When the first Division originally launched, a lot of people were unsure how to fully feel about it, for everything great it did, there was something it lacked in and vice versa. However, fast forward the clocks from the launch and the tone pretty much changed and people were in love with a lot of the updates and even expansions.  However, with The Division 2, it does seem the game starts off much better.

The Division 2 begins with a cry for help, as the political capital Washington comes under siege from looters and traitors alike. As one of the best agents, your custom made character is sent to DC in order to bring back order and take out anyone who might pose a threat to humankind’s rise from the disease filled ashes.

The story is quite straightforward for the game, where you are a good guy/gal here to protect the innocent people by taking out looters, threats and even a rogue military group. However, it is enough of a basic premise to make the world really interesting as you see how the disease has changed the landscape of DC and its inhabitants. Like the first one you can still find echoes of the past in forms of visual voice logs of ordinary people right before the bio-weapon hit. It manages to really bring in a modern element.

Speaking of modern element, one of the reasons I absolutely love The Division series is because unlike most other MMOs and online games, this one doesn’t take place in a fantasy setting, and the threats faced by humanity in it are very real, something you can scarily expect to happen today, making everything much more grounded and interesting. It opens up the genre to more people like me who don’t find space settings like Destiny or even Anthem interesting.

The best aspect of the game by far though is the level design for the missions you play through. It is very vertical in the sense that you will have areas that have multiple levels, allowing for not only different vantage points but giving you different option based on how you are playing, accounting for everyone from those that play it more as a cover shooter, and throw turrets down more to people who are more aggressive with their shotguns and bigger armour.

One mission in particular that I liked had you rescue someone trapped in a small room, with different levels and entry points, funnelling the enemy to you from different locations. I soon realised playing that level that I couldn’t just camp at one position, and due to the different elevations, had to keep moving and use weapons that I wouldn’t normally use in order to not get surrounded. I died a couple of times playing alone during that mission and its only when I thought about the level design more strategically that I not only won, but also felt really satisfied with my hard earned victory. It made me really appreciate the level design and fall in love with guns I wouldn’t have otherwise. This is what the game does best.

What it doesn’t do so well unfortunately are the melee enemies who rush at you, easily knocking you down in a few hits. It wouldn’t be much of an issue if there weren’t so many of them. Whilst I do understand that they are there to make sure the player doesn’t camp as much, they could use a little more nerf to their speed and attack power.

However, even then you still have abilities that can help alleviate some of those worries, and many of the abilities are super cool! This time each skill has different attack methods. For example, you can unlock three different types of turret, one that is more traditional with an assault rifle attack pattern, one that works as a long range sniper with a lesser fire rate, and another that is a flame thrower.

You get to unlock one sub category completely free when you unlock the overall skill, but others require more points to unlock after that. They all make for some interesting tactics and the animations make them really feel powerful and cool. To be fair, the game looks really polished overall and Snowdrop Engine continues to show its power. The Dark Zone is of course back as well and much more balanced than before, with certain loot not requiring an extraction to be used. It makes everything more accessible for players especially as it will balance the stats for everyone, making sure that anyone has a fair chance.

The Rogue element is much more interesting as well, and isn’t exclusively tied to friendly fire anymore as unlocking restricted chests; stealing items from an agent’s corpse and much more can now turn you Rogue, which in turn opens more illicit doors for you where you can go down the dark rabbit hole. It was one issue I had with the previous game where Rogue felt limited, but now they’ve definitely amped up the stakes for it as well with different tiers.

Bullet sponging was another issue I had with the previous game, where enemies were absorbing more bullets than a T-1000, and whilst they still require a good diet of lead in the sequel, it is considerably better, with armours that need to be shot off, giving the high bullet requirement a reason that makes sense.

This time, there is a PVP mode called Conflict that was a nice surprise to play, where 8 players fight against each other either in a match of domination or Skirmish. It really reminded me of the fun time I used to have with Ghost Recon Future Soldier’s multiplayer mode, with the same level of sophisticated animation and gunplay.

Lastly, we of course have to talk about the End Game content, since all good MP oriented games live and die with what comes after a campaign ends. In Division 2, this comes in the form of ruthless and highly lethal Black Tusk outfit, a private military group with powerful weapons and even mechanised dogs. A lot more content is opened up due to this, giving you more reasons to keep playing.

This is something Ubisoft seems to have focused a lot on as it was already teased before the game even released. Not to mention, as this review is written two months after the game was released we have a good idea of how much Ubisoft has been supporting the game as well, and so far we have no complaints in that department as the game gets regularly balanced and patched. In fact a raid was recently introduced that adds another 3-5 hours of playtime to the game for free.

All in all, to say that this game is tons of fun as a predominately solo gamer that mainly plays story driven games, is definitely saying something. Most of my time was spent playing alone, and just overcoming the odds really made me feel like an elite agent, hooking me from the get go.

If you liked the first Division you will definitely like the second one, and if you felt a bit disappointed with the first one, chances are you will really like the second with its improvements and amazing level design. I still long for an intense cinematic singleplayer game set in the same universe though.



Author

Haris Iqbal
Haris Iqbal

I am a guy who loves anything with a powerful storyline, whether it be a game, book or movie, it doesn't matter. Just so long as it hooks me in and keeps my imagination captive till the last word/scene! Also, I am huge Silent Hill fan, so I love all things Silent Hill... and anything horror. Huge horror fanatic!