Division 2 | Review

Division 2 | Review

Looter shooters are at an interesting place in gaming. As much as I love them and as much as they’ve become one of my favorite genres in video games, they’ve proven to be pretty hit and miss over the years. Many of them seem to follow the same pattern in their life cycle: Everyone gets hyped out of their damn mind’s when the game is announced, the game launches horribly and doesn’t meet anyone’s expectations, months down the road the game starts making the necessary improvements, and eventually the game becomes the polished product that everyone expected from the beginning. This is the live service video game, and it’s unfortunate that many of them follow this pattern. It’s really sad that we live in a time where a game working at launch and living up to what was promised is something that should be celebrated. Releasing broken, empty, and shallow games happen so often now that it’s almost tolerated. 
 
Few looter shooters have gone against this pattern and have set the standard of quality we should expect. Digital Extremes created War Frame, an experience that’s not only free but rivaled some of the biggest looter shooters like Destiny. Gearbox created Borderlands, the game that pioneered the looter shooter, and in my opinion, holds the thrown as the best in its genre. I’m happy to say that The Division 2 has also set this standard of quality. 
 
I absolutely love The Division 2. The game has made massive improvements from its predecessor in almost every way. While not everything about the game is great, The smooth gameplay, addicting loot system, and the interesting world have kept me coming back for more and more, and there’s no sign of me quitting any time soon. 
 
 

Video Format

The Story

In the first game, a smallpox virus broke out in New York City, having devastating effects. The city suffered massive casualties, was overrun by gangs and was reduced to pure anarchy. The virus began to spread all throughout the United States, causing multiple cities to suffer the same fate. One of these cities was Washington DC, the setting for The Division 2. DC is now an abandoned, desolate, wasteland. The only people that remain in the city are some civilians, very few military personnel, and gangs who have established territories throughout the area. The city has been completely taken over. The United States government has activated a group of Sleeper Agents called The Division in order to restore order and to take back control of Washington DC. 
 
This is the premise of the story, and it’s basically the same as the first. I’m sure there is a lot more to it because there is obliviously a story in this game. There’s a ton of charterers, cut scenes, people are talking a lot haha. Honestly, I just didn’t pay attention. I’ve never been one to get invested in video game stories. It’s just never been a huge factor for me when enjoying a game. Unless of course, I’m playing something like The Last of Us, The Walking Dead, or God of War.
 
I think the basic premise is awesome though. I feel a sense of urgency and responsibility with my mission to restore order to the city. And the world is so well realized that it completely adds to this. Many people have said that the story is fantastic. I can’t really say, but I do love the premise and vibe of the game. I can say that whatever story is in this game seems much more interesting than games like destiny. 
 
Throughout the main story, you will find videotapes showing some of the horrific things that happen throughout the world. These videos expand on the story and also adds more of a sense of realism to the world. I was actually surprised by how intense some of them were. 
 

The World

For some reason, I haven’t really played many Ubisoft games. I’ve never been that into assassins creed, I’ve dabbled in Far Cry a little bit, and I’ve never even touched the Watchdogs franchise. After playing this game, I think I want to get more into their games because this is one of the most beautiful and detailed open world’s I have ever seen. Maybe this is something that Massive is responsible for and not Ubisoft, but regardless they need to be commended for their work. 
 
The world is so well designed that it makes it clear the city was once lived in, and you can get a clear idea of what must have gone down when the virus broke out. I love the small details that show this like car accident’s, parked vehicles with doors and trunks wide open, ambulances with gurneys around them, and abandoned luggage everywhere. You can tell that the city has been desolate for a while because there are overgrown trees and vegetation everywhere. The world just tells a story on its own, and I think this is very cool. 
 
That being said, as awesome as the world is to look at, exploring it is another story. I got bored of it pretty quick honestly. I’ve found that the only initiative you have really to explore is to find loot, supplies and some random collectibles. Finding these items are an important part of the game, but is really just busywork. I was finding better loot just by doing missions so I just stopped looking for loot. I’ve heard many people talk about how fun the world is to explore, and I can see that to an extent. There is a lot of cool stuff to look at. There is a lot of cool details, but that’s basically it.. in my opinion. 
 
I absolutely love open-world RPG’s, Fallout 3 easily being one of my favorites. A HUGE part of what makes these kinds of games so fun is the world. Fallout is designed to be explored. Developers deliberately design these worlds in a way that is compelling to explore. They try to make each area interesting in its own, to provide a story. Sometimes you find new quests, unique gear. Each area feels like it has a specific reason to be there. 
 
I bring this up because I realized pretty quick that the Massive’s rendition of DC is not going to provide that same experience, and this is not a criticism. It’s just not that kind of game. Yes, The Division 2  is an open-world RPG, but it is a looter shooter first. That’s what the game is. It doesn’t need to be anything more than what it is already is. I have to say though, as far as looter shooters go, The Division 2 takes the cake for having the best open world. I compare to games like borderlands and destiny. Not really open world per se, but open areas. This blows them out of the water.
 
As I mentioned earlier, the world is pretty desolate. There are not many people around. The city has basically been abandoned. Because of this the city has been overgrown with plants, trees, and is inhabited by wildlife. I was really impressed with how far they went with this. There is wildlife everywhere. This makes the world feel so alive even though it is desolate. 
 
