Developer: Ubisoft Massive
PS4, Xbox One, PC
Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, (or MMORPG for short) have never been a genre of gaming that I’ve been interested in. In MMORPG’s players enter a shared world carrying out tasks and completing quests, whilst picking up loot along the way to improve their own character. I understand the appeal of MMORPG’s but, my main issues are not having the time to sink hours into them and the thought of playing the same game forsaking others doesn’t seem that appealing.
Although the makers of The Division have never actually said that it is an MMORPG, it does share many similarities. I hear you cry, “aren’t you contradicting yourself Chris by saying that you aren’t interested in these games and yet you include one in your top 10 games of 2016!” I guess the answer to that question is yes but importantly, The Division did enough for me to enjoy it without making me feel like it was an online grind.
The Division takes place in an alternative version of New York. I’ve never actually been to New York but, I’m assured by someone who has that the game does a good job of creating an authentic representation of the Big Apple. A smallpox pandemic has taken place wiping out most of the inhabitants, leaving desperate civilians fighting for survival and street gangs in charge.
You are part of the titular Division and it is your job to go into the city and restore order. Firstly, you must create a character based on the pre-sets that are available. In all honesty the character creation is fairly standard and it’s hard to build up any sense of relationship with the other characters in the game because you are silent throughout.
One of your first tasks in the game is to establish contact with your base as you begin to repair the damage that has been done. Your main base of operation consists of medical, security and tech wings. You must complete missions to improve these areas which then unlocks various perks to tailor your character and particular play style.
You can play the game alone but to really get the most out of The Division it is best played with a friend or group of people. As the game is online only you can see people on your friends list running about completing missions and joining them is very simple indeed.
The Division is a 3rd person cover based shooter and one of the joys of playing it is just how well everything works. I know that sounds like I’m damning it with faint praise but, running in and out of cover as you flank enemies is extremely satisfying.
Although the main story may not be the strongest element of the game, one of the things I did enjoy was finding individual stories littered throughout the world. These are called echoes and finding them along with mobile phones that had been left behind by victims and survivors added extra layers of story that I wasn’t expecting.
There is also a player vs player (PVP) area called the dark zone. This added a neat mode of cat and mouse where you can either work together to get rare loot, or stab other players in the back. A lot of tension was created as you waited for a helicopter to collect your hard earned belongings whilst you were in a Mexican stand-off with other players. If you did happen to betray the other players then you become a target for everyone in the game for a certain amount of time.
Overall I had a great time playing The Division with a friend. The combat and traversal isn’t particularly taxing, yet was fun and satisfying at the same time. The recreation of New York looks fantastic and I would highly recommend you check it out, especially if you have a friend to play with.