The Division 2

Released: 15 Mar 2019
Reviewed: 6 Apr 2019
Platform: PC

This is a game about Washington being invaded by chest-high walls and petrol barrels. Surprisingly, I'd recommend this. I didn't think I'd be recommending a generic online shooter from Ubisoft this year but the publisher might actually be turning around; I've really enjoyed Odyssey, Division 2 and Anno 2205 this year. The core gameplay (shooting bad guys and taking their stuff) is really good fun. It's well optimised, it's hectic and the gunplay is excellent. Tons of things to do at max level. The story is beyond a joke, like non-existent. Seriously, it's a case of "These guys are bad, let's shoot them all!". The shooting part mostly makes up for that, but it feels very lazy.

I sunk 50 hours in to this game without even blinking. The road to 30 had plenty of 'this is good, but this bit is weird/bad' moments, but after having played at the top level for a while I would definitely recommend it. The game felt better as I played more of it and understood more, but it did take a little getting used to.

In general, I'm not a fan of the movement. The cover mechanics work well, but when you need to go somewhere quickly or you get flanked, it feels very clunky to scramble to safety.

The story is so bad it feels like a parody, or a joke. There is no introduction to the game; you're just thrown in to battle with no context whatsoever. Halfway through that battle, some random NPC says "I heard something bad happened in Washington", so you go there and start shooting bad guys outside the White House instead. That's it. There is practically no story at all to speak of, and what little there is feels awkward. Your character is mute, so in cutscenes the NPCs have one sided conversations with you, then you just nod and walk off. Voice acting is ok, but the animation of NPCs in cutscenes is awful.

The interface is ok - it's great that you can navigate all of it with a keyboard. It is yet another game where you have to hold the key to interact though - why you can't just press a key once is beyond me.

Exploration is rewarding. There are dozens of hidden little rooms that have clearly been hand-crafted to be discovered. It actually feels worth walking in to random buildings to see what's in there. There are also electronic devices, history reconstructions and collectibles scattered throughout the city which help to fill in the gaps in the non-existent story.The combat music is great, but exploring the streets is silent and feels a bit empty sometimes.

There are microtransactions - but what AAA game doesn't have those these days. At least it's just cosmetics. If people want to waste their money to look like a cowboy or the coast guard in post-apocalytpic DC, go ahead.

- Stats at the end of a quest for team members (accuracy, damage %, deaths etc)
- I'd quite like a DPS stat instead of just the raw damage and RPM
- Would like some stealth elements. Even with silencers, as soon as you fire the first shot, every enemy in a 50 metre radius knows exactly where you are
- Clearer indication of which doors you can and can't open when exploring

I picked this up directly through Uplay using their 20% off discount code bought with virtual currency. One stain still on their name is going Epic store exclusive, so Uplay it is. Even with the minor defects above, I'm still having a lot of fun with the game just because shooting people and the guns are so well done.

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