I am one of those Division players that skipped the first game entirely and played the 2nd one completely solo. Do you know how that makes me feel? No? Well I’ll tell you. Fucking great.
The most surprising thing that I discovered while playing this game is that after the first “cinematic” that gives some of the plot of the story and a bit of motivation to your character, is that from that point on, I didn’t care about the story one bit. The animations and models, along with the skin shaders are just the worst. These characters would look bad in an early 360 game. That made me tune it all out and so I started to play podcasts and Youtube videos while running around the virtual world of Washington DC.
With all of the story stuff put to the side, I’m so confused on why more people aren’t talking about how great this game is. The combat, gunplay and levels are all top-tier, they constantly compel me to continue my trek towards conquering the destroyed streets of D.C.. The amount of detail in the world around you as you blast enemies from 50 yards away with your rifle are astounding. This game pulled me along, not by the drab story, but by the act of playing the game. It was about the gameplay and leveling up my gear and character to get stronger and simply playing the game more.
I initially played the beta on the PS4 and I think I wrote about how nothing seemed to have changed from the initial character I started with and the improved custom character they provided you with at the end of the demo. After completing the game I feel like what I said still stands, the part I was missing was the fun you have doing it. I beat the main story and unlocked almost everything on the map, which then triggers the end-game world level and the ability to select a specialization for your character which gives them a unique weapon and more ways to spend ability points.
I would constantly keep telling myself that I’m done with the game, that I’ve played enough and experienced all the game had to offer but when I turned it off all I wanted to do was to jump back in and run another mission and move up my gear score a few more points. The current limit on gear is 500 right now I believe. So far I’ve played a decent amount in the post game and have moved up the world level a few clicks, not sure how high it will go actually. While I do want to play other games on my computer, I feel like I’ll definitely keep this one installed so that I can jump back in on a whim and do that grind that we all love and despise so much.
The graphics in this game are really insane at times. While the character models and facial animations are a joke compared to literally any other game out there, the environments are top-tier. This game makes me want to be a level designer so much. Playing with maxed out graphics (for the most part), really shows the incredible amount of objects the Snowdrop engine can push out. It’s a density that boggles the mind at times. It feels like a technical achievement that should be rewarded because it really does add to the sense of realism and adds a nice richness and realness to the environments the developers created.
The levels of this game are what really standout to me on a gameplay and graphical level. While this is an open world, they still provide unique environments that are meant to be played like a typical level in a video game. These locations include the American History Museum and the Lincoln Memorial, to name a few. They are the real stars of the show here. I even noticed when running through these levels in the end-game, at first on normal difficulty and again on hard, that some of the objectives actually change, it was a small thing but one I noticed. This helps in making the levels feel different along with the new enemy types that start showing up.
The gun play and gameplay are a blast. Enemies will constantly try to flank you from the side so you really have to think about the environment and make sure you get your head-shots if you don’t want to be outflanked and open to a machine gun in your ass. The yellow colored elite enemies, of which there are a few varieties, add a nice dynamism to enemy encounters. It makes you break out of the normal one or two head-shot, next enemy, rinse repeat.
I know that I’m a little late to the party here on this game and I’m okay with that. The developers are still supporting it with free content even if you don’t own the season pass so it gives plenty of incentive to pick it up today or to leave it installed on your hard drive. I mean, it’s always going on sale, I picked it up for like 16 bucks on their PC storefront. I only stopped playing the other day because I was attempting to finish one of the end-game expeditions solo and was having a nightmare of a time on the last task. This involved my character having to stay near a computer for 3 minutes while unending waves of enemies swarmed in at me from multiple directions, turning all forms of cover useless. I must have tried it about 10 times and then just gave up in frustration. I’m thinking that you have to be in a multiplayer party to have a chance at surviving that particular encounter, which sucks since the rest of the game offered me the freedom to go solo and survive.
Final Score – 9.5
A really great game that any shooter fan should play and will enjoy. The combat is top-notch and shouldn’t be missed. Can’t recommend it more highly unless you really care about your story, in that case keep it moving.