Format: Xbox One
It is worth mentioning that I would have bought this game quite a while ago if it weren’t for the confusion over the ‘always online’ aspect of the game. I had asked the guy at my local game store if “you needed an internet connection to play the game single player” meaning if you needed an Xbox Live Gold subscription or not, and of course he said yes. But then later that week while I was chopping it up about everything nerdom with a co-worker, he said that yes you do need an internet connection but an Xbox Live Gold subscription was NOT required. Needless to say I felt like an idiot, but the excitement of knowing that I would be getting The Division soon quickly overshadowed any lingering feelings of dumb-assery.
Now that is out of the way, we can get into just how awesome The Division is. Immediately at the opening of the game, after the camera pans around and rests behind you overlooking your right shoulder, you are tasked with creating the appearance of your agent. Right off the jump there is a fairly modest selection of faces, hairstyles, tattoos, scars, clothing, and accessories. I gave my agent a nice modern hipster haircut, John Lennon-styled circular sunglasses, blue eyes, and two huge sparrow tattoos on each side of my neck. After activating my agent I was on my way to saving the city of New York a couple weeks after a biological terror attack on Black Friday of all days. The first thing that immediately jumped out at me was just how incredibly detailed this version of New York City is. When the game starts you are in the hometown of Captain America himself, Brooklyn. The streets are littered with corpses, debris, garbage, wrecked cars, and even the occasional herd of New York sized rats. Contrasted with that is elements of the current holiday season. Christmas lights line the streets, parking lots converted into Christmas tree vendors, Santa Claus and Snowmen decorations scattered about, etc. There is survivors around the city as well. Some will even come up to you that are in need of something such as a med kit, or food or water, etc. And if you do take the small amount of time to help them out you will be awarded with a small amount of XP and a gift usually in the form of clothing or gear. So far I have received a military styled hat, a beanie, a leather jacket, and a windbreaker from helping citizens in need. I read a review on IGN and one of the main complaints they had was how barren the game world is and how there should be a lot more people in a post-pandemic city of 8 million souls. While I agree to that in some extent, it’s really not as bad as they made it out to be. Everything else about the game is so good, this small complaint is quickly forgotten.
In case you didn’t know, The Division is an open world online action-RPG with a huge emphasis on cover shooting. Getting into cover is as simple as a single button press and moving from cover to cover is as simple as looking at the next cover point and holding down the cover button and the agent will automatically run to it. I love this mechanic and it makes it so easy to look like such a bad-ass. There was a particular scene I played the other night in the basement parking garage to the police precinct. The action was fast and furious as I was moving from cover to cover, periodically popping up to take a couple head shots or a well placed bullet into a gas canister causing an explosion and sending dead baddies flying. My girlfriend, who was watching me play, said something about how bad ass of an action hero I looked like and all I could say was that it’s easy to look like that.
Coming into The Division, I knew that there was a huge emphasis on looting and customization. You can find items dropped by dead enemies and throughout the game world. You can even scrap items for parts to customize your weapons and gear. I’m roughly 8-9 hours into it so I haven’t done a ton of customizing at the time of this writing, but I can already tell that this game mechanic runs surprisingly deep. I haven’t spent any time inside the ‘Dark Zones’ either, so I will have to write again at a later time once I have spent some more time with the game. But it doesn’t take long to know that this game is going to spend a lot of time in my Xbox for the foreseeable future. CHEERS!