The Division – out of Beta, out of Mind?

Feb 23, 2016

What is The Division?

Tom Clancy’s The Division is a game developed by Ubisoft and coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC on March 8th. They had a fairly long beta release that concluded this week, allowing many users to get a first look at the gameplay. So what are players saying? Is the demo enough to draw users in to play it, or has it actually diminished incentive to buy? Many players are saying the latter.

Destiny 2.0?

The Division vs Destiny

The first thing that a lot of users said when they started playing The Division or watched gameplay of it was that it was very reminiscent of Destiny. Destiny is a massively multiplayer online first person shooter with many RPG elements. When it was first released, it encountered a lot of backlash for not having enough story and repetitive end-game gameplay. Unfortunately, it looks like The Division may have followed Destiny in this regard as well.

One of the biggest complaints that users were having was that while the game is beautiful and the gameplay is good, the entire space just feels empty. There isn’t enough going on to keep them interested, the story is very lackluster, and there are very few NPCs for how large the space is. This directly goes into the diversity of missions, as many people were commenting that after playing a few “go here, kill this” missions, they were getting burnt out and bored. In all fairness, the beta only allowed people to play the first few missions, but some have seen this before.

One other complaint a lot of people have mentioned is that the enemies feel like bullet sponges. When Destiny did it, the enemies were all monsters or aliens, so for them to take a few bullets makes sense. Now The Division has done the same thing, but using human enemies. Walking up to a thug and pumping a couple shotgun rounds directly in their face only to see their health bar lower a bit simply isn’t satisfying. In this regard people found The Division to actually be lacking when compared to Destiny, despite The Division clearly attempting to learn from its predecessor’s mistakes.

Back when Destiny released their beta weekends, it got a lot of players very interested in the game, but many others were turned off by how repetitive the beginning missions were. When the full game released, players picked it up hopeful that the remaining quests offered new and exciting missions and a ton of end-game content. However, many were disappointed with the final result, saying that the final game felt like an extended beta. Now, The Division has put out a very similar beta, and while Ubisoft has said that the final game has a lot more content, many players are not convinced.

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Is it really that unique?

The other major issue that has a lot of players concerned is the lack of individuality that The Division has displayed. This is a game that was billed as one of a kind ever since its original trailer. However, everything outside the Dark Zone is just a typical open world map with missions to accomplish and enemies to defeat. Think Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, or any other Ubisoft title. The lack of anything new in this section of the game is very underwhelming to players who have been hoping for a unique experience in this title.

The other big issue to The Division’s individuality is, as mentioned, Destiny. A shooting based game with a lot of role playing elements in an online multiplayer environment also billed largely for consoles. That entire description fits either game, and it is fairly evident when you play both of them. The biggest thing that The Division has that Destiny didn’t is that it is coming out on PC. Now, that’s a big deal for a lot of people, so it may be enough to differentiate it, but for people looking for an entirely unique experience, The Division has been falling short.

It’s not all bad!

The biggest thing that The Division has going for it right now is the Dark Zone. While everything else seems very cut and paste from other titles, the Dark Zone is what offers something new, and truly gives The Division something to brag about. The Dark Zone is an area where you go in and explore randomly generated areas with much stronger AI, but the really interesting part is that other players are there alongside you. Now, the rest of The Division also allows cooperative play, but here in the Dark Zone, it’s not cooperative at all. You encounter other players, and you can choose to team up if you’d like, but you are also perfectly welcome to shoot them and take their stuff. If you do choose to kill another player, you will be marked as a rogue and appear red on other player’s maps.

The Division Dark Zone rogue alert

Rogue players often get hunted by many players, but there is also benefits to getting high level of rogue rankings, so sometimes players team up and travel in rogue groups, picking off individual players in order to increase their own ranking. These player interactions add many layers of intricacies to The Division’s Dark Zone, and make the game fascinatingly different from many other games on the market. Is it worth buying The Division simply because of the Dark Zone? Or will the game be as flush with content as Ubisoft promises upon release? We’ll see come March 8th.

Jan 13, 2016
Nov 30, 2015
Stephen Draper
Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
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