As stated before I am a HUGE Tom Clancy fan. So it would only make sense that I would overly excited for the release of Tom Clancy’s: The Division. I got a chance to take part in the Alpha, Beta Part 1 & 2. I have to say that Ubisoft was very receptive of getting feedback from there participants. They have been just as receptive after the release make several micro updates to accommodate user feedback. My initial impression was very immersive, excited and a bit nerve racking. The sense comes from the familiarity of seeing regular city streets covered in contamination bags and general debris from not having garbage removed. This mixed with a notion of never being alone whether it is regular citizens or ruthless criminals. Creates a very unique dynamic that I have only experienced in The Division. So far I have had a chance to drill around 20 hours into the game finishing the story and getting to play a few hours in the Darkzone and I must say I am not disappointed.
Controls and Feel
Everything is very organic, with a good sense of movement. While not as fast paced as Gears of War the movement is very tactical. It takes some time getting use to the fact that you cannot just mow enemies down and they are just as smart. Control wise I wouldn’t change a thing, I particularly have come to love the ability to move from position to position by just holding A. I also like the feel of the weapons and abilities. It never gets old shooting a grenade at enemies or unsuspecting players. At the same time it is a big difference using a submachine gun to a shotgun which you sometimes miss in other games.
This was a welcome challenge that had my ass getting beat a few times before deciding I wasn’t a 1 man tanking machine. Enemies are brutal and fairly clever. If you rush them they will either retreat or more likely than not rush you. Same with flanking if you don’t use this tactic they certainly will. The story is highly engaging and has me wanting to know more. Which will require some patience to gather a variety of in-game pickups. Things like Agent Tags, Downed Drones, Cellphones, and Evidence. Further enhance the sense that a tragedy has actually occurred. It is comparable to extra pickups you have to get in Assassins Creed games. Which means my OCD gaming will bring to spend hours grabbing every last cellphone to see 100% in the game. This would be tedious, however there are always enemies around the corner. Which means there is always a fight to be had, this is another point I like in the gameplay as you progress old zones that were easy have the enemies difficulty scaled to you so no matter where you go the enemies are difficult. Some may not like this but I feel this give the game that extra element to prevent it from becoming stale.
While there aren’t any huge musical sequences here I can say the ambient sounds of car alarms, dogs, and people fighting helps create the atmosphere in The Division. The quiet is a necessity in a game like this. You get some fight music once in a great while but it is not typically while you are roaming. The emptiness is a nice change from a lot of games and it really helps you focus on what is coming around every corner in the game. Subsequently the guns sounds great, they create a great orchestrated feel when you and some team mates are all shooting at the same time.
Story and Multiplayer
As I said before the story is immersive, you want to understand why, how, and when. There are some good juicy bits towards the end of the story that I won’t spoil here. All I can say is that you don’t have a great story until you have betrayal. I will say that the story is one of the best unique story lines I have experienced in a while. It was well timed given the recent scares of Ebola and Swine-flu where the right disease could wreak havoc in even the most advanced societies. Naturally there were some funny times when you are trolling the streets of New York with friends. The example below was captured during a mini mission where you only look cool if you just walk normal during a fire fight.
The Darkzone is a whole other beast where anarchy is king and dying is just a natural part of it. From super high level enemies to questionable players it is the best representation of the Wild West I could ever imagine. Naturally because of the peril there is a huge sense of accomplishment and of course reward. However the extraction system adds a whole new challenge in getting what you have earned. When you pull it off though and get your rare items extracted it is a huge sigh of relief and a great sense of reward. To that end there is a ton of fun and a sense of elitism when you are in a group of 4 people where you can literally go anywhere or kill anyone with little to no penalty. On the other hand if you are playing is solo there will be nothing but anxiety and worry about who you will run into. This is what makes the Darkzone so dynamic, it truly is unique and keeps me come back.
**Disclaimer: You will be killed a LOT in the Darkzone, keep in mind it’s a game. (: **
In general the game is fantastic, the feel is awesome. The sense of the world and how you can make a difference is palpable. The audio is spot on with the right balance of silence and in-the-moment music. Story is one of the best I have experienced in a while from a new game. Same goes for the unique multiplayer experience. I have never cried because a player has killed me like I did with this game. Again the game is amazing a definite buy especially when you consider the additions they have committed to making over the next year. My overall rating is a 4.5/5 there are a few things that can make it a chore to play but it is engaging, fun, and definitely challenging which are all of the things I look for in games.
I am an avid gamer and have been gaming on anything and everything since I was 4 years old. Addicted to FPS's but can play just about anything!
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