E3 2018: Hands on with The Division 2 & beta signup

Category: Features, Gaming

Platform: PC/PS4/XB1
Developer: Ubisoft
Release Date: 15th March 2019

I’ve always been a big fan of The Division. Even way back when they were drinking the multi-screen-experience kool-aid I was high on the game.

Tablet play never came for The Division but what did was a game world caught between the realism of an impressively, albeit grungy, rendered Manhattan and the supremely unrealistic bullet-sponge like nature of enemies you’d encounter. It also seemed to lack an end-game, or did at least at the time of its release, and while Destiny was going strength to strength with its own set of issues The Division chugged along with a less than stellar retention rate.

The Division 2 looks to address the first’s criticisms while retaining the extremely robust combat and cover mechanics that made it such a joy to play.

For starters the setting has changed. Gone are the dark and drab alleys of an ever dreary New York, replaced with a lush and overgrown Washington D.C. The new setting brings a series of open spaces, sunlight and thick jungle like fauna in a stark contrast to its predecessor.

Squaded up in a team of four with an Ubi dev at the helm I played through the same mission showcased in the game’s reveal trailer. After a series of small encounters on the outskirts of D.C. we ended up in a large swamp like area with the down remains of AirForce One at its centre.

The centrepiece mission felt very different and more realistic than I’d expected. Yes enemies do still have a somewhat bullet sponge aspect to them but at least in this instance it was a little more warranted with enemies wearing bomb-squad like protection.

They also felt smarter. Depending on their type they would actively engage in a far more intelligent way. Some would hang back and take cover more often, while others might be more tactful in their approach. In general they’d serve less as canon fodder and more as an actual military unit might.

The mechanics of the game are largely the same. The shooting feels spot on, the weaponry straddles that line of realistic but big and fun beautifully and the addition of it’s futuristic specialist items works well. There are some new ones of course, you’ll see a new sticky like glue gun stop players in their tracks for instance and I’m sure there are many more we’ll see as its release grows closer.

The Division’s second time around is coming a lot quicker and with more weight than Destiny’s, or so it feels like to me. I’m pretty excited to jump into it and looking forward to it dropping March next year but to tide over  I’ll be jumping into the upcoming beta.

Signups to the beta are open to anyone and can be done so by visiting the offical Beta page for The Division here: http://thedivisiongame.com/beta

 

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