Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Review

When the original Tom Clancy’s The Division launched in 2016 it was generally well received. While it had some issues at launch, over the next few months it was carefully updated to become one of the industries finest looter shooters.

It seems strange then that The Division 2 feels like less of a direct sequel built on top of an almost perfect experience, and more of a completely new game built from the ground up. The opportunity was there to pick up all the fan favourite modes and features and just drop them in a new location to hit the ground running. But that’s not the route Massive Entertainment went with. The result is a really solid game with a tight campaign, that has launched to generally positive reviews, but again it has come with avoidable issues that shouldn’t really be there. However, I am confident that it will get the required updates to make it amazing.

The setting has moved from the Big Apple to Washington DC, regular visitors to Washington will enjoy discovering the city museums and parks thanks to the incredible level of detail. But for most of us who have never been, it will only be the truly iconic spots that will be recognizable such as the White House, Capitol Buildings, or the Washington Monument (that big tower thing).

In the seven or so months since the events in New York, grass cutting has been put on the long finger and the usually well maintained stately gardens become overgrown in vegetation as nature starts to reclaim the city.

While the initial confusion around the pandemic has passed, this is very much a city in turmoil with streets filled with NPCs getting into scuffles with each other. It feels more like a living city than a bunch of small districts.

The story is light on emotion and depth but it never outstays its welcome or gets in the way of the action. you can stay on the main campaign path with minimal time wasting on side missions designed to buff out the play time (although they are there should you want to play them and extend your time in the early game)  

You will encounter three enemy factions during the main game and one more at the end. The True Sons, Hyenas and the Outcasts (and later Black Tusk) all have very different looks and approaches to combat. They will regularly make good use of the more high-tech weaponry like Drones, radio controlled cars or robot snipers dogs! As you explore the map you need to take back control from each faction. Like most open world games the AI can on occasion get stuck in its routing but for the most part, it is really believable.   

The map is stuffed with things to do and new areas to discover. Unlocking these areas, upgrading your character, skills and weapons all feel like a reward for playing than a grind to artificially pad out the game time.

Most of the campaign (bar the more difficult stuff near the end) can be played alone, but to be honest this was designed with friends in mind. Squading up with three friends or even random players is surprisingly easy in the matchmaking system. You can then choose to go through the story campaign (which is fully playable in co-op). Or take on the dangerous PVP areas in the Dark Zones which make a welcome return.  

Overall: The gameplay is tight and combat feels great, the rewards in terms of unlocks and loot are generous. The world design is impressive and there is a long content roadmap to keep players playing for months and months.

If you liked the Division or other similar looter shooters in this genre, then The Division 2 should be right up your street. The good news is that I think fans of casual shooters will really enjoy this one too. The main campaign stays on track that it can be finished quickly enough for those that don’t have 70+ hours to invest, and for those that do there is always the option for endless hours of replayability in the end game.

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