Tom Clancy's The Division (PS4)

Tom Clancy’s The Division, one of the most highly anticipated games of 2016, is now out, targeted especially at online gamers. The title was launched just a few weeks ago, and has already been a major commercial success for Ubisoft. But in stark contrast to current trends towards the purely multiplayer experience, seen in games like Star Wars Battlefront and Rainbow Six Siege, The Division is a game where even those who prefer single-player can get their money’s worth.


Big Trouble in Manhattan

Before anything else, however, the game does force you to register with Uplay, Ubisoft’s online service, even in the console versions. If you aren’t logged in with your Uplay account, or you don’t have a persistent Internet connection, you’re out of luck. Once you’re logged in, there’s a superficial character creator with a limited number of options for customizing your character’s appearance, followed by a short intro sequence. After that, you’re ready to hit the streets of Manhattan.

On Black Friday, the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season in the US, a devastating pandemic breaks out, caused by dollar bills infected with smallpox. People die, and traffic and commerce come to a standstill, with hastily abandoned vehicles blocking the streets, and garbage piling up everywhere. There’s so much looting of stores, shopping centers, and homes that they’re left almost completely empty, as if they were swept clean. And yet, outside of the quarantine zones, there are still disoriented civilians all over the place, desperately searching for supplies or lost relatives, even going to far as to loot corpses or fight other survivors over the scraps of this once bustling metropolis, now cordoned off from the outside world.

Instead of the walking dead, New York has been taken over by violent gangs of criminals and terrorists. The government decides to activate the “Division”, a unit of sleeper agents living among the population, to help restore order and to save whatever there is left to save. Despite all the efforts made by the developers, storyline and characters are not among the game’s strong points. With few exceptions, even with such an interesting setting, there isn’t much life or emotion in the dialogue or cutscenes, which is something that’s been noted in other games with the “Tom Clancy” brand. On the other hand, in contrast to other catastrophic scenarios like those of The Last of Us, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., or Fallout, the situation doesn’t seem to be quite so hopeless, though this probably has a lot to do with the fact that you’re playing immediately after the disaster in question.


A Tactical Advance

The Division is an online action RPG and third-person, tactical cover-based shooter for players who like to go solo or online teams of up to four players. With relatively simple gameplay and content, the title still manages to captivate players for several hours on end and motivate them to keep going. At its core, the game doesn’t feel all that different from other third-person shooters like Gears of War, Spec Ops: The Line, Sniper Elite, or Rogue Trooper. To survive, you’re going to have to use any cover you can find, and fend off your enemies with well-aimed, precision shots. You can carry up to three weapons, but I found that assault rifles and sniper rifles were especially effective. Close-combat weapons like the shotgun are ideal for narrow corridors and the like. And it’s also always good to a superior firing position over your enemies.

Enemies are tough, and will keep coming at you, using cover, flamethrowers, rifles, and grenades to their advantage as well. They’ll also try to flank you, getting an extraordinary number of shots off, and their shooting is pretty accurate too. In certain places you’ll have to face against extremely well armored enemies, who you’ll only be able to defeat with lots of stamina, skill, and firepower. And the best part is that in the countless exchanges you’ll get into, you’ll find that your opponents rarely, if ever, make mistakes, which adds to the suspense and makes for a greater challenge. The only thing that kind of detracts from the experience is that the hit feedback is a bit sub-par – if it weren’t for the life bar showing that your target has taken damage, it would be really hard to tell if you hit them or not.

What really separates The Division from other games in the genre are the well designed and well implemented RPG elements. This is even noticeable in the way they divided the in-game environment into various Manhattan neighborhoods/districts. Each section has a recommended level, and there’s really no sense in trying to take a level-10 character into an area that’s marked for level 20.


Flexible Specialists

All districts have Safehouses, which, as the name suggests, are safe zones where you can find merchants and extra missions, and they also serve as fast-travel locations. The real hub of all your activities, however, is the Base of Operations, which has three wings: Medical, Tech, and Security, all of which can be improved with upgrades. These upgrades can provide the player with new skills and other advantages affecting healing, weapons, shields, grenades, etc. Most of them require a certain cooldown time in combat before you can use them again, though.

