yourself have gone rogue (you can too!). The area features nothing but the game’s hardest enemy tiers, Legendary and Epic, which have a ton more health, making them a real threat. You get your best loot from the Dark Zone. Named Epic enemies and/or bosses will drop high tier loot every kill, but the catch is you have to extract anything you grab in the Dark Zone to use it in the game. Extraction Areas are located in all Dark Zone arenas and are activated by shooting a flare into the sky. It takes approximately a minute and a half for the chopper to reach the Extraction Zone, but you will be occupied watching out for waves of enemies, or worse: Rogue Agents. Rogue Agents are actual online players who kill others in the Dark Zone for their loot. You can be one, but you’ll be marked with a skull and trackable to other agents on the map. Death can be very dissatisfying, but that adds to the tension of the Dark Zone. Upon death, you will lose all loot you were carrying and some of your Dark Zone currency, along with XP. Fortunately, the Dark Zone has its own ranking system, so it will not affect your level outside of the Dark Zone. Make sure to tread carefully and with a group of friends, if possible.
I would recommend The Division to any gamer who wants to get pulled into a game for hours, if not weeks. If you were like me and can’t decide whether to make the purchase or not, do it! The game is only going to get better over time, and you’ll be behind the later you start.
- Dakota G.