Tom Clancy's The Division 2 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 03.06.2019

Review for Tom Clancy

Massive Entertainment has really outdone themselves with Tom Clancy's The Division 2, which has set itself up for the long-haul. Unlike its predecessor, which had drawn complaints from lacking content in the empty world, this time around it seems from the outset that these issues have been addressed. Plus, with more content scheduled for release in Year One, there is plenty to love about this experience. Shifting the 'green poison' outbreak from Manhattan to the nation's capital Washington D.C., 'The Division' agents are in force to handle the violent outbreak between three rival groups battling for territory. This third-person cover-based shooter can be played entirely solo, but even more fun and terror can be found online as well.

From the opening scene, The Division 2 gets straight to the point in teaching the ropes of the mechanisations of the game, and it doesn't take long to learn and get comfortable with the controls. The controlled Agent can wield two main weapons, and a sidearm, as well as a grenade type, and up to two skills can also be equipped for further aid in battle. In addition to these offensive weapons, the Agent can also equip up to six pieces of gear or armour. Simply, all the tools are there to turn the Agent into a super-buffed killing machine built to serve whichever purpose is required.

Unlike traditional shooters, The Division 2 is better off being approached as a role-playing game of sorts, more similar to a Final Fantasy title in terms of setup instead of a Call of Duty. From the beginning, the Agent cannot just simply headshot enemies for a one-hit kill - instead The Division 2 omits this realism for the 'Random Number Generator' hit counter. While it can take getting used to for those who skipped the first game, it won't take long to get used to the new way of doing battles.

The main weapons come in six different forms of guns: rifle, assault rifle, marksmen rifle, light-machine gun, sub-machine gun and the shotgun. Each of these weapons can be gotten via loot cases found around Washington D.C. or gotten within missions either as rewards for completion, or as loot drops by enemies. The key rule of thumb with these weapons is to not get too attached. Weapon drops are plentiful, and oftentimes the Agent will run out of room in their inventory and storage box back at home base. Basically, those who are used to hoarding lots of weapons "just in case" they are needed down the track may find this restriction the most frustrating.

However, to save inventory space, it's best to break down these weapons into materials that can be used for crafting new weapons down the track. Likewise, selling these weapons for in-game currency will also be a useful practice. Luckily, within the inventory menu, there is an option to set certain weapons and armour gear "as junk" so that they can easily be sold or broken down as a batch. However, one drawback to this system is the inability to break down an item singularly if there are a bunch of other items marked as junk. The game will just insist on breaking down all the items marked as junk, despite the fact that the Agent may wish to sell that gear later.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 on PlayStation 4

Otherwise, these various gears offer great rewards for those who experiment with different loadouts and armour equips. By equipping all three pieces of gear by the same brand, the Agent will earn other buffs associated with the gear-combo, in addition to the individual stat boosts found on each gear. Better yet, the Agent may pick up two different masks, both by the same brand, with awarding different stat upgrades. Regular decisions could be as simple as equipping the +14% damage against Elite soldiers and +5% weapons damage gear, versus the +1,473 Health upgrade and +2,760 armour upgrade gear. Of course, as the Agent continues to level up, the looted gear get much better and thus the decisions become a lot tougher to make.

Soon after completing the required main missions, weapon and armour modifications can get crafted by finding their blueprints, and then collecting the specified materials to construct them at a crafting station. This adds a whole new layer to the armour and weapon gears, as some gear may offer additional modification slots for the Agent to equip even more attribute and stat boosts. One piece of gear could have +10% for critical hit chance, however a +5% boost for critical hit chance comes with two modification slots to add extra buffs to the armour.

Again, while this type of meta-game may be a nightmare for those who are easily overwhelmed, it is a paradise for others who enjoy spending a bit of time allocating the right gear to the right loadouts to cover any situation necessary. Plus, with some many variables at play at mod upgrades that can be made specific to the Agent's choosing, the Agent would be hard-pressed to find anyone else out there with the exact type of loadout as them. This does allow for some uniqueness with how Agents like to go about their business.

