The Division 2 Review – Agent Under Fire
Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is a title that has been hotly anticipated. Many fans have been clamouring for this second instalment since the ending of the first Division.
That game itself was an ambitious project that was marred by an initial lack of content and direction. However, Ubisoft was quick to turn it around and The Division became a full-fledged loot beast. The addition of later updates and content saved The Division but for some fans, myself included, it was too little too late.
The Division 2 has certainly rectified those issues and has come storming out of the gates. The Division 2’s counter-offensive against a lack of content is so fierce, it forces the player to take cover.
The Division 2 Review
I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the new location of Washington D.C. I’ve been battling my way through the various factions and locations and most importantly, securing myself some really sweet loot.
At its core, The Division 2 is a cover-based loot shooter set in the near to present future. Players step into the role of a deep cover sleeper agent who gets activated when a viral outbreak has devastated the population and infrastructure of America.
Set seven months after The Division, right away we’re thrust into a fresh location, fighting new factions to battle and citizens to protect. It directly continues the story too. Players familiar to the first game will find the same method of storytelling. You’ll watch cutscenes, listen to in-game dialogue and find a plethora of in-game collectibles.
Whilst, not a must find, the lore bloodhound in me actively seeks these out. By doing so I’ve gained a much more rich understanding of why, as a player, I should care.
It’s this method of storytelling and immersion I enjoy in games. When I’m put in charge of how much I dive into the narrative it’s a great feeling. Some players are content just shooting their way around and rolling in their squad of friends for laughs.
Others may take a more solitary approach and The Division 2 has them covered too.
The Division 2 excels at scaling.
If you have a friend who you want to play with but they’ve charged ahead and their level is miles above yours, it doesn’t matter. The Division 2 will scale the level of the players to the highest in the group so everyone feels as though they’re contributing.
Your gear might not be as advanced as your mates but you can still, absolutely hold your own in a fight. It’s incredibly satisfying for a time-poor gamer.
Players will be treated with a plethora of things to do in The Division 2. The main quests aside, agents will have a constant stream of activities popping up on the map. This includes control point missions which see the player attacking an enemy controlled area and liberating it.
This area is then available to top up gathered resources to aid in completing the various projects on offer to the player.
Projects are trackable side missions that focus on the various settlements and civilian strongholds around the map. The player is tasked with donating gear and resources or to complete other activities within the district the settlement is located in.
Doing so gives the character blueprints to craft at their base of operations. These grant access to weapons, armour and attachments for your agent to make over and over again as the stats on the equipment will randomise each time.
Looking for that perfect stat block to compliment your playstyle? Better get out there and help the community agent.
There is always something to do in The Division 2, random world events will provide hours of entertainment but can be a little repetitive at times. Running around and stopping the same kind of public executions, propaganda broadcasts and bounties give you a sense of moral victory…and loot…which is actually a victory.
The more of these you do the more weapons and armour you gain, so it’s a win-win, we are apparently the goodies after all.
These particular elements of The Division 2’s gameplay and content will reward the grinder/ farmer gamer and also the more casual player. I often find if I want a quick fix of the game before work I can easily get on and do some small world events and see a tangible benefit to my game overall without having to strap in for an extended session to achieve anything.
The addition of a clan system in The Division 2 is something veterans of loot based games will find familiar. Get a rabble of likeminded people together, and complete challenges to obtain extra things.
While not mandatory, the clan system offers rewards in the form of weapons and armour and exclusive cosmetics that tie in with your clan’s logo. It’s wonderful for those who enjoy the social aspect of gaming and probably help to find players for the end game eight-man raid that is coming.
Players are treated to a very broad style of play which allows for a broad range of loadouts. The archetypes that exist are only required for the absolute end game. You solidify your role, by equipping a signature weapon and skill.
However, for the most part, you’re free to explore what works best for you. The option to specialise through equipment, statistics and more is available but there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from pursuing a more balanced approach throughout the entire game. Personally, my current kit includes a light machine gun and submachine gun combination.
I enjoy the play-style of crowd controller and if someone sneaks up on me I can melt them with my high rate of fire back up gun. I leave the sniper rifle duties to my more accurate teammates and the aggressive flanking maneuvers to my more bloodthirsty crew.
Move Out Agent
That being said, my choice of loadout has not affected my single player experience whatsoever. Each agent has a plethora of gadgets to use to plug holes in their weaknesses or supplement their already formidable loadout.
The deployable turret does a wonderful job of holding a flank and pinning enemies and allows you to flank enemies and take them out from a more advantageous position. You may prefer the defence drone to stop incoming bullets dead while you pop your head from cover and rip full auto on the trigger with impunity.
