I first heard about The Division during the 2013 Ubisoft’s E3 presentation, when the developer surprised the crowd with a trailer that had an unbelievable representation of the New York City, re-imagined on the brink of collapse.
Gamers all over the world were excited to get their hands on the game and so was I.
With a trailer that looked so good, we were patient when the game did not release in 2013.
2014 passed with many curious over the delayed release, however, when it did not launch in 2015 either, I doubted whether it would launch at all.
Then came 2016, and the game was finally introduced to the world in all its glory.
With massive sales on the very first day, breaking the Ubisoft’s all previous records for game sales on the first day of release, The Division eventually made a sale record for the first week.
The game which was hyped up for three years and which kept gamers waiting for it for so long seemed like it was one that warranted such patience until I got to play it myself.
About The Division
It is a third person shooter Role Playing Game which features your character as an agent in a secret government military force keeping the New York City community from total disintegration during a biological apocalypse due to a plague.
In the game storyline, this plague is responsible for the deaths of thousands, plunging society into anarchy.
You have to battle against escaped criminals and other military organizations that turned villainous to help retain some semblance of civil society.
The game also lets you invite up to three friends to play with you in real time.
The Division generally ticked all the boxes on the list for a good game.
However, it lacked in several areas, which kept it from the greatness it could achieve.
The storyline narrative is excellent, complete with cut-scenes at important stages of the game, and background radio feed that explains how you can save New York City from descending into total anarchy.
You realize why your actions in the game matter without depicting your character as the sole savior in the apocalyptic chaos.
This made the game immersive without being overbearing, and make you mindful of your character’s actions.
The setting and depiction of New York City add to the highly engaging experience of the game, as they show the time and effort put into crafting every monument or site of chaos.
Each district is designed with its specific manner in mind, rather than a uniform formation of building blocks.
This seems inviting to explore the in-game city with an interest that almost rivals my exploration of the Red Dead Redemption’s deserts.
Game Maneuvers and Enemy AI
My issues with Tom Clancy’s The Division started when seemingly randomized interactions with villains and criminals turned out to be not very randomized at all.
Instead, I had to fight the same group of convicts multiple times at the same location throughout the game, which felt like a cassette stuck on repeat to me.
I also ended up predicting the enemy AI’s moves within a few days of playing the game.
All convict or rogue groups were formed with the same formula of a runner, a sniper, a bomber and other such identical members.
This added a more boring feel to the game, and I started to lose interest, especially when I had to fight in several low-stake battles over and over again with enemy units that looked different but functioned in the exact same way.
All of this resulted in the game feeling less animated/ thrilling, and it took me longer to get to the end-game than usual.
However, once I got to it, the end game was bland too.
In addition to all these, the standard gameplay maneuvers were quite disappointing and did not meet my expectations at all.
While the core aim and shoot mechanics were adequate, the game did not allow my character to jump or crouch, making stealth impossible.
In fact, if I wanted to move cautiously, I had to resort to ducking and then running toward my destination, which was a complete nuisance.
PC Hackers In PvP Zone
The Dark Zone, a designated player vs. player arena in the game, also piqued my interest initially but I soon found out that other players using PCs were hacking into the game’s software to win in the Dark Zone and gain unlimited bonuses as well.
This was very disappointing, as it seemed the problem was too much for Ubisoft to successfully eradicate.
I stayed away from the Dark Zone to play other parts of the game but they were not thrilling either.
Overall, it was disappointing and many other gamers felt the same.
Updates By UbiSoft
Regardless the reviews about the game, Ubisoft worked hard to rectify its mistakes and released different play-styles and difficulty levels that added more spice to the game in December 2017.
The developer released serial updates that corrected The Division’s issues from the very start itself including the hacker problem.
The game could detect the hackers and ban them forever.
Players might also flag or report an account if they suspected someone is cheating, after which the developer would review the account to decide and act accordingly.
In addition, the game was made available in different gaming modes.
These include almost hacker-free PvP zones – the Dark Zone and Skirmish – as well as a newly added PvE zone filled with High-Value Targets that have rewarding loot.
This allowed Tom Clancy’s game deliver greater versatility to gamers, as they were not limited by the meager options for gameplay that were present in the original version of the game.
In April 2018, the producer also launched another update (my personal favorite).
Update 1.8.1 added Global Events, Commendations, and Legendary Difficult Missions into the game.
I have been regularly playing The Division, and it feels like a whole different, well-developed game compared to the original.
It offers so much more control to the gamer by developing their personal game-style.
With special thematic gear sets, which offer various upgrades to the gamer and a new Resistance mode, The Division has finally worked it up to the expectations of the gaming audience.
Looking at the updated game, I cannot wait for The Division 2, which will launch in March 2019.