It’s hard to get me on board when a game requires a persistent online connection. I could argue for hours as to why I think it’s such a bad move, reframing people without good internet to play the game offline and without lag. Even so, after getting to grips with Ubisoft’s highly anticipated The Division, it’s certainly peaked my interest. For the short demo, Joel, Freya and I banded together against a further three players.
If you don’t know what Tom Clancy’s The Division is about, I’ll give you a main overview. The United States has fallen into a state of disarray, as a virus that’s been transmitted through bank notes has crippled the government and brought humanity to its knees. Without basic utilities and little to no food, panic has taken over and society is collapsing.
The tragedy occurred on Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping events of the year, and after the devastation highly-trained tactical agents were sent out to try and help the situation. These squads are part of The Division, and they’re all that’s left to battle the chaos lining the streets. It’s a pretty cool premise that has allowed Ubisoft to realise a beautiful rendition of New York, a city that has been tragically scarred by the unforeseen calamity.
In the full game you’ll have the ability to cover Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, with other areas supposedly available as well. As an MMO, large amounts of players will be based in different areas, doing their own thing until you meet face-to-face, deciding whether to work together or take them out to steal their supplies.
Instead of getting free-reign over the entirety of Manhattan, for time constraints we were confined to a Dark Zone (which is an area severely affected by the virus). Once inside, we could then participate in PvP (player vs everyone) and PvE (player vs environment) action. This is only possible in a team, so you can work together to combat enemy threats with precision, or at least that was the hope. Our demo instructor tried his best to provide support, but within minutes I was scouting the surroundings and ordering my friends around the map.
Once we were deep into the Dark Zone, I tried to make sure we took it slow. Nevertheless, my words were meaningless, as both Joel and Freya fell to the ground in seconds as soon as bullets started flying. Like many MMOs, The Division requires a large amount of cooperation between players, something we didn’t have. My class type could allow me to ping for nearby enemy locations, as well as provide medic support, but that didn’t help much during my time. There are countless classes to choose from and each one is customisable.
As we reached the heart of the area we then attempted to acquire some loot, something that required us to shoot a flare and prep it for extraction.
Once initiated, it’ll take ninety seconds until a helicopter can come to take it away. Problem is, all nearby enemies will be alerted as soon as you fire the flare. Unsurprisingly we were met by heavy enemy resistance and found it hard to stay alive – well, Joel and Freya did at least. Though before we could gather our senses and act like the bad-ass squad we truly are, the demo was over and our pride was hurt.
In such a short time I came to see the massive amount of potential The Division has. The combat is fast and rewards tactical gameplay, and the world is intricately detailed, telling a story without the need for heaps of dialogue. It’s going to be interesting to see how missions chain together, and whether the story will be more plentiful than Bungie’s underwhelming Destiny. Here’s hoping not all the content is being held back for DLC.
The Division shows a lot of promise, but I’m a little apprehensive of how the full game will turn out. How much of New York City will be available to explore? Plus, how much freedom will I get and will there be enough to keep me and my fiends occupied? Time will tell.
Tom Clancy’s The Divison will be released for PS4, Xbox One and PC on March 8th 2016.