The Division 2 Review
Undivided in gameplay, much unlike FF14... Ugh. Rare occasion where I side with Ubisoft over Squareenix.
Division 2:15 march 2019
Division 1: 8th march 2016
Almost exactly 3 years later... useless information provided...
I remember when the Division 1 first released: the lighting, the graphics, the character creation and the gameplay, in my opinion, were epic. There were without a shadow of a doubt elements that it did not deliver on- as well as various server issues around release period and some crazy bug issues. Regardless it was amazing. Me and my friends spent hour after hour on it- but the content ran out quickly. Early bug fixes and updates were common but things like low level caps that you knew would get added to in a paid expansion added to frustrations the more you played. If I remember correctly as soon as uncharted 4 dropped in May of that year- I put the Division 1 down and didn't pick it up again until a few cycles later when it had got some strikes and friends needed another team member. That didnt tide me over for long but the fonder memories got me excited enough to pre-order the Division 2.
When the division 2 was getting closer to release, as usual with any co-op game that I want to play, I started hyping it to gamer friends to see who I am going to play it with. I think like many I find games like this just aren’t the same on your own? A good team mate can really make the difference- especially when dying is so annoying! Or a better angle could make all the difference.
Dan hadn’t played the Division 1 but loved shooters and RPGs and we had just started to run out of content on Destiny 2s re-release (in the form of forsaken).
We also had the annual pass and thought if we had a break it may be fun to jump back in when content is loaded up again (so psyched bungie has fully taken over).
So, the Division 2- the first part of the hype was the beta- which was actually remarkably well done. Sometimes ,as everyone knows, betas can be particularly poor. The Division 2's open beta took place between the 1st-4th March- and I usually wait for those to either psych me up and pre-order- or wait for post release reviews. Closed betas or no betas for such a big online based game's often makes me question the quality. Anthem had a beta that I wasn’t too impressed with which sort of helped sell the Division to me- I knewI wouldn't play both at the same time and if the beta had impressed me I could have been playing that a clear 30 days before the Division released- but I waited- and not many of my closer gaming pals picked it up either.
Well, without getting into what i'm sure a lot of people know, picking the Division 2 over Anthem at that time turned out to be a great choice.
I will say, I was somewhat dubious of assuming the Division 2 would be good thanks to releases like Destiny 2 from companies who games I had otherwise loved. Destiny 1 released poorly for the budget and teams involved. It then had a LONG development cycle including 2 -YES 2- paid season passes. But you know what, by the end of its span, Destiny 1 was an excellent, fleshed out game. Destiny 2 dropped promising much more, and again- trusting that Bungie would bring back some of their magic from Halo- I pre-ordered to great disapointment. The game released with a poor story, poorly told, terrible enemy Ai (far worse than halo 1 if i remember correctly) and basically ran out of steam rather quickly. The saying at the time was that it was basically destiny 1.5. It didn't even feel like an improvement (if anything a step back on) destiny 1, except in a graphical sense.
For the reasons mentioned above, I am now very wary of pre-ordering. I neednt have been. The amount of content and free added updates etc in this game is phenomenal. Its not a massive graphical upgrade on the Division 1 but the previous game was of the same console generation and pretty ahead of its time for such an open world game- I felt. This certainly did not feel like the Division 1.5.
There are so many game mechanics here, brought forward, improvements to certain elements- replacements of others. It feels like they listened to their players feedback and took on board what was requested and went for it. They are also continuing to do that- I’m really impressed. I know i have mentioned Destiny 2 here a lot- but forsaken turned Destiny 2 into a game worth the asking price in my opinion- the additional story, planets, mechanics, enemies, game modes- just the content in general made it feel more finished and worth it.
The Division 2 has released with all of that already in it- it feels like that- and they are adding to it anyway.
Now yes, you cant quite have the epic giant boss battles that you have in Destiny- but- this game has a completely different appeal, and the game still feels epic. I mean, when you first run into wander up to a building you recognise and get to explore it- then you realise the scale and accuracy. Its pretty breathtaking.
Needs it own section:
Wow, the dark-zone. Not many gaming experiences make me feel more tense- or more untrusting of a close friend- or more reliant on them. As that counter is reducing and your team mate was just downed, there arent many more thrilling moments I have felt unless an online vs match is really evenly matched on Cod or maybe battlefield. With the dark-zone that comes every 3 or 4 minutes.
Plus, the sheer amount and variation of loot still surprises me. There were elements that barely separated weapons or factors that almost made one section of weapons almost redundant at release- but as it was raised and its been fixed very quickly. There is no set killer build- even in endgame. From armour to power weapons- player choice and loot quality, yet variety, keeps the game and the builds fresh. Its really impressive.
The fact that a lot of the games loading is seamless also feels like a massive upgrade on a lot of similar games. Obviously there are the smart uses of things such as elevators- but you are talking an acceptable amount of time- Destiny 2 still feels like you take 2 years to land on a new planet or into some competitive (though, you can edit equipment etc in the menu during this time which really is fantastic). Anthem.. lets not even talk about Anthem again. COD- matchmaking, battlefield matchmaking can sometimes be a nightmare and the algorithms made to frustrate the hell out of you! Non of those issues are present in this game.
Obviously theres the element of 'your team is there, its not matchmaking'- but, even when you matchmake for a mission it plays smoothly.
There are downsides however. As with anything. Frame-rate issues at times, still buggy at times, and at certain times in early release it definitely suffered with some server issues. The initial log in time can feel a bit ridiculous sometimes- however, as mentioned before- keeping in mind if you don't die or fast travel you wont be seeing a load screen its worth the wait.
This is multiplayer shooting RPGing at its finest. For players V environment I don't think there are any better options on console unless its not Sci-fi enough for you. Then its Destiny 2 for you. I will write up my thoughts on over 100 hours of that at some point.