Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is the sequel to what Ubisoft planned to be their Destiny killer. Although the original game did show some promise, it got more things wrong than right. The Division faced criticism for being too repetitive and lacking meaningful content when it launched. None of these factors stopped it from being a huge commercial success though. A sequel was pretty much guaranteed following its strong launch.
The real question is whether Ubisoft would be able to address the issues from the first game? If the publisher wants to establish a hit franchise, it’s important to ensure the sequel is a definitive improvement. Failure to do that could mean that better games would leave it behind. Here’s the rundown on The Division 2.
Those looking at The Division 2 expecting a massive shake-up in gameplay will only find disappointment. Not all that much has changed in terms of the overall mechanics. Enemies still act like bullet sponges for the most part. Except this time you have to chip away at their armor before being able to kill them.
This does add a slight twist to the formula from the first game but doesn’t really solve the problem. You can say the same of the basic mission structure as well. Almost every activity follows the same basic structure. Playing solo is still as frustrating as ever, as the studio designed encounters around the concept of playing with others.
Loot is where The Division 2 really stands out. There are so many different attachments and gear that it is possible to create any type of build you want. Fantastic customization options also mean that you can make your character feel distinctive. You can swap out practically every item of clothing to create a unique look. While you need to examine each item’s stats to get the most out of your gear, it is not necessary for most players. In fact, The Division 2 encourages you to experiment with different attachments to see what works best for you.
Furthermore, Ubisoft has improved matters when it comes to endgame content. There is now a fully-fledged PvP multiplayer mode for those who don’t want to stick to co-op gameplay. However, the best content comes in the post-credits campaign. You now have to fight against the Black Tusk organization. Players can pick new specializations, which significantly alter the way you play the game. Areas of Washington D.C. are completely reworked to keep everything fresh and exciting. It is a real challenge that requires teamwork and skill to get through.
The Division 2 takes place shortly after the events of the first game. The world is still trying to recover from the Green Poison attack that released a devastating man-made virus. Washington D.C. has been abandoned by the government, leaving the Division Agents in control.
As the game begins, you and the Joint Task Force are battling to keep authority in the area. Opposing you are three main groups of hostiles. They include a collection of criminal gangs, former soldiers and paramilitary fighters, and a group of crazed quarantine survivors.
The entire campaign runs for around 20 to 30 hours in total. Unfortunately, the plot loses focus fairly soon. Rather than be one cohesive story, it appears more like these are separate campaigns stitched together. The fact that most of the quests involve going to a new location and defeating the enemies there doesn’t help. Another complaint is that the story drags its feet. Even if this is a way to pad out the playtime, it means that the delivery of important plot points is painfully slow.
Washington D.C. is brought to life in a way that no other game has managed. It is impressive to travel through different areas and see such iconic monuments faithfully recreated. The attention to detail is astounding and something that a lot of other developers could learn from.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the sound design. Although the music can actually be great, it is too infrequent to add any real intensity. Meanwhile, the voice acting is bland and flat. There are no standout performances that make any lasting impression. Thankfully, the sound effects are a bit better. For example, the thundering of explosions and gunfire sound satisfying.
For such an action-packed game, where something is always happening, it holds up surprisingly well technically. The frame rate rarely stutters and I only experienced a few minor technical problems. Compared to many other games where bugs and glitches can ruin the fun, The Division 2 comes out positively.
The Division 2 neatly builds on the groundwork laid by its predecessor. There are a lot of improvements and it will likely keep many players coming back for more. Despite this, there are still some issues that stop this from being a truly exceptional game. Players complained about the repetitive missions and bullet sponge enemies from the original game. These problems still remain and Ubisoft has done very little to address them.
Yet, for the most part, this sequel is a steady improvement. The basic mechanics still work well and the changes to the endgame content are worthwhile. If you enjoyed the first title, The Division 2 will definitely be a winner for you.