I’m a lover of games. Especially the MMO type that The Division is undoubtedly categorised in. But there is never a “perfect”game and with that in mind I’m going to review the many hours I have currently spent within this post-apocalyptic city that never sleeps.
So many of you reading this probably had the chance of playing the beta over the beta weekend (Jan-Feb 2016) and have a good idea of your own – whether you like it, if you are going to pre-order, if you’re going to cry yourself to sleep every night until the 8th March. I won’t go over the basics but I the quick lowdown for those who aren’t already clued up: There’s a Virus that kills the majority of the population (AT LEAST of New York, we have no idea beyond) and you are/were a Sleeper Agent that takes up controlling the carnage that follows the pandemic. Open world, levelling system, loot, pvp; you get the drill.
So what was it that kept so many people hooked over this beta weekend? Well it mixes two of the biggest gaming genres; shooters, which in this case is primarily third-person when not scoped, and MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). It’s not the first of its kind with an avalanche of comparisons to Destiny, but it’s taken out the majority of the science fiction and added a heavy dose of potential reality which I guess connects better with some people.
That, and the game is absolutely stunning to look at. The new graphics engine – Snowdrop – just brings so much realism to the game, from dynamic surfaces which gradually change in colder/warmer spells of weather to reduced sigh in snow storms – the stills above were taken on my run around the Dark Zone at the beta and on the Xbox One too – whether the graphics had been reduced a lot or not, it’s still eyewateringly, pants-tightening good. Yes, I stood at a bus stop taking in the view and atmosphere.
What we could play was limited, but it did what it needed as a beta, showing us a glimpse into the base of operations development, character progression, mission difficulty scaling and of course, the Dark Zone leveling and combat system. What it gave us was everything we hoped while teasing us as being the tip of the iceberg (no cold-weather related pun intended) into what the full game release will entail.
MMO’s are my real passion, and what makes the great from the good is I guess the same in many games, how immersive the game is and how much it pulls you into the character you play. From the cutscenes to the small details – a couple arguing in an apartment window, a mother holding her baby in another – it made you see the world from the characters’ eyes which became more your own.
Impartiality is a key part of my day job but for this game, I really do hope the hype continues into the open beta, the game release and the future of the game as a whole.
Some pistol-whipping fun to see you out…