The Division 2 Review (Xbox One X)

Full disclosure – I still haven’t finished The Division 2. It’s not for a lack of effort, because believe me. I have almost 60 hours invested in this game and I’m only at level 28. Part of the problem is my squad is slowing me down because we often can’t always play at the same times and we’re in a all for one and one for all mentality so we want to try and make sure we’re all working together to get each other to the end game. I’ve also had some sort of plague the last 2 weeks that I’ve been fighting tooth and nail. So without further ado…

I remember when the first Division game launched like it was yesterday. My friends and I prepared by pre-ordering, pre-loading and waiting anxiously for our turn to play. We had a good time playing together over the next few days but we didn’t have a “great time”. Through all the polish and ambition, it just never grabbed us in the early months. We all moved on after about 25hours. Still not bad value for the money but not exceptional as some of Ubisoft’s other titles had been. Those same friends continued to check into the first game where I moved on having opted to skip the season pass. They kept bugging me to jump back because the team at Ubisoft had a great job at fixing the communities issues but I was already into other things and knowing that there would no doubt be a sequel I opted to wait to see what they learned with Division 2 and learn they did. I’m happy to say that I’ve now spent over 58hrs in my game and I have much more to do which is partly why it took so long to get this done. I’m only level 28.

To reset, The Division 2 takes place several months after the events of the first game in a post-apocalyptic doomsday version of Washington, DC after pathological virus has wiped out countless lives and the team of sleeper agents known as The Division have been reactivated to help bring order to the chaos and rebuild civilization. As one of the Agents dispatched to the distress call from Washington, players work to liberate city districts from rogue factions like the the Hyenas, True Sons, and Outcasts.

The Division 2 is beautifully detailed and easily one of the most realistic open world cities I’ve ever had the pleasure of traversing. The real shining examples of what they’ve been able to do here is when you get to the big DC landmarks. To put them simply they’re absolutely stunning. Another thing I have to say, it’s such a nice feeling to jump into something of this scope and feel like so much TLC has gone into the game. It has this level of polish that feels like more and more games are lacking in this day and age of being able to just release a game and then patch it after. One of the things that really stood out to me was just how seamless my experience was. Rarely did I experience a loading screen save for fast travels. It truly boggles my mind how the wizards at Ubisoft made such a big beautifully destroyed city so smooth with no loading screens. Well done to everyone.

While making your way across the city, it’s going to be really easy to get side tracked. I played a session with my buddies and after almost 3 hours we realized that we never accomplished what we had originally set out to do and that’s because there’s so much to do. Seeking out SHD caches, opening safe houses to taking down a side mission that promised new blueprints for a weapon and a guaranteed rare item. It’s always a new adventure each time you jump in. Side missions and main missions will put players into some precarious positions and the AI will take full advantage of that. Sometimes to a bit of a fault. One mission in particular, it took 4 of us over an hour to complete the boss of that particular task. We were close to calling it quits after grinding our way to the end only to be met with defeat so many times but we persevered and all of us felt a great deal of accomplishment. Time for a beer and a little celebration.

I always felt great about how the game rewarded players for accomplishments. Some games like this you grind it out, the boss dies and you’re gifted a lowly common item when at your current level you feel it should have been something rare or unique. I’m loving the loot system this go around my only gripe is it would be nice to see a wider variety of names, weapons or even looks. I know it’s set in a more realistic space so I assume that’s why we don’t get anything too over the top I just kinda like over the top. SUre you can find colors for your gear and clothing to set your Agent apart from the rest but I’d at least like a little more control over how these items look.

I love the battles. The game as a whole feels fantastic but it’s not without it’s issues. While grinding out a huge battle, more often than not, you might find yourself trying to run away only to be cut down because you somehow keep getting pinned to cover. I can’t count the times I’ve been getting pinched and one of the big heavies or heavily armored bullet sponges(bosses) drops in. My tech is cooling, I just need another 20 seconds and I can drop a turret(which is easily the best perk) and multiple baddies rush me. I’m getting shot and I need to get away so I choose to roll away from to try and avoid the bullets or grenades only to roll away and BAM! Stuck to a barrier with my back to the enemy while getting filled with more holes than I can count only to try and roll away again and BOOM! Stuck to another barrier and then dead. I don’t know how this could be made better but I’m sure there’s got to be a better way.

On top of the campaign and incredible amount of side missions to complete, players can choose to jump into one of 2 Dark Zones. The Dark Zone for those of you who are new to the series is basically the PvP component to the series. The Dark Zone is a little friendlier to players who may not be into it for the sole purpose of going rogue. Dark Zone takes the damage of your weapons and normalizes it, making it a set level. This way both enemies and other players are at the same level and are killable. There are no real major disparities between any 2 Agents playing in the DZ. Looking for a little more excitement and bigger risk/reward? Go on over to The Occupied Dark Zone. Here’s where you really get to test your mettle and the ability of your gear. Simply put, there’s no promise you’ll be meting people at the same level as you with respect to their gear and it’s more than possible your opponent is going to trounce you with their far superior gear. The big payoff is far superior loot drops. On top of that, there’s no marker for a Rogue squad in the Occupied Dark Zone, so the difference between friends and foes also gets harder to spot.

At the end of the day, for me and many of my friends, Ubisoft has found this ability that few other companies and games have been able to accomplish for me. They keep me coming back months after the release. And it’s not just because of the Season pass and I need to know what happens, the content and timed events they set up are astonishingly effective at making me fire up their games and for that I applaud them. Ubisoft makes games that go above and beyond what most people expect and in my opinion they make games that have a much better bang for the buck than anyone else out there. The Division 2 falls right in line with that new philosophy. Ubisoft has built an incredible game and it’s looking like The Division 2 is sure to have a very long fresh shelf life for gamers of all stripes.

Graphics are simply stunning
Missions are great especially some of the main missions (my favorite was the one in the Observatory)
Ubisoft GaaS is strong with this one and I can’t wait to see what they have planned
A more casual friendly Dark Zone is a welcome addition

The reliance on cover can be a hindrance when in the middle of a major battle
More visual variety on weapons and items would be nice

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