THE DIVISION - REVIEW

WRITTEN BY JAY TEE

TAKEAWAYS

- The way the game handles levelling is very strong. There is a constant sense of momentum as you unlock better guns and gear, and missions scale in difficulty depending on the rank of you and your party members. It also encourages you to up the challenge for yourself by tackling stuff well above your pay grade.

- This is the best implementation of a third person cover system since Gears of War. Seriously. The way your character navigates the environment is a masterclass in animation and player movement. Ubisoft have set a new standard.

- Combat is intense and varied. You have so many customisation options at your disposal, and abilities can be switched out on the fly. New favourite weapon: a rolling grenade that unleashes a “cluster bomb” effect by splitting into smaller devices and seeking out enemies.

- Travel between New York campaign / co-op environment and Dark Zone PvP multiplayer is seamless, with no loading screen. Which is awesome. This sells the immersing nature of the open world.

- I’ve spent so much time just wandering around, soaking up the world around me. It’s very easy to achieve next to nothing, progression wise, from extended sessions. The arresting nature of the play space is a definite highlight.

- The sound design. If you have the option of playing this thing wearing surround sound headphones, do yourself a favour. It’s absolutely worth it. Particularly during the more intense encounters.

The Division has been my highlight of two E3’s. Ubisoft bet big on a shared world shooter that carries unimaginable hype. It’s also branded with the familiar Tom Clancy name, which in itself carries a weight of expectation. The house of Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell had a lot to prove. Especially because Black Arrow and Conviction are two of my favourite games of all time. Plus, I feel the market is ready for an involving, evolving MMO light shooter ever since Destiny has [arguably] dropped the ball since launch.

For context, I’ve played the game almost entirely in co-op, with a character currently sitting pretty at Level 21 (of 30). The game has been patched since launch, addressing some initial connection hiccups. I’ve deliberately worked through most of the main story missions with at least one other person (but typically in a team of three or four), so I can’t comment on the quality of the matchmaking system. The side missions and encounters are easily done solo, and are a good way to gather tech and resources to upgrade your base. I’ve also thrown down a fair few hours in the Dark Zone. This is absolutely brutal, especially when you’re faced with a gang of rogue players on your own. It’s definitely something I enjoyed more with a gathering of friendly humans.

- The open world is vast, with a lot of side missions and incidental moments. However, there are certain areas that don’t feel fleshed out. There should be more building interiors, especially as their designs are often duplicated.

- I’m glad they included a character customisation option. But it’s very basic. Don’t expect Mass Effect Shepard levels of choice here. My dude just looks like “generic grumpy white guy.” With grey hair.

- Enemy A.I ranges from ninja assassin to startled badger. It’s unpredictable, yes, and enemies do flank and use cover effectively, but it doesn’t always work. This does lead to some weird encounters, which suck you out of the experience.

- The writing is… terrible. So many cliché lines and poor delivery. Best stuff can be found in non-verbal and entirely optional pick ups. Which is very telling. And bad. It’s more disappointing than anything else. The premise is so good!

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2

3

4

5

BEST WITH FRIENDS

CONCLUSION

The Division has sold me on the promise of next [current] gen. The sheer ambition is a sight to behold, not to mention the exquisite level of environmental detail. It’s not without its flaws, but post launch support has been excellent, with the promise of plenty more to come. A surprising, vast gaming gem, that I will be playing for at least the rest of the year.

DEEP
DIVE

KITCHEN
SINK

The sentry gun is a useful tool. The upgrades, in particular the flame thrower attachment, are very well thought out.  Note: some of the bigger enemies can kick it into oblivion. With one kick. Which is lame.

This game really is as good as it looks. And there are parts that look phenomenal. I mean, you’ll come across a danky texture or three here and there, but it’s mostly a stunning apocalypse.

JTGA

LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS ARTICLE!
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, TWEET US @JAYTEE_GA, OR E-MAIL: EDITOR@JTGA.CO.UK.

THE BASICS

- Third person cover shooter, with light MMO elements.

- Heavy emphasis on co-op.

- The PvP Dark Zones attract the best and worst of gaming humanity.

PLATFORMS

Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC

PLAYERS

Offline - 1, Online - 4

CO-OP / MULTIPLAYER

Full support for entire campaign, alongside PvP.

DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT

- Free updates that add new mission types, gear, and gameplay features.

- Paid expansions, also offered as part of a Season Pass.

- Micro transaction purchases for new outfits, and exclusive unlocks of certain gear via Ubisoft Club.


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2

3

4

5

BEST WITH FRIENDS

PICK UP
& PLAY

LONE
WOLF

DEEP
DIVE

KITCHEN
SINK

TAKEAWAYS KEY

- Something marked with the JTGA
Green badge is an extremely positive
and / or unexpected response to a
particular game or moment.

- The JTGA Orange badge represents
a mixed response. It’s normally
something that works in principle,
but could have been executed better.

- When you see the JTGA Red badge,
you know this is something negative
that’s either disappointing, frustrating,
rage inducing, or all of the above.

TARP BADGE KEY

- 1 out of 5 is BAD. Really bad.
Maybe it’s the worst. Bottom
line: a game with this rating is
a waste of your time and money.

- 2 out of 5 is OK. The game
might have some half decent
ideas, but the execution misses
the mark and the game falls short.

- 3 out of 5 is GOOD. Something
with this rating is absolutely worth
playing, but it’s a flawed package
with a couple of mis-steps.

- 4 out of 5 is GREAT. You’ll have
a fun and varied experience, with
plenty of reasons to invest. Even
if it’s just shy of greatness.

- 5 out of 5 is FANTASTIC. To put
it simply, a game with this rating
comes highly recommended, and is
pretty much close to perfect.


- The BEST WITH FRIENDS badge is
earned if a game is significantly
more fun playing with people you
know, either in campaign or online.

- The PICK UP AND PLAY badge is
for when a game is better suited to
brief, impromptu sessions that
give a quick blast of escapism.


- The LONE WOLF badge tells you
that a particular game can only be
played, or is more enjoyable, when
you’re flying solo.

- The DEEP DIVE badge is a heads
up that what you’re about to play
is a huge undertaking, and best
enjoyed in extended periods.

- The KITCHEN SINK badge is an
indication of a game that is
bursting at the seams with
content (either on disc or DLC).


- The BAM! DONE! badge lets you
know that within minutes of
picking up the controller, you
can play this like a pro.

- The HOT POTATO badge makes
a really clear statement: this
game is making waves, and it’s
definitely worth a look.

- The LEARNING CURVE badge
is awarded if you’ll need to
allow a fair bit of time in
order to fully grasp the controls.


- The SCEPTICAL FACE badge is for
when a game doesn’t leave a strong
impression. Perhaps more time
is needed to decide?

- The LEFT FIELD badge is awarded
when a game surprises us by being
really good and we’d never heard
of it before.

LEFT
FIELD

SCEPTICAL
FACE

LEARNING
CURVE

BAM!
DONE!

HOT
POTATO

HOT
POTATO

LEARNING
CURVE

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