Day 4 of the Write A Stupid Thing Every Day, or W.A.S.T.E.D, quarantine challenge that I’ve imposed on myself.
By: William Chandler
I had a pretty rough relationship with The Division at its release in 2016. Outside of acting as an excellent test of my computer’s new graphics card, I found very little to like. Its repetitive and bloated mission structure offered no enjoyment other than a sort of zen like state one could enter when shooting things, which lasted only for a short while. Then there’s the story, which is an ineffective and melodramatic chain of events about an outbreak of a super flu and the subsequent downfall of society. Huh. Like that could ever happen. Anyway, I still played it for nearly 50 hours because I couldn’t seem to stop. Buried deep within The Division is a great game and maybe, just maybe, The Division 2 has dug deep enough to find purchase.
The gameplay of The Division 2 remains much the same as the first but it feels more satisfying. I understand that is an immeasurable quality but you’re just going to have to take my word for it. The movement system is improved in its responsiveness and the animations for taking, leaving, and vaulting cover are just sublime. Honestly, all of the animation work is great. The gunplay feels similar but a bit more punchy thanks to less bullet spongey enemies, which was a major complaint I had with The Division. Enemy units may take far fewer shots to kill, but so do you. This leads to encounters feeling fast and brutal with the tide of battle swinging hugely in one direction or the other very quickly. If you aren’t keeping track of the locations of the enemies well enough, you may find yourself surrounded and in trouble fast.
Honestly, many of the improvements are small and focused around mechanics orbiting the core loop of the game. You still have a large city map to scavenge through, undertaking main and side missions, with a healthy dose of collectibles and looting to pad out the game’s length. However, this time the world reacts to your accomplishments. Upon completing a number of missions for a settlement, that settlement undergoes a visual and functional upgrade that reflects your progress, just like your base of operations. This goes a long way to keeping you invested in the game beyond the story. This time the story is mostly inoffensive but sadly remains a focus of the experience with frequent cutscenes that drag on a little too long, which is especially true for a game that is primarily intended to be multiplayer. I don’t have time to sit around while my whole party watches cutscenes independently of one another. Maybe force everyone to watch them at the same time? I dunno.
Who knows if any of this is enough to keep me playing into the late game but I am truly enjoying my time right now. For now I have a pal or two to play with so we’ll likely stick with it.