Score = 3/5
Game Type – Action, online third person shooter, RPG
Platform – PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer – Ubisoft Massive
ESRB – Mature
Review by: Kisho Wolfe
Logline: – Grind…and when you’re done with that…grind some more
Tom Clancy’s The Division is a massive multiplayer online role playing third person shooter. Whew… A mouthful indeed. If you want to really get technical, you can also throw in real life simulator, but thanks to the perk and skill system, we’re saved from the simulator part.
When I first cracked this game open, my first impulse was: “Damn, this looks polished!” The presentation of this game is nothing short of exceptional. Everything from the opening screen with the large beacon ticking on the load screen to the character select is done with precision and fluidity. When you get into it, this screen will show your character decked out in the latest gear you’ve equipped him/her with on your last visit to Hell’s Kitchen, or Manhattan. The menu grids and navigation are smooth like butter, and at no point do you feel lost in the magnitude of things to select within them. Not once in my week of playing this game did I get bogged down with menu fatigue.
The presentation and visuals of the overall game follow this polished feel as the level of detail to the little things is outstanding. Before even getting into the game, the orange beacon somehow gives you the feeling of embarking on a mission of importance and the game reminds you of this when it zooms out from the beacon on the strap of your backpack and you see your avatar planted in the center of the city, ready to put in work.
The buildings, weather changes, everything all the way down to those famous rats skittering around the place, it’s here in high definition. Almost everything in the world is collision susceptible as well. See that car? Shoot out the windows or tires. That tower in the distance you can’t reach? Hit it with a sticky bomb and it blackens in the aftermath of the blast. That flat screen? Give it a good whack! It doesn’t get as deep as putting bullet holes in everything you shoot, (shooting the screens simply moves them) but still pretty impressive for an always online shooter.
Speaking of collision, there are some parts of the game that need a bit of work. For starters, when shooting an enemy, there’s about a 1 to 2 second delay until the point of impact. I found myself wasting a good number of bullets due to this little flaw since, just like any other shooter, you keep shooting until the target is down. (no, it’s not my connection, as this problem doesn’t happen with Destiny or any other online shooting games) With this game, it’s pretty easy to run out of bullets if a group of significantly higher level enemies is coming at you and you’re hiding in cover for extended time periods. You don’t really want to waste those last few rounds in the mag if you don’t have to.
More collision issues were discovered when searching for ntel throughout the map. There were times when I managed to get my character stuck behind a dump truck or wall while looking for that phone that’s been ringing, only to get myself stuck behind a group of trash cans and not being able to simply push them over or climb over them. I can scale a ten foot fence, but can’t climb over a four foot tall trash can?? Had to martyr myself or reboot the software to get out.
The controls and gameplay are fluid as well. The slightest press of a button causes the action to be executed on screen. Switching weapons, diving out of the way, it all works as it should. Moving while behind cover, however, still leaves a bit to be tweaked, as this is where the controls feel clunky and forced. I found myself having to do more jiggling or reentering control stick movements to finally get my character either out of cover or simply in a more advantageous position while in cover.
The Division does a great job in creating an atmosphere. A really cold one. The bio outbreak that’s hit New York has caused riots, famine, desertion, etc. While running through the campaign, there will be small moments when you feel like you are there. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately, depending on how you look at it) those moments are far and few between. Your mode of transportation is limited to the shoes on your feet. Yes, you will be running…and running…and running, all over Manhattan. Sure, you can unlock safe houses and fast travel to the locations you’ve unlocked, but of course, this will also limit your already limited enemy encounters and make leveling up a more slow and tedious process then it already is. Speaking of tedious…
This game felt like a MASSIVE (see what I did there) chore when I got to about the third day into it. Activate satellites, rescue hostage, kill big baddy. The side missions are wash, rinse, repeat, and have little payoff other than grinding up your experience points and giving you less than pocket change for the efforts. If you’ve spent ANY time creating or flat out buying your own weapons in the houses and hubs, most of the loot drops will be best used for more crafting. The main story missions give you better loot and nice cut scenes back at the base when you complete them, but don’t do much in the way of making you feel accomplished after you’ve taken down that big boss baddy.
About five days into Tom Clancy’s The Division, the game felt stale. Was it the slow progression in campaign mode? Maybe. Repetitive tasks that felt like a scaled down version of GTA, without the fun parts? Probably. How about the multiplayer Dark Zone gameplay? Meh. Spent about eight hours in there and didn’t really get the pulse induced thrill I get from other multiplayer shooters.
Maybe I’m more of the “dodge and dexterity” kind of game player rather than the hide behind cover for hours type. I need more action and liveliness in my shooter gameplay to get the heart pumping and hands sweaty. The adrenaline. Unfortunately, this game doesn’t deliver that for me. If you like grinding, this game will be perfect for you, because that’s its most time consuming quality. For others, this game will start out shiny and new with potential, but most certainly feel like more of a waste of time once you get past the gorgeous graphics, and quite frankly, there are at least two other major franchises that come to mind in which you should spend your hard earned coin on… or maybe three if Overwatch turns out to be half as fun as it looks when it finally drops.