Tom Clancy's The Division 2 officially launches today, and after sinking a respectable amount of hours into the game so far, I can say that The Division 2 is far better than the previous title.
The Division launched in 2015, but didn't receive the greatest of welcomes. The game was plagued with technical and networking issues, that made the "co-op multiplayer experience" almost impossible to play. However, after many of these issues were resolved, the game steadily picked up in player base because it was a pretty decent title.
Thankfully, The Division 2 has launched with none of the issues that the original title suffered from (or, at least, not that I have experienced). The networking is super smooth, and now, you can actually matchmake with other agents, and its a pretty smooth experience. The first Division also suffered from extensive loading times, and, again, thankfully, this has also been resolved. For example, playing off of an external 4TB HDD, connected via USB 3.0, the game doesn't take more than 20 seconds to load in.
The gameplay is much of the same, but that's not a bad thing, as the gameplay in the original Division was fun and intense. The improvements that Ubisoft has made to the AI system, however, makes your foes much smarter, causing you to move around the firefight much more. Furthermore, there are new types of enemies that deploy explosive RC cars, which seek you out and explode, as well as a new plating system for named enemies; rather than a simple bullet-sponge, they have armor which needs to be taken out first, to expose a weak spot for you to target. The combat is still fun, and even more so, thanks to the altered AI and new additions.
The Dark Zones, of which there are three, have their own unique playstyles thanks to the change in environment. Washington D.C. provides areas with open spaces, as well as tall buildings, which gives you a combination of long, medium, and close-quarter combat, and this is something that is spread throughout the world. Debris, such as cars, trucks, and so on, also make an open area more compact, for you to tackle enemies with a shotgun, or opt for a long-range rifle.
The story so far is far more intricate than the original; the JTF are scattered, the President is missing, and it's now up to the Division to rebuild Washington D.C. In The Division 2, there are new additions to the map, such as settlements and control points, which actually tie into the story as well. The settlements need to updraged through completing missions, in order to recruit people for the Base of Operations (The White House). The recruitment is necessary to make certain things available in the Base, which I will leave for the final review.
Ubisoft has found an interesting way to bring all the parts of the world together through the story, as the side-missions and settlement activities feed into the overall story arc.
The world of Washington D.C. is a beautiful, vibrant, and colourful experience; the opposite of the first installment. In fairness, New York was in Winter, and the chaos had just broken. The Division 2, set 7 months after the events of New York, sees the world starting to recover from the initial devastation. It's a refreshing environment to play in, and the colour makes exploration a pleasure.
The skill system has been reworked, and for someone who felt that the first was tedious and overpowered, I feel that they skill system in The Division 2 is well balanced. There is no signature skill in the sequel, however, you only need to unlock a skill once. After that, you will use SHD Tech to unlock variants of the same skill, offering medical help for you and your allies, or damage to your enemies. The variations of each could be worked very interestingly for your squad.
This leads me to my last point (for now). The Division 2, despite being an online, multiplayer game, I have been able to play solo without a hitch. Yes, playing with a squad online is also fun, don't get me wrong, but I feel that Ubisoft has done well to balance the solo vs. co-op experience.
I am really enjoying what The Division 2 is offering so far, and I have yet to enter the endgame content, which is set to tbe the best part of The Division 2. Would I recommend you choose THIS as your online co-op title? I would suggest you fly on over to Washington D.C., and suit up for saving the world.
Loves games with deep character development and a rich storyline. Also, shooty-shooties. Loathes microtransactions. Likes to use sarcasm and metaphors.
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