With eight different skills each with their own subset the player will find their ideal way to play.
Washington D.C. and its rich and varied environments contrast wonderfully with the cold streets of New York City. The player is treated to green fields and rooftop garden settlements with mission interiors that are incredibly immersive.
A highlight for me was doing battle in the American History Museum’s Vietnam exhibition. My M60 light machinegun was chattering away into hordes of True Sons soldiers surrounded by Huey helicopters and Jeeps and I was playing Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son through my music player.
This truly heightened the experience and made me and my squadmates laugh and revel in the setting.
How Are the Schools in this District?
There are many different districts in Washington and locals have said that is a near perfect replica of downtown D.C. However, not all things are as they are in real life.
Players of The Division will remember the dreaded Dark Zone. These return in The Division 2 and will need to be unlocked. Once you open up a Dark Zone the allure is strong. Dark Zones are quarantined areas of an already devastated city.
So why would you go into one?
Because it’s in the Dark Zone that you’ll find the best drops and highest danger. Not only are the enemies far stronger, but players will have to combat other rogue players. Dark Zones are PvEvP.
This may turn some of the more casual players off and that’s ok. It’s not mandatory at all, but for those that enjoy the thrill of hunting other players, it will satiate the appetite. There is nothing more thrilling in this area than ambushing another group who are extracting their hard-fought gear at the helipads and taking it for yourself as the victor.
Hey, to my knowledge they might have stolen it from ANOTHER player and I’m just getting some revenge for them…or whatever. I’m probably just a griefing bastard but…shrug.
Rogue Leader Standing By
The choice to go rogue is an active one. In The Division, you’d go rogue as soon as you opened fire on another player in the Dark Zone. This proved incredibly frustrating if a dim-witted player accidentally ran in front of your bullets and painted a huge target on your back.
Now, it is a definite choice used circumstantially. Do you secure some loot on the ground you know belongs to another player? That yellow high end, what could it be?!
Or, do you steal it and paint yourself rogue?
It’s up to you, but you better be able to throw hands when they find you.
Another element of PvP in The Division 2 is the Conflict mode. In Conflict, you take part in Skirmishes and Domination game types. Two teams of four agents are pitted against each other to bring their tactics and equipment to the fore.
The victors will be awarded weapons and armour and the PvP-lite nature of this is pretty apparent. Players are scaled to balance each other just like in single player but it certainly is a good tool for preparing players for the perils of the Dark Zone. Currently there is only a casual mode available but hopefully, there’s a hardcore mode introduced later.
The only gripe I have about this mode is it’s one round only and the games take forever to matchmake. I’ll put this down to a lack of participation in this mode by the player base overall, hopefully, as people progress and understand the game better others will flock to this. It’s a means of testing their mettle and honouring their clans.
Very Bad Guys
The enemies in The Division 2 draw stark parallels to real-world factions in the country today. They each have their own varying methods of warfare brutality.
Ubisoft has really put some work into these factions with the addition of the collectible cutscenes the player will see just how far the city of Washington D.C. has fallen.
The Hyenas are the first faction the player will encounter and are made up of essentially the general populous with a very, very mean streak. Activists, criminals, and thugs are the flavour of this faction and what they lack in precise squad tactics they make up for in weight of bullets and aggression.
The True Sons are the next faction and made up of Ex-Joint task force members; the good guys from this and the previous game. They’re a mix of ex-military, law enforcement and emergency services members united under a brutal dictator.
The True Sons remind me of the civilian militias you would find with access to guns and a misplaced sense of patriotism. It’s with the True Sons that the player will see the level of AI Ubisoft has achieved. They’ll pin you down and flank you while simultaneously pelting you with grenades. Needless to say, I have been a casualty many times fighting the True Sons.
The Outcasts are next and these are people already infected with the virus who have been unfairly refused aid, quarantined and abandoned…and they are out for revenge.
Suicide bombers and low tech brutal solutions are the flavours of the Outcasts. Buzzsaw RC cars, exploding arrows and Molotov’s filled with poison will have the player on their toes.
Finally, the fourth faction is the Black Tusk; A private military that appears in the end-game and are brutal.
The Division 2 has incorporated everything that the first title initially lacked and then added more. It will provide hours of satisfying fun for completionists, hunters and casual crew alike.
The Division 2 was reviewed on PS4 using digital codes provided by Ubisoft.
Game title: The Division 2
Insanely fun solo or with a group - 9.4/10
Immersive story with excellent lore - 9.2/10
Plenty of things to keep players occupied - 9.3/10
Suitable for a variety of gamers - 9.7/10
Somewhat repetitive mission styles - 6/10