Adding yet another layer to the loadouts are the skills themselves. These "skills" come in the forms of additional aid during battles, and they come in eight major forms. These are: Pulse, Turret, Hive, Chem Launcher, Firefly, Seeker Mine, Drone or Shield. Yet within these forms, they each have three or four different types; and only two of these skills can be equipped at any given time. For example, the 'Hive' skill contains a 'Stinger' version, which goes out and attacks nearby enemies, whereas the 'Restorer' version will cause the Hive skill to repair damaged armour. Assault turrets automatically gun down enemies in its firing range, but an incinerator turret can cause burn damage to all nearby enemies, though it has a shorter range. Plus, like the gear itself, these skills can also be outfitted with extra modifications that can grant additional buffs, such as lessening the cooldown duration or adding in an extra mine for the Seeker Mine skill. Skills can only be gotten by earning skill points via the main missions to unlock the skill type, and then by spending SHD Tech points, which are found in hidden SHD tech caches around Washington D.C. or via SHD Tech side or main missions to unlock the other variants within that skill type.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 on PlayStation 4

The Division 2 is best explained as being a two-part adventure. The first part revolves around being pre-level 30, where the Agent is still trying to find their feet, completing missions, claiming settlements and control points, and defeating the three main enemy groups. However, once the Agent reaches level 30 and completes the final stronghold, then the true Division 2 experience begins. Without going into spoiler territory, don't think the job is done once level 30 has been reached.

However, this two-part game only applies to the story-related part of the game. There is still the Dark Zone (DZ). Agents from The Division will know all too well what the DZ entails. This is where Agents can venture out into the 'Wilderness' (any Runescape fans here)? The DZ is the place where Agents can roam about looking for better gear and weapons, and partake in joint ventures with other passing Agents, or work with others to bring down some enemies and earn some better loot - but be wary of backstabbers who may be willing to turn on their 'friends' and take all the loot for themselves.

The DZ is a high-risk, high-reward territory, and it is a separate entity to the main game, as it has its own level-climbing tree. The DZ applies a 'gear normalisation' to all Agents who enter; this is to keep overpowered Agents from the story-portion from picking on newbies entering the DZ for the first time. As such, the DZ level is kept separate from the normal level acquired from the story mode. Plus, there are extra perks that can be unlocked that only apply to the DZ There are three Dark Zone areas in the game, and they each allow for different play styles due to their 'world design'.

There is an absolute huge amount of content to feast on. The Division 2 was not built to be played for the short-term, and it's evident that this is a launch pad for a whole year's worth of content and possibly even more. Those who purchase the Gold/Ultimate editions will gain the Year One content automatically, and there promises to be even more content that will pack in what is already a pretty packed world.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 on PlayStation 4

Washington D.C. is a post-apocalyptic setting that seems devoid of all life; so, it's ironic that there is so much to do. Roaming around between missions might see the Agent get caught up in a fire fight between two rival gangs, or there might be a hostage situation or supply drop to interfere with. One gang may start spewing out some propaganda fire the radio towers and the Agent may decide to drop the enemies and turn off their efforts. Some of the Agent's friendly allies may get wind up in a battle against a roaming 'Elite' enemy, and may require help to bring them down.

For those who don't wish to join online groups for co-op battles will be happy to know that The Division 2 can be played entirely solo. The challenges of the missions are just right for solo, albeit with a couple of difficult and rage-inducing strongholds, but arguably they are even harder when playing with a group of friends. This is due to the enemy-difficulty increasing to encompass all the extra players so that it's not too easy; such as under-levelled players in a higher-level battle due to the stronger allies being one example.

However, while it may be obvious to some, it is worth noting that The Division 2 is an always-online third-person shooter. This means that it cannot be played without a live internet connection, even if there are no intentions to jump into the Dark Zone on a server with friends (or enemies). So, this title may not be viable for those who don't always have an active connection to the internet. While it's understandable why Massive opted for the entire game to run online, it is unfortunately the downside to these sorts of offerings. The solo story-missions probably could have had offline options, but it's hard to gauge whether it would've even been possible without understanding the infrastructure that The Division 2 was built on.

Screenshot for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 has thrown its hat into the ring for being a possible 'Game of the Year' contender for 2019. The post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. is such an eerie site to see, and Agents can roam around solo or in groups to complete missions and earn better loot to upgrade their characters. With more content well on the way, the base game is still packed with heaps of stuff to do - and the huge variety in gear types and stat boosts, modifications, and skills means that 1000+ hours can easily be put into this title over the course of the year. The only bane to these sorts of titles is the 'always-online' internet connection that is required, which does remove some parts of the gaming population from being able to play it, unfortunately.

Developer

Massive Entertainment

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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