Since character development isn’t really tied to any set class, you could call your character a “flexible specialist” of sorts. You level up by completing missions, which also unlocks more weapons and gear. All items are gathered in a tidy Inventory screen, whether they come from enemies, crates, or backpacks. Item quality is color-coded into Worn, Standard, Specialized, Superior, and High-End. The rarer an object is, the better its attributes and bonuses. Firearms, Stamina, and Electronics are an agent’s three primary attributes, influencing weapon damage, health, and skill power. The search for new weapons is an especially motivating task, and you’re going to constantly be checking stats like accuracy, reload times, range, and stability. Weapons can be modified to give you a decisive edge, whether it’s better sights, a bigger magazine, or whatever. You can even create your own weapons and equipment by collecting blueprints and crafting materials.

Typical for the genre, you get experience points mostly by completing missions, and most of the ones in The Division are really entertaining. The main objectives move the story forward, and there’s a diverse range of side missions that you shouldn’t pass up either, especially since a majority of the main missions require a certain experience level. You can get all the experience points by rescuing hostages, securing supply lines, hunting down certain targets, stopping arms deals between gangs, etc. One thing that deserves a special mention are Echos, which tell interesting stories via depictions of past events. Another really useful feature is that you can mark the path to each operation on the map, which is then visually displayed as GPS line in the actual game world.

If you decide to complete all the objectives, it’s going to take you quite a while. Then there are also daily objectives for fully leveled agents. Players who purchase the Season Pass are supposed to receive even more content later on – after all, Manhattan is just one part of New York. Finding other players is a pretty simple affair, and decent matchmaking can bring up to four players together. You can also invite other agents into your group by going up to them and pressing the button indicated on the screen. You can add friends via the group management menu, or they can join up themselves.

Welcome to the Dark Zone

The “Dark Zone” is a large area near Time Square. There aren’t any missions or events in the Dark Zone, but its appeal comes mostly in the form of encounters with other players. Are you going to stay out of the way (especially at first), join forces with other agents, or hunt down weaker players? That’s something that each player is going to have to decide for themselves. The Dark Zone contains lots of especially power weapons and gear waiting to be salvaged, but you can’t use it right away. Instead, you first have to find an extraction area, then launch a flare in order to attract a chopper to your position. In the meantime, AI enemies and other players will be alerted to your location, and will do everything in their power to rob you of your valuable loot. This pretty much turns the experience into quick version of a survival sim like DayZ. But as you might have read in other accounts of the first few days since the game was released, the Dark Zone also attracts its fair share of cheating jerks, which really takes away a lot of the fun. This is something the devs really need to work on.


Gorgeous Scenery

Lots of video games have been set in New York, a location often used to great effect, but the city’s never been captured in as much detail as it is here, thanks to Ubisoft’s new Snowdrop engine. They really manage to get the look and feel of the city right, backed up by excellent visual effects and changing weather conditions. The developers’ skill is also evident in the way they depict atmospheric details, like a Christmas tree in the middle of a shopping mall going up in flames. The actual character figures on the other hand are a bit rougher in comparison, with more or less average faces and animations. One feature that’s as worthy of mention as it is out of the ordinary is that the console version allows you to adjust the graphics detail. The sound in The Division is also nothing to write home about – the sound effects and music are actually really good, but the voice acting is pretty repetitive, using many of the same actors.



Personally, I’m more of a solo player than anything, so The Division wasn’t even really on my radar. So I was all the more surprised to discover how, in stark contrast to current trends in the genre, the game’s appeal is not limited to online team players. Hey, Star Wars Battlefront and Rainbow Six Siege – you could learn a thing or two here. You could spend hours fighting through the heart of New York in this game, and have a whole lot of fun doing it. (Christian Schmitz; translation by Chase Faucheux)

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2017-11-14 13:45:43... - Arshiya

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2017-08-28 21:07:14... - Micah

could I get a ps4 key plzzzzz

2016-11-22 17:34:28... -

nice game bro

2016-07-16 20:50:23... - jonathan

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2016-07-10 17:23:10... - Game Of Scones

Could I PLEASE get a key? I don`t make much money and don`t have enough to buy this game.


2016-07-05 22:52:05... - Ahmed

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2016-05-13 11:45:56... - Tim

that looks amazing

2016-05-08 00:22:15... - IAmATurtle

Can I please have a key? I've always wanted this game and my parents could never afford something like this for me. I won my PS4 in a giveaway and I need some games for it. Thanks!

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2016-04-04 04:38:46... - EastPaw

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2016-04-03 19:14:50... - Silence

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2016-04-02 20:08:09... - Adham


2016-04-02 10:45:43... - Ahmed

This is a great review looking forward the next AAA games like dark souls 3

2016-04-01 02:22:55... - Kingggggg


2016-03-31 17:22:40... - حيدر


2016-03-31 03:52:15... - guy123

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