Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 – Preview

We took things for granted. We expected coffee in the morning. We expected free Wi-Fi. When those were taken from us, we survived.

When communications broke down, the trains stopped and the internet went dark, we survived.

When the pharmacies were looted and hospitals shut down, asthma became lethal. And with no police to protect you…  Did you own a gun? Did your neighbor?

Some survived.

We are a resilient species. When our society collapsed, we found ways to go on and now, for the first time in centuries, what we want is also truly what we need.

In the face of a disaster, we helped each other. We built new communities in the ruins of the old. We adapted. We survived. Established a new normal.

But there are also those who build nothing. Create nothing. Hyenas, preying on the weak.

They made our world bleed.

But we don’t stand alone. A brave few have sworn to protect us and save what remains. They unite us. Reminds us that we are one people. They are our shield and our light.

But if that light goes out… who can save us them?

Inspiring, isn’t it?

After securing NY City, your services are needed again, agent. But now at the DC. 7 months afterward the virus outbreak during the last black Friday, the citizens of Washington started rebuilding the society. But soon those who found in chaos a better way of living started terrifying the population. The Division is struggling to resist their attack and to protect the population and it could use all the help it could get. That’s when you arrive at the scene to help your fellow comrades to take back control over the city.

In 2016, Tom Clancy’s The Division was received with mixed reception. It suffered from the same problems every game from Ubisoft were dealing with in that period: overpromises. By showing an amazing trailer, worth a movie of its own, they generated a huge hype (yes, I was aboard that train) for this new title. Then came the beta phase. And the release date. And the hype train went out of track. Although it’s one of my favorite games of the generation, The Division failed to live up to the expectative it created. That world, so alive in the trailers, seemed struck by the same virus that decimated the population: it felt pale and empty.

Although these problems, the game was a big hit by Ubisoft. Those who ventured through NY dirty streets and collapsed buildings had a great time in this mix of third-person shooter and RPG! But then the main problem showed its face: the endgame. How to keep those overpowered players who finished the game still engaged with it? 3 DLCs and many patches later, Ubisoft was still struggling to keep its player base interested in the title. But they managed to do a great job with it. For some, at least. For me, The Division was almost perfect. I really felt immersed in the conflict to restore the order to the Big Apple. I had an amazing time with it, playing solo or with friends.

Now, in 2019, between February 7th and 11th, I had the pleasure to try part of Ubisoft plans for The Division 2. And I must say that, if you enjoyed the first game, you are going t love what they have in the box for you!

Now at DC, players can expect more diverse environments, somewhere you can be in touch with wild animals (never thought there were wild animals in Washington… It was a surprise the first time I saw a deer). The cities of the capital, although desert and covered in trash, feel really alive. Graphically speaking, it’s one of the most beautiful worlds I’ve had the opportunity to adventure through in my Xbox One X. The 4K graphics look very sharp. But not everything are flowers: you still can see textures popping up as you approach buildings and trees and characters materializing out of nowhere, especially when in a base or safehouse.

The world feels more dynamic than the first title. The evolution of bases, the control points, the tasks assigned to you by NPCs felt more interesting than in the previous entry of the game. The loved (or hated) Dark Zones are back, promoting PVE and PVP conflicts for loot. Missions can be played solo or with up to three more players in coop.

One of the main complaints about the endgame now seems addressed by the developers with the addition of one extra enemy faction that will only show their faces you reach the end of the story. To fight them you will need some special equipment that comes in the form of specialization, between a grenade launcher, a .50 cal sniper rifle or a bowgun, each one with a new skill tree for you to unlock.

The developers also promise a whole year of free content, with three episodes at least, bringing more missions, more equipment and more material to the game.

Due to the public being more skeptical to its announcements, I’m sure Ubisoft is taking much more care with their fanbase this time. I can already tell that if you are a fan of the original The Division, you will find much more of what you loved in this sequel: just bigger, prettier, better and more intense. If you didn’t like it at all due to any of its problems, Ubisoft is looking to solve these problems and, for what I experienced during this private beta, I believe they are on the right way.

Man… March 15th never felt so distant.

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