The Division, as you all probably know already, is a “tactical, third person, cover based, hybrid
RPG/Shooter” … try saying that 5 times fast! The game was developed by Ubisoft and Massive
entertainment, and is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
The game is set in a near future New York where a pandemic causes the city to collapse into
chaos, setting the scene of a gritty post apocalyptic backdrop. It’s a look at what might happen if
the constructs of civilized society were to be pushed to the brink, and then come crashing down.
This feeling is complemented by stunning graphics, regardless of what platform you’re running
the game on. The amazingly realistic map of New York is littered with abandoned cars, boarded
up abandoned buildings, and random encounters with hostile enemies who want nothing more
than to cause chaos in the city.
In this post apocalyptic New York simulator, you play as a Division agent. A self-supported,
tactical agent leading a seemingly ordinary life until you are Activated, trained to operate
independently in order to save society. “When society falls, your mission begins.”
Getting into the beginning of the game, you quickly realize it is a massive scope, and the RPG
aspects of the game shine through. There are tons of game menus, skills / perks, weapon stats,
and mini map icons-you easily feel overwhelmed at first. There a steep learning curve to
understand everything, but once you start roaming through the city and start getting into
encounters and missions, you start understanding more and instantly start to fall in love with the
shooter. The tactical third person shooter aspects of the game are well done, and gunfights are
extremely satisfying to participate in.
The main questline in the game has you going to mission locations around the map to either
secure the locations, gather intel, or bring back new team members to assist in growing your
base of operations. Each mission is categorized as one of the three main wings of your base,
and the game gives you hefty rewards for completing them. You can use these to unlock skills,
perks, passive abilities, areas and even vendors. The missions do not seem to have much of a
linear progression other than a level recommendation and zones, so it can get quite confusing
on “where to go, or what to do next.” If you do not have an RPG background and know to grind
out side missions in your current area to help you level, this might be a stalling point for you,
and might get some people frustrated.
I see this frustration transitioning into a lot of people asking for help from groups to power
leveling them. I feel like this is how some people develop a disconnect for the game, or get to
the later levels without a full understanding of game mechanics. This is when those individuals
hit their second round of frustration because they don’t know what they’re doing. Conversely,
power leveled players can be a nightmare for more skilled players queuing for matchmaking.
This happens in most RPG style games and is one of the biggest issues for the genre. Alright,
alright, I’ll get off my moral soapbox now and stop preaching the RPG commandments. (IV:
Thou Shalt Not Power Level)
Shifting focus back to the main story, one of my biggest issues with the game itself is cut scenes
during boss fights. In my opinion, the game is lacking in pre- and post-combat cut scenes. In my
experience, cut scenes add to my sense of fear, anticipation and excitement before the boss
fight, and add to my sense of accomplishment and fulfillment for completing the task.
Other than obtaining leveled loot, the boss fights don’t feel rewarding for me. For example, I was
fighting the final boss with a group of three others and the fight itself was super engaging and
fulfilling. However, towards the end of the encounter, I had to fight some adds that spawned and
missed the entire final kill event of taking down the final boss. This left me feeling let down and
like I missed out on part of the experience. This thing that I had been working so hard towards
completing and all I got was a banner pop up stating “mission complete,” and an achievement…
definitely a letdown. Hopefully this is changed in raids so that they feel more gratifying. Because
in the end, isn’t that more important than loot? …Slightly kidding with that one. Give me them
Beyond the main story there are a load of side missions and encounters you can complete to
gain extra cash, experience, and points toward unlocking in each wing of your base of
operations. These can be easily distracting when traveling from mission to mission but create a
nice full feeling to the map except one mysterious and daunting red area splitting the map into
two. Enter the Dark Zone.
The Dark Zone
The literal interpretation of being in a glass case of emotion. From heart-
pounding euphoria to crippling despair. The Dark Zone runs you through the gauntlet of pretty
much every emotion. Each time you step into the PVP zone, you don’t know what to expect. Will
this be the time everything runs smoothly and your 8 of 9 purples and 1 random scarf get
extracted successfully? Or is this the time a group of 4 rogues faceroll you and do jumping jacks
on your lifeless corpse?
The Gameplay in the Dark Zone is extremely satisfying, whether it’s the thrill of taking down a
high level named boss and watching purple loot comes pop out of his body like candy from a
pinata, the entire population on the server coming together to chase down a rogue, going rogue
yourself and fending off the entire server, or defending an extraction point from waves of
enemies and even nefarious players. The Dark Zone plays like the later seasons of The Walking
Dead; every man or group for themselves with random acts of kindness peppered in for flavor.
Beyond the Dark Zone, the End Game content consists of clearing the map of all missions you
skipped as well as Daily Challenging Missions and patiently awaiting the release of Incursions
(Raids.) You’ll find the end game is very “grindy” but as someone who is very familiar with
RPG’s, that is not an issue for me at all! It’s actually quite fun learning the ins and outs of every
Challenging mission and being able to teach your friends tactics that you’ve learned over the
course of the game.
Like in the Lincoln Tunnel mission in the Tunnel / defend NPC part, leaving one enemy from the
first wave and wait out the timer. The second wave will not spawn and it makes that portion of
the mission very easy.
In closing, I am very impressed with how well this game played upon release. There are still
some bugs and tweaks that need resolved, but all-in-all, I love this game! I have two days and
five hours played so far, and I get excited each day to log in and play. I can’t wait to continue my
player’s progress and learn / destroy the Incursions when they are released.
Final review score: 8.5 / 10
Bonus content – Feature requests:
Locks on items
Spectate mode in “No Respawn Zones”
Visible gear score in your nameplate (see at a glance what you’re up against in the DZ)
Inspect option for other players to view their guns / armor / stats
Weapon skins not to take up inventory space
Fast travel to DZ entrances (from outside of DZ not inside!)
After mission DPS / healing reports for the group
Move extracted loot from the middle of the screen when extracting. The wall of text in the middle
of the screen can get you killed!
Stash box is inventory space is too low!! It needs more space.