I love how seamlessly the world, missions, and encounters all flow together. There are zero loading screens when going from area to area and mission to mission. It is all part of the world. When going to complete a mission, I enter the area or building that the mission is located in. When you’ve completed the mission, you leave the area and go right back into the world. Zero load screens. This is super impressive and creates a much more immersive experience. I’m very happy that this exists because of the small number of load screens that do exist take a while. 

Game Play

One of the few things that kept me playing Division 1 was the gameplay. The cover system felt amazing, the weapons felt powerful, and killing enemies felt satisfying. I was so happy to see that this was only improved upon in The Division 2. They kept what worked. They only improved upon the gameplay slightly. They made small tweaks that help overall moment to moment gameplay flow more smoothly. This was fantastic since the gameplay in the previous felt a little awkward at times.  
 
If you have ever played a looter shooter, you know that you shoot things. A lot. That’s basically all you do. Shooting and looting. This can get incredibly repetitive, and I think Division 2 handles this very well. There is so much to do in this game. You have main missions, side missions, random encounters, control points to take over, bounties, projects. There is a multitude of ways for you to gain experience. The interesting this is is that all of these activities eventually lead to doing the exact same thing. Shoot everything in sight. We need to take this control point, shoot the bad guys. Protect the hostages, shoot the bad guys. “Hey, we could really use your help” by Shooting those bad guys. It can get incredibly repetitive. But the many different types of objectives, missions, coupled with finding new loot makes it a lot more interesting. 
 
Also, pro-tip for ya. If you want to level up fast, Play with other people. If you want to have the best experience as possible, Play with other people. Hands down the game is best played that way. The game scales quite a bit when you have a larger party, and it can actually be pretty difficult. I’ve had some pretty intense moments with my clan. 
 
Find people that will actually play with you. It’s pretty annoying when you join a group, looking forward to having some fun with people, and every person is on a different side of the map doing their own thing. 
 
For the most part, the game runs pretty good, but I’ve experienced some weird bugs. Just the other day one of the Ambushers shot me with an arrow and the arrow just floated above my head forever. 
 
There were glitches where one of my teammates was stuck in the prone position so they were just gliding around on their knees. 
 
I got into an area expecting to take a control point. During this fight, another mission got triggered so I was dealing with two missions at the same time. It was annoying because I had spent all of this time trying to take a control point and then now I have to deal more enemies coming from all directions. This one was pretty annoying.

Level design

The level design is incredible. Level design and the open world is probably where The Division 2 has improved the most compared to its predecessor. I remember missions in Division 1 being so repetitive and boring. They basically all looked the same. That is not the case at all here. Main missions are varied and interesting. You get to go to the air and space museum, American history museum, the Lincoln memorial, Roosevelt island. They all feel so unique. The air and space museum is one of my favorites. In the mission you are going through many different exhibits throughout the museum, one of the exhibits was a big room with a giant projector showing a film about planets and stars and I’m just in this huge firefight in the meantime. It was fantastic. 

Role-Playing

The leveling system in this game is incredibly deep. You level up gaining experience, choose different perks, and buy different skills. This is pretty straight forward. The depth is in the weapons, gear, and mods. Like any looter shooter, you are constantly finding weapon’s and gear that is slightly better than the last. You have many attributes to think about like gear score, armor rating, skill rating, health, and this is just for the gear you wear. With weapons you are working with damage output, fire rate, reload speed, accuracy, stability, damage drop off, weapons come with different kinds of perks. You can mod your weapons with sights, extended mags, skins, grips, and all of these can offer vastly different attributes. You also can mod all of the gear you wear like holsters, vests, gloves. It’s insane. 
 
What really impresses me is that this is totally optional. You are not forced to think about all of these tiny details for your character. Someone can just pick up loot that clearly shows it has better armor or offers more damage and then just move on. It is incredibly deep but still simple to play.
 
One of my gripes with Division 1 was actually creating your character. It was very limited, and I was hoping they would change this. It barely got an upgrade. The options were still pretty limited. It basically got upgraded to Destiny’s character creation system, which isn’t saying much. 
 
I mentioned in one of my earlier videos that finding loot can be underwhelming because all the weapons and gear are so similar. This makes sense because the division is supposed to be grounded in reality. We aren’t going to find these jacked-up crazy weapons like in borderlands or destiny. Once I started to get into the end game, my feelings about this started to change. The weapons still aren’t crazy different, but I am just finding really powerful stuff with crazy stats. I also get really into modding which makes it a lot more fun. Massive has done a good job to make sure there is still a lot of variety in what you can do with loot even though a lot of it is the same.

Conclusion

The Division 2 has given me hope for live service games. Massive has set a standard for how a game should work at launch, the amount of content a game has at launch, and just how to make it fun as hell to play. The world is interesting, the gameplay feels great, the level design is amazing, and there is more loot to customize than you know what to do with. The funny thing is that I’m having more fun with the game now than when I first started. The end game is a blast. Do yourself a favor and go pick up this game. It is one of the very best looter shooters you can play right now. 

Opinions stated are those of Adam Likes Games. Adam Likes Games is a Community Content Creator for 181gaming.com. Follow him on Twitter and Subscribe over on his YouTube channel for more great content. If you would like to create content for the community at 181gaming.com, click here. We are always looking for Content Creators to cover all genres of gaming. Also, we are always in need of community managers.
 
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