Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
In 2016, when The Division broke into the market, the so-called “Games As A Service” already existed, but we were not so used to their presence. Overwatch was coming out that year, Blizzard’s great classics like WoW and Hearthstone were already here, while Destiny had been reinventing the looter shooter formula for over two years with its mix of Borderlands, Mass Effect and Halo, and bringing it online in the hope of creating a shared world that would last for decades. In 2019, games as a service are now a consolidated reality, and they are so profitable that publishers nowadays decide to forego an offline single-player mode and devote themselves to this type of productions.
And given the variety, but above all the quantity, it is never easy to judge a product of this kind. What if the game is not great right now but has the potential to become great in the future, how do you communicate all this to the readers?
In this, The Division 2 (Check on Amazon.com) makes our task easy, at least for once. Ubisoft Massive succeeds in offering a complete game, with an endgame that has excellent potential to grow.
Ubisoft Massive learns from the mistakes of the past, and with The Division 2 chooses the path of least resistance, namely it re-proposes everything that worked well in The Division, and cuts out everything that didn’t. So, how does this title relate to its predecessor? If you’ve played The Division and you didn’t like it, you’ll find nothing here that will change your mind. If you played it and it was just OK, you should also play this one. If you loved the original, this sequel could represent a remarkable evolution of that experience.
Seven months later
The only way to make sense of a sequel to The Division, was to completely change direction. Seven months after the events of the first game, the Division agents have to deal with the effects of the bio-terrorist attack arriving in Washington. Unlike New York, Washington sets a scene of a perpetual urban guerrilla, in what seems a real urban jungle. The urban scenery is a mix of Platoon and I Am Legend. Screams, war cries, skirmishes, and flying bullets, just wandering around the city will make you feel inside a scenario where anything can happen at any moment.
Forget about the random clashes in Manhattan, in The Division 2 everything you do is preparing you for something bigger. The Division 2 is one of those titles, where the player never feels he is doing anything useless.
Welcome to Washington
The map is once again divided into neighborhoods, where the central hub is, of course, the White House. The residence of the President is the headquarters of the Division, where you can buy, sell and craft equipment, upgrade your character and perfect your build, try out different weapons at the shooting range, and much more. The rest of the city is full of Shelters, Outposts, and Settlements. Outposts are a sort of checkpoints, controlled by one of the three gangs (Hyenas, Outcasts and True Sons). The settlements, on the other hand, are much more complex and is where you can find the secondary missions, projects for crafting and the location of the SHADE crates.
From a narrative point of view, the settlements will also evolve depending on your actions which contributes to creating visual feedback of your time in the game.
Endgame and the Future of Washington
The endgame of The Division 2 is surprising, with great potential and a “but”. Following the final mission, Washington will be invaded by the Black Tusk, a new faction that will bring havoc to the city. But before all that, your Agent will have three Specializations to choose from. This is an additional skill tree that unlocks a weapon (grenade launcher, explosive crossbow, sniper rifle with heavy ammunition), a mod and a grenade, all of which are exclusive to a Specialization. The power-up points, which can be obtained by playing, will be spent on each one of these three.
After that, both Outposts and Settlements will be occupied by the Black Tusk faction, and some areas of the city will become strongholds. Basically, this fourth faction joins the war, and you have to replay all the main mission scenarios at an increased difficulty. Missions will be very challenging and you will have to prepare a great build and be at synergy with your allies. Certainly, all these “new” modes offer a wealth of content we weren’t expecting at launch, and the new specializations offer a new stimulus, but, on the other hand, this solution of retracing the same scenarios could lead to boredom.
The Division 2 (Check on Amazon.com) learns from its mistakes and offers a complete gaming experience. The gameplay formula, that of the third person looter shooter with a cover system, is borrowed directly from its predecessor, but that’s also the part that made The Division so enjoyable. If you enjoyed the previous game, here you will find everything you thought was missing. Instead, if it all seemed rather repetitive to you, The Division 2 will not make you change your mind, despite all the improvements.