Like many, I enjoyed the hype surrounding the unveil of Tom Clancy’s The Division. So naturally, I was anxious to see how well The Division beta would play out. I also tend to be a bit of a “fanboy” when it comes to Ubisoft titles. My favorite shooter-based series has always been the Rainbow Six franchise. I also still have faith that Assassin’s Creed can be restored to what it used to be (although Syndicate was enjoyable for me). When it comes to gun-based games, Ubisoft/Tom Clancy do hold the rights to several well-known titles.
As far as The Division beta goes, I do enjoy a large portion of what Ubisoft has done, and can appreciate what they are trying to do with it. I do however, remain skeptical on other aspects of what the final product will show when the game launches on March 8, 2016. The first thing you may notice when playing, is that the game does not lack in the visuals department. Although The Division is a shooter, it also has the classifications of of an RPG and an MMO. It has the open-world element to it that is a nice change of pace. The game itself, to me, feels like an open-world version of the Splinter Cell series. The movement and cover system feels like a dash of Gears of War as well.
As far as the specifics, there are some things I liked and wasn’t too sure about with the beta. Granted, it is a beta, so I do not want to assume or make any final judgments on the game. A couple of the issues I ran into were regarding the enemy AI and collision detection. With the vast size of the game, I imagine Ubisoft will have a constant uphill battle to find and eliminate most of the bugs/glitches. Okay let’s be honest, just making sure that the game servers are working would be a miracle. Like other companies, Ubisoft has had some recent issues with games being launched that were unplayable. They have had issues with last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity, and multiple server issues with the newly released Rainbow Six Siege.
Tom Clancy’s The Division does offer some neat elements that you may have seen in other franchises. There seems to be a decent amount of customization in regards to weapons, gear, and perks. Also, the in-game loot system is where you will be reminded that the game can play similar to that of an RPG. You are going to want to constantly upgrade your abilities and gear so you can stay competitive in offline and especially online game modes.
Ubisoft has recently said that they plan to release some more game modes/DLC so that gamers will have an array of content at their disposal. Out of all of the content shown off in the beta, my favorite would have to be the Dark Zone. This is the in-game area where players are pinned against one another and loyalties may be tested. Although there are AI players scattered throughout the area, the primary focus of this feature is player against player. When you encounter other human agents, they will appear as a “non-hostile agent.” If you were to kill an enemy agent that was classified as “non-hostile”, you would then be listed as “rogue.” The good and very bad news with this is, you do get points for killing another agent, but you become marked on enemy agents maps in the area. For the next couple minutes, you will have to survive the possible threat of other human agents knowing exactly where you are. Another point to mention also, is every time you die, you will lose some of your acquired currency/gear obtained in the Dark Zone.
You are also given the option to team up with other agents and travel in a group, however you may want to keep your head on a swivel because you can be betrayed at any point. The main objective is to combat enemy agents/AI and extract the gear you obtain. This is done so by calling in a helicopter. Sounds easy enough, right? Well it’s not, due to the fact that once a chopper is called, agents in the surrounding area are also notified of where the evac zone will be. This is where teaming up may come in handy. A headset will be a good idea as well due to the fact that The Division uses a proximity chat feature in the game. This will allow you to hear other agents in game, whether they are “friend” or foe.
The main focus of the Dark Zone is to level up your Dark Zone rank, or “DZ” level as they call it. Exclusive Dark Zone gear can be purchased with “DZ Currency” that you obtain in the area. This gear tends to be a bit more powerful than your standard gear and will be something you want to work towards early on. The weapons/items that drop and are purchased each have their own statistics and rarities. This also ties into the RPG element of the game.
As far as weapons and gear goes, each player can equip 3 weapons at a time. This consists of 2 primary weapons such as: shotguns, machine guns, sniper rifles, etc…and also 1 pistol. There is a skill tree of perks that can be unlocked and even upgraded as you level up in the game. Two perks can be assigned at once to each character, depending how you want to play. The use of different types of grenades is also permitted. To ensure survivability, players can also keep a stock of medkits on them to heal their wounds.
I have been following this title for quite some time, and sincerely hope that Ubisoft puts in some serious overtime hours to ensure the launch is smooth. There are some bugs/tweaks that they will need to work on (like any game) to do so. I feel that this is a nice break from their “usual routine” with other games. Other Ubisoft titles like Rainbow Six Siege and the not yet released Ghost Recon Wildlands have also broken off from their previous paths to try something a bit new.