The Division 2 – Review

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.

Just wait until you see this shit animated…

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.

A really cool moment of one of the many “levels”.

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.

That shouldn’t be there.

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.

The outdoor environments are beautiful.

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.

Explore DC from your computer, just the way I like it.

The Division 2 – Beta

I started playing the Division 2 Beta today, finally was able to get into it after my private key got all fucked up and I wasn’t able to use it in my area. What I found was a game that’s definitely a little rough around the edges.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – The White House

My Issues

My biggest issue with the game was that I had issues with the sound. Multiple times there would be enemies shooting machine guns or on turrets shooting at me and no sounds would be coming from their weapons. It definitely took me out of the experience when that happened. I also felt like the sound around my character was too low and pushed away from my avatar. When I fired a gun I never got a good “punch” of the round firing, it all felt a bit muted. Hopefully all the sound issues I had get resolved by release date.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – First Section of Gameplay

The graphics in the outdoor open areas didn’t really impress me that much, especially the further into the distance you look, they are using a lot of LOD which makes things seem bland toward the horizon. There is also a lot of texture streaming going on, which often leaves large blurry sections of texture that slowly filter in as they’re loaded. I’m running on the PS4 Pro by the way.

I ran into some other glitches, like these guys all stuck in a falling animation while they move around the environment, it was pretty weird and funny seeing this happen.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Some Random Glitching

I found most of the other characters in the world to be very ugly looking. This mission giver here had an ugly looking face, doesn’t seem like they’re pushing the facial tech that hard in this one. The skin shaders also don’t look that great.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Ugly Ass Characters

The menu system is the last thing that I’m going to complain about with the Beta. It’s just fucking confusing and annoying. It feels like a missed opportunity really. It feels thin and uninspired. You have to analyze the fucking screen and decide to take the time to figure out where shit is, it’s either that or just be lost. They need to find a better, more graphical solution to their menus that make them easier to read at a glance. And I hate how when you pull up the menu screen it’s rendered at an angle, with the vanishing lines going toward your character, which means the left side of the menu is smaller than the right. It just doesn’t look visually appealing.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – The Horrible Menus

Oh Wait, One More Issue…

This is a big one for me, it’s the silent protagonist in this game. The fucking main character doesn’t talk! Meaning they have no personality and are just going into meeting with people, getting talked to, and then walking out to do the next mission on the map. Makes me want to skip the whole story. It feels like there’s nothing pulling me into what people are saying to me.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Beta – My Starting Character

So What’s Good Then?

The indoor environments I think are great. There is a high level of geometric detail going on in the indoor sections. I like how, for the most part you can easily vault over low objects, enter a building and are basically in a little dungeon. When going into these little sections the amount of objects scattered about are impressive. That’s one thing the SnowDrop engine does really well.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Heading Indoors

I enjoyed the gameplay, which of course has a loot based progression system. It’s fun to run around and shoot people, even if it takes an inordinate amount of shots to kill certain enemies. I found what I think is a pretty great weapon, the MK17, so I ran around with that and a shotgun fucking people up. I hope that the enemy variety changes up a bit in the final game also.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – All the Geometry

So What’s the What?

As it stands right now, I don’t think I’ll buy The Division 2 when it comes out, not at the 60 dollar price range. It does seem like I’d be able to play it solo and have a good time leveling up, getting better loot, and shooting assholes in the head. Perhaps I’ll wait for a banging deal so that it’s not as much of a commitment to go through.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – My Favorite Weapon – MK17

I do hope the sound issues I had get sorted out, they really where the biggest issue I had with the Beta, the glitching stuff will most assuredly get taken care of. The hollowness of the soundscape, that might be harder. I’m glad that I got a chance to finally try out a game in this series, while it doesn’t make me want to go back to the first one, even though I hear good things and the price is at basement bargain levels right now. It has piqued my interest, which might be enough some day.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Battling Indoors

Update – Played a Bit More

So I jumped back in and played all of the missions available and got what I’d call the end credits on the demo. Hitting that point opened up 3 extra operators that you can play as, each one a different class and kitted out in high level gear and weapons. I played as two of them just to check out what the late game looked like.

I’m not so sure I’m sold on what they’re offering. It seems a little odd to me that I’m doing a mission in the same building I did in the demo. I get that it’s a Destiny type game where you basically do the same things over and over again with harder enemies. So my character had some awesome weapons that were leveled up, but the time to kill was longer than with my shitty weapons when I started. The only difference was that I had a much larger backpack on and the enemies started using drones and robots to attack me. Oh, and they had a medic that kept reviving people until I figured out what the hell was happening.

I’m basically in no rush to play this game. I’m curious to see how the price drops on this game, having watched the first games price drop to sub 20 levels. Perhaps I’ll just wait it out, let more content come out, perhaps a game of the year edition or something, and then snatch it up if I get a little bored and need something to play.