The Division 2 has the good thing about years of analysis, planning, implementation, and iteration behind it. That’s as a result of developer Massive Entertainment and writer Ubisoft by no means deserted its predecessor, Tom Clancy’s The Division, regardless of the sport having extreme points with its endgame content material instantly after launch. The unique might have bled gamers and by no means absolutely recovered, however the work the workforce behind it put in for over a yr afterwards, and the sport’s subsequent resurgence attributable to optimistic buzz, was an encouraging signal. If The Division, with all its flaws, may very well be salvaged, then certainly The Division 2 can begin as one thing nice?
Over the primary 20 hours with The Division 2, that hope appears to have grow to be a actuality. There’s nonetheless the endgame looming, the place an all-new faction known as the Black Tusk will make its presence recognized and start offering the form of recurring content material that makes or breaks video games with this type of mannequin. The story hasn’t fairly begun the build-up to its conclusion, and there are a number of plot threads that threaten to unravel unproductively if they are not given a bit extra care. Those considerations are minor, although, as a result of from what we all know concerning the recreation proper now, The Division 2 is one of the best looter shooter expertise obtainable in the marketplace at this time.
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Let’s begin with a very powerful truth first: The Division 2 has clearly discovered its classes, succeeding in lots of crucial areas the place the earlier recreation failed. Enemies are now not annoying bullet sponges who take in complete clips of ammo to go down, though they nonetheless lean nearer to that philosophy than away from it and that might change drastically within the endgame. They’re additionally extra various, with varied factions or lessons offering tactical conundrums. Loot can be in a great spot for the sport’s full launch, as enemies drop it pretty incessantly, it feels prefer it’s all the time related to the participant, and it is the form of recreation that makes its gamers salivate on the prospect of discovering one thing actually uncommon. Having these hooks sink in early is probably not nice for anybody’s sleep schedule, however it makes for precisely the form of recreation that retains its gamers’ consideration lengthy sufficient for them to construct an funding in the remainder of its choices.
And these choices are nice, by the way in which. The Division 2‘s gunplay is considerably higher than the unique, and never simply because it seems like bullets really do one thing now. There’s additionally higher gun design, with recoil enjoying a much bigger consider aiming, and higher battle design, with a better density of weaker enemies populating every struggle to make sure that it by no means feels prefer it’s dragging out with out something taking place. Firing a gun in The Division 2 additionally simply feels higher and extra impactful. There are heavy enemies that litter the tip of the sport’s early missions and facet quests, and taking pictures at particular components of their armor can finally trigger them to stagger whereas it flies off, exposing a weak level beneath. It’s a satisfying visible, and enhances the sensation of tactical fight that’s so pronounced in each aspect of the sport.
All of the preventing in The Division 2 is aided by the truth that, after a number of hours with it, it turns into painfully apparent you’ll be able to die in principally any skirmish. Outside of selecting off a number of stragglers throughout free roam, The Division 2 is all about approaching fights properly, and fast pondering is the secret. Players cannot simply hang around behind one space for canopy and choose off enemies as they funnel into the room by means of a choke level. Enemies swarm throughout from every nook of the map, with some melee attackers blended in to make sure gamers have to maneuver to outlive. Even the weakest enemies hit arduous, and trying to tank greater than a few hits will end in a visit to the closest safehouse or checkpoint to begin over once more. Bosses are clearly much more terrifying, though at this level they really feel lots like spongier common enemies than something resembling a singular struggle. Perhaps that can change within the endgame, when raiding turns into a much bigger precedence, however it’s one of many few disappointments in The Division 2‘s core gameplay so far.
Progression is one other key aspect that The Division 2 inherently appears to know. Naturally, important missions reward gamers with an honest quantity of loot and XP, the latter of which flows fairly freely in all areas of the sport. Even facet quests and exploration occasions really feel like they’re value an Agent’s time, although. Liberating management factors grants entry to treasuries with candy loot, whereas different mission areas include copious quantities of chests for gamers to seek out whereas they interact with them. Nothing feels prefer it’s punishing you for pursuing it, which makes The Division 2 really feel like a recreation that may be performed in a number of other ways to the identical finish, a rarity for its style. The Dark Zone returns and is each better-designed and extra enjoyable, rewarding loot with excessive frequency whereas additionally forcing gamers into extra claustrophobic maps, avoiding the pitfalls of the sooner recreation’s wider environments.
The Division 2‘s talent and improve system is way more per what we have come to anticipate from looter shooters, though even then, the sport does a number of issues to set itself aside early. Being in a position to customise tech just like the drone makes it really feel versatile, whereas providing passive perks that alternate between playstyle decisions and min-max grinding gives one thing for everybody. It’s not till the tip of the sport that gamers select a specialization and start to essentially deviate from one another, however The Division 2 does a pleasant job of providing gamers alternative effectively earlier than they ever should decide to their endgame career.
If there’s one main space of grievance to date, it is that The Division 2‘s story is fairly bland. The total story feels largely adjoining to the unique’s, as Washington feels way more just like the distant apocalyptic way forward for The Last of Us than the present dystopian wrestle that characterizes video games like Wolfenstein, as an illustration. The important narrative form of simply trudges from beat to beat with out a lot to say in between, and it is the type of generic wrestle in opposition to the worst components of humanity that may be straightforward to take a look at from. If there is a saving grace available with The Division 2‘s storytelling, although, it is within the smaller moments when gamers reunite a daughter together with her mom, or help a facet character with their very own private objectives. The recreation’s character designs and voice-acting are each top-notch, and after they’re allowed to breathe in a extra delicate, smaller story, they shine.
Naturally, it is arduous to inform if The Division 2 will likely be an awesome looter shooter earlier than we hit the endgame. Even nonetheless, although, it seems like there are nonetheless hours to go earlier than that occurs, and if the sport finally ends up clocking in round its estimated 35-40 hour important marketing campaign time, then this is a shocker: it is value it only for that. The Division 2 will get practically every part proper that the unique came upon, and maintains the excessive bar of world and environmental design that Ubisoft has set for the remainder of its properties. If Anthem soured you on the way forward for a style you had been already a fan of, you then owe it to your self to let The Division 2 have an opportunity to win you again over.
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The Division 2 releases on PS4, PC, and Xbox One on March 15. A digital code for PS4 was offered to Screen Rant for functions of assessment.