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My Brief Thoughts on The Division

- February 28, 2016 -
Is The Division good?

I’ve been interested in seeing more of The Division ever since the initial announcement in 1874 (seriously, it’s been forever!). Oddly enough, the beta has made me confused. The game is brimming with potential, but you can also see how it could all go sideways.

Here are my conflicted thoughts on The Division, based on regularly playing the beta for a few days.

  • The AI is a disaster. Enemies don’t try to outmaneuver you, their only tactic is to throw grenades in your position, and sometimes they completely ignore you as you loudly kill them 1 by 1. I can only assume that the full game will address all of these issues, but still, it’s worrying to seem them present so close to the game’s release date.
  • Player mobility feels great. As the player, I felt empowered to fluidly move around the environment mostly thanks to the intelligent cover system.
  • The gunplay is mostly fantastic. As a loot driven game, The Division will live and die by its weapons. I was pleasantly surprised that all of the weapons I tried handled appropriately and had that almost indescribable but satisfying “oomph” factor you expect from video game guns. However, it feels like there’s barely any recoil when playing with a mouse. I’m hoping that later guns will have more trade offs, otherwise firefights will get a little stale and grindy no matter how much strategy you need to put into them.
  • The Dark Zone is currently pointless. The DZ doesn’t lend itself well to a short demonstration, but what was in the beta was sorely lacking. There need to be the likes of faction wars, random events, more AI, and generally more reason to go there. If the DZ exists only to get better loot, it’s just not that interesting. Players who like grinding and get addicted to numbers will probably love it regardless.
  • It’s too easy to go rogue in the Dark Zone. Seriously. There’s also very little reason to do so. Perhaps some sort of loot or XP bonus would shake things up.
  • The world is mostly barren. As I understand, random encounters were toned down for the beta. I hope that’s the case, because I never felt on alert or in danger during my time with the game. Especially with the AI being so bad and the shooting being so easy.
  • The city is wonderfully crafted based on what I’ve seen. Wowza! There’s so much detail everywhere, and the weather effects are phenomenal. Very impressive.
  • The game runs like crap on PC. I played on a very beefy computer with a 980TI and it couldn’t handle a steady 60fps at 1080p on ultra settings. That’s pretty ridiculous, even for a game as visually advanced The Division. Ubisoft have a history of unoptimized PC games, but I’m hoping the full game runs a lot better.

On paper, The Division is a multiplayer focused RPG shooter with loot and character persistence hooks. A fantastic formula. I just hope it all pans out and that there’s more to the gameplay than simply grinding for loot. What do you think of The Division? Let us know on Facebook.

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About Goran Popovic

Goran is a video game legend. When he's not rocking the #1 spot on every leaderboard or developing the latest hit, he's probably stealing your girl. Follow him on Twitter if you want to be close to greatness.