The Division Beta at a Glance: Ubisoft’s Answer to Destiny
Ubisoft’s The Division is a fascinating marriage between two popular — though usually separate — genres. Imagine if you will that Destiny and Rainbow Six had a baby…. Well they did in a 3rd person shooter and they named it “The Division”.
From what we know in the beta, most of the city of Manhattan is placed under quarantine after smallpox outbreak. Your character is part of the Strategic Homeland Division (SHD) and the mission is to restore order from chaos and track down the source of the virus. (maybe add more if there is more posted on the Ubisoft website).
As you make your way through the game and complete main missions, side missions, and have random encounters with thugs and find missing data to piece the puzzle together you earn experience points and currency. Currency can be used to purchase mods, gear and weapons while your experience points are used to learn new skills along the way. The game employs a day/night cycle which alters how some enemies behave. There is also an amazing time based weather system with snow storms that can either help you sneak around or have you run blindly into a group of enemies. The AI isn’t too bad either. Unlike most (shooter?) games where enemies just run straight to you, the enemies look to get to higher vantage points to shoot you behind cover as well as pair off to flank and pin you in one place.
You have the ability to customize your character from head to toe by interchanging hats, jackets, pants and shoes (for some reason you can wear skinny jeans, I guess not even a viral outbreak can kill some bad trends). There are loot tables and DPS calculations to take into account when equipping your character with armor and weapons. It’s a system of give and take as you decide if you want firepower, health or skill power.
Dark Zone: PVP multiplayer mode
The games PVP multiplayer where you most go to collect the games high end weapons and gear. The Dark Zone has its own currency and progression system as you locate and pick up valuable items. However, these items, known as “contaminated loot”, can be taken by other players in the zone, and will not be permanently attached to the player’s character unless they are extracted from the zone through a helicopter. Players can be accompanied by several co-operative partners and other neutral, player-controlled agents. These people, however, can turn against the player at any moment, going rogue. Players’ level and ranking may drop if they die too often in the zone.
What Needs Some Tweaking
At a glance, the Dark Zone concept is an intriguing one, but The Division beta doesn’t do a great job of selling it. There are tense moments of trying to extract loot – the only way to actually unlock the items that drop in the Dark Zone – before a Rogue tries to kill you and steal it, but that’s really all the mode had to offer during the beta. Either players try to run around and steal, or they try to police the Dark Zone by killing Rogues and protecting teammates. As far as the Dark Zone is concerned, Ubisoft needs to give players equal incentives to be good guys if they so choose. Or simply give teams more to do in the area that combines the PvE and the PvP elements.
I am looking forward to the finished product with all areas of the map open and ready to explore. The map of Manhattan doesn’t feel condensed and smashed together. For an open world MMO, it feels expansive and I can not wait to dive into the game with a 4 man squad.
The Division multiplayer will be available March 8th 2016 on PC and Steam as well as Playstation 4 and Xbox One consoles.
Drop some gamer tags and the platform in the comments and take back Manhattan with your fellow Blerds.