As it approaches its releases, come March 8th, Tom Clancy’s The Division has been making all sorts of waves.
A good portion of what so many had to say about The Division was derived from its closed beta, and for good reason. There was a lot to digest, both good and bad, too much in fact.
So, I returned to The Division once more, this time during this weekend’s open beta. Now, with a good 12 hours clocked in, I’ve got a few things to discuss.
The Division has a solid PvE mode. Sure, the overall plot is a little generic, but running around a near-scale dystopian New York with a few friends, looting and tackling missions as we go, is as good as the game gets.
Happily, the open beta included an additional mission that wasn’t available in the closed beta, revolving around the Tech Wing. The Tech Wing is essentially your ability/skill tree.
An example of said skills is the ability to deploy a turret, primed towards engaging and incapacitating anything it deems your enemy.
Initially, some of the abilities available seem like a bit of a waste, never managing to take down an enemy faster than engaging with them yourselves.
As you engage more and more capable foes, however, you soon start to see the usefulness of the Tech Wing and skills it offers.
Unfortunately, a great deal of the skills available need a lot of tweaking and balancing, feeling underpowered in general.
Take the explosive tech skill for example, it barely deals any damage to your enemies, rendering it largely pointless.
The same goes for grenades. Firstly, they’re assigned to a rather awkward button layout, and by the time you get to the one you want, you’re either dead or your friends have killed the enemy for you.
In general, the PvE part of the game is fun and addictive, but what is concerning to me is the sheer lack of end game content at this time.
Other games of this ilk offer a variety of classes, adding replayability merely by allowing players create a new character.
The Division doesn’t have any restrictions to chopping and changing your skills, rendering the point of starting a new gamer rather moot.
For now, Ubisoft has yet to discuss or demonstrate their plans for continued play or replayability, which is a bit concerning to be frank. Even allowing players to re-tackle missions at higher difficulties would be something.
Don’t get me wrong, exploring New York is great, but at times the world feels a bit dead. I know there is an apocalypse going on, but running down a long, empty road gets tedious fairly quickly.
There are, of course, boxes of upgrade materials scattered around the city as well as a few side missions to undertake, but these seem arbitrarily placed a lot of the time, with long portions of time that go completely uneventful.
And when you do come into contact with an enemy, it takes but a few seconds to take them down, especially when you have gained a few levels or are equipped with powerful gear.
I think the PvE portion of the game has a lot going for it; it’s a solid co-op experience that does not compare to anything else on the market. If only there was more to go on with regards to the end game.
I know the game has a season pass, but relying on that to provide more content is just pushing it.
Initially, I was fairly disappointed with the closed beta PvP portion of the game, also known as the Dark Zone.
It lacked any sort of appeal to me as walking around an area collecting the relatively rare gear scattered around only to be shot and killed by another player was just not the way I envisioned the game.
The open beta seemed to improve on this aspect of the game.
There were enemies that you could kill, apart from the other players, which is a marked improvement from my last experience with Dark Zone. They were fairly difficult though, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I was still confronted by a range of players who would prefer I ate lead, many of whom patiently waited for me to attempt to gather earned loot before attacking.
I completely understand that this is a part of the Dark Zone, but it’s impossible to avoid as a solo player, meaning that you’re encouraged to either play as a team or be a bandit.
More than that, I disliked the outcome of many of my PvP adventures, and I am extremely concerned about the fact that the only way to get very good gear in the game, for both PvE and PvP, is to tackle the Dark Zone.
Again, this punishes players who want to benefit from this gear, but who do not have the friends or the skill to take it on.
It would be a different story if Ubisoft dropped PvP specific gear in the Dark Zone that benefits players entering the zone, similar to Destiny’s Crucible gear drops.
Instead, gear you’ll more than likely require to overcome a number of the PvE scenarios can only be found in the Dark Zone.
It’s the same argument I’ve had from the game’s initial reveal – the PvE is top notch and the PvP is broken.
Saying that, the open beta this weekend proved that the game has so much going for it, and when it releases it’s going be a massive title.
Ubisoft knows how to build the hype, but they’ve proven that they struggle with being overly ambitious or polishing a open world to perfect.
Tom Clancy’s The Division is set for release on 8 March for PS4, Xbox One and PC.