To be totally honest with you, The Division wasn’t on my radar until a week or so ago. It’s not that the game wasn’t interesting to me, I just fully expected another high-end disappointment from the studio that keeps throwing out high-end disappointments. The open-beta however was the perfect opportunity for me to try the game out, see if it could live up to the hype and more importantly…square up to Destiny in my heart. And after a weekend of not-so-furious play, I’ve decided to write a few words about my impressions on it. What I enjoyed, what I didn’t, and finally, if I’ll be picking it up come March 8th.
I guess I’ll start with what I enjoyed about The Division, and that’s arguably the most important aspect, it’s gun-play. The Division is a 3rd person-cover-shooter, with all that entails. You’ll be running from brick wall to brick wall, shooting bad guys from behind cover.
And with all that in mind, I really rather enjoyed it. The guns sound fantastic, and it’s got the Ghost Recon snap that I absolutely adore and the guns (at least the ones I used) felt really good to shoot. Granted, some enemies are a little bullet-spongey (especially boss characters who require a frankly insane amount of killing before they finally go down) and it isn’t quite as fun as a certain FPS, but considering it’s a 3rd person game, it’s totally fine.
The user-interface on the other hand, is a bit of a mess; especially on PC. They’ve gone for a heavily numbered approach, with percentages and fractions everywhere. The inventory screen is a nightmare, with its confusing icons and vague naming conventions and for a game that’ll likely ask you to spend a good chunk of time on that screen, it should be far easier to interpret what’s happening.
The problems carry over during game play too. With damage indicators that are so small they make it difficult to tell if you’re even hitting the target, let alone doing significant damage. Whilst we’re here, I don’t think the game does a great job of showing just how quickly you’re losing health either. It’s not a massive issue, but one that does rear its ugly head when the combat get’s frantic and you need to know that information most.
The Divisions take on New York is undoubtedly pretty. Its snow covered streets and beautifully lit avenues do a great job of telling you just how bad things have got for the inhabitants of the Big Apple. The streets are littered with cars, buses and fuel tankers, dead bodies are visible in places and the lighting gives everything a delicious early morning sheen.
Where the game struggles is in the moment to moment game play . Too many times I found myself wandering around the city looking for something; anything to shoot. The game feels strangely empty in this regard, especially for the solo-player. It’s obviously designed to be played with friends, but I really wish singles had more to do, even if that was just more enemies to shoot up to pass the time. Something Destiny does insanely well.
I enjoyed my weekend with The Division. It’s a very well made game, it looks fantastic and much to my surprise, runs great on the PC. It plays well enough for a 3rd person shooter, the cover mechanics are solid, the gun-play enjoyable. The problem The Divisions has is that it’s not just another 3rd person shooter. They want this game to have a significant tail, to cultivate a fan-base that’s still playing the game in a year’s time. I’m not sure that without improvements to how the game handles solo play that it can have that in the long run.
I’ve only played the beta so far, so take this with a pinch of salt. The Division seems like a good game, and I’m sure for many it’ll be exactly what they want. For me? Not so much. If anything, The Division only makes me more excited for Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
Finally, fuck the New York Shortbows. They’re a bad Hockey team and should feel bad for..everything.