Be warned if you continue reading after this point you will encounter the following:
- Light spoilers
- My opinion, given with no regard to other’s opinions
- Occasional Adult Language and Concepts, because … you know.
So despite “Grinding” being the main word I use when describing this game, I actually enjoyed playing it. In fact one of the reasons I know it’s a grind is that I did just that over about 2 weeks just to finish the campaign.
The premise is simple, you have a bunch of guns and you need to shoot a shit-ton of people with them. Oh, sure the pedantic among you may whine on about plotting and the virus, terrorists and gangs etc… that you need to ‘defend’ against, but in reality? Kill a lot of peeps.
I have no issue with that, I play a lot of games and this is the main premise in most of the genres, even in truly great games you get to kill a lot of folk and with little or no motivation other than ‘thems the bad guys, so make with the killing’. Kind of makes sense that conservative old Tom Clancy (RIP) would put his name on the pro-military-bullet-based-solution type game. Absolutely nothing to do with reality here, if you see a red line, kill them before they see you and never, ever question the pre-emptive nature of your killing spree.
The Division works because you need other players to tackle some of these missions, when you see a sea of multi-coloured health bars (rather than the standard red) you know you need back up and that’s where the game takes off. The matchmaking can be a bit ropey at times but once you have a good set of people you play together or you die.
You do need to level up to proceed in this game, so side missions and encounters are valuable, you can’t just cruise through the main missions without picking up some side missions to level up, otherwise you go into Missions out-gunned and worse, bringing your team down.
If your weapons, defences and stats are at the wrong level you simply won’t get through in one piece. There are plenty of people to hook up with online, and there’s little to no chatter or inter-player nonsense that you usually get. you settle into roles in silence, I have a tendency to be a Sniper, holding back and firing in, and keeping med packs for urgent revivals, so I usually end up covering fire and patching up the more gung-ho/higher level fighters in whatever group I’m in.
The fast travel system is great for following on missions, side missions and encounters and you only really need to back to base to work on your points, perks and crafting. The game has all of these things and they kind of work well, but it’s just too much to focus on at some points. Early on the crafting system seemed like a good way to short-cut weapons and gear, but after a while I left it alone and picked up every stray item off the streets and sold/bought my way up the weapons ladder.
The weather system is randomly cool and irritating, great on one level when the rain and fog comes in and then you can’t see anything and they can’t see you. But also you can’t see anything outside a few metres distance, so there’s that.
There’s also the Dark Zone, but that’s a bit of a meat grinder at the best of times and unless you level up you can’t join a crew. To level up you need to play, extract and do well (or so-so) in the Dark Zone, so maybe they should rename DZ to Catch-22. If you try extracting when you’re too low a level you basically send up flares to higher levels players saying ‘Fresh Meat, come get it’ whereupon you get fried like the cardboard potatoes strips at (insert your favourite purveyor of fats food here).
I downloaded the Game to my XboxOne HD and then just loaded it up whenever I felt like some random violence. Speaking of which, you can totally shoot the dogs that wander around the streets of New York. Also the birds, which are much harder. Hit Points flash up when you shoot these creatures, but they don’t seem to affect you one way or the other. Not sure what thats about, maybe the sequel will involve PETA instead of CERA?
Is it good? Yes.
Is it worth full price? Probably, I got mine 50% off in one of those 1-day only Microsoft Store sales, so for me the value for money was AWSM.