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The Division - Divisive.

The Division is a very stunning and interesting game, with soaring highs as well as flaws. The potential is so high and the realisation of that potential is, well, 'time-released'

Buy now enjoy later.

The Division is a very interesting game. It’s a game caught between worlds, and could be described as a shooter, or an RPG, or an MMORPG, or a shoot–and–looter, and it’s sort of all of those things and yet none of them.

The blurring between genres is embodied by your character, a sleeper agent in The Division – a clandestine task force to restore order when all else fails – activated after a virus is released in New York, decimating the city and surrounding area. At character creation you go “Ah yes, an RPG,” but then realise your choice is from a stock set of approximately 16 faces, all of which are a bit amorphous, as if they were molded from brie and then left in the sun.

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Although the similarities to the likes of Destiny or Borderlands are undeniable, The Division improves on both in key areas. Weapon choice matters, each gun feeling notably different to wield, while character build – such as combat preference, choice of support skills, and gear load-outs – has a notable impact on both solo play and effectiveness in a team.

However, while story missions have varied objectives, actual gameplay often boils down to diving for cover and shooting enough enemies to progress. For all its charms elsewhere, familiarity is The Division’s worst enemy.

The loot side of The Division is satisfyingly varied and while the grounded, real world setting precludes any bonkers apparel – sorry, no flaming beanie hats here – there’s plenty of variety still to be found. Not only are there weapons, mods, and gear that boost a variety of stats, but also cosmetic items that merely change the appearance of your agent.

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PvP in The Division takes the form of the Dark Zone – a quarantine area within a quarantine area, where the really bad stuff happened. Unsurprisingly, this is not only home to some nicer – albeit virus contaminated – loot, but also tougher enemies who certainly don’t make it easy to get your hands on their goodies. When entering the Dark Zone, you’ll see other players running around the streets, and you can either go it alone or work together to grab some gear. Unfortunately, you can’t just leave the Dark Zone with your swag, and in order to keep any equipment you find, you’ll need to get it to an extraction point so a helicopter can swoop in and take it to your base of operations to be cleaned.

The biggest strength The Division has to offer though is – somewhat surprisingly – its open world. A concern going in was that without the fantastical and the unreal to lean on, the environments would merely be cookie cutter streets that all felt the same. Fortunately, this hasn’t come to pass and a lot of time has been spent making each district visually distinct, while ensuring that they all still feel like part of the same big city. This sense of place is also ably assisted by the stellar graphics on display. Now, it doesn’t look quite as good as the now infamous E3 reveal, but this rendering of desolate city coming apart at the seams is beautifully crafted, and when day turns to night or bright sunlight gives way to a snow storm, you’ll find yourself completely immersed in the icy hell that this plague ridden city has spawned.

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Any enjoyment to be found in The Division could easily have been smothered by its tremendously dull side content. Fortunately, it’s saved from some all too familiar open world bloat by not only the high stake thrills of the Dark Zone but its top notch story missions, however with that being said all the enemys and bosses, (bar the last one) follow the same generic bullet sponging formula, and running from known location to known location hoping the same npc’s have spawned so you can get a chance of a loot drop is… well.. mind numbing. The games development suffers from what has becoming a worrying trend of ‘destinyitus’ the bones of an amazing game are their. but rather than flesh it out and give us what could be an amazing product, we get scraps and insights into what could of been, and teased before the games official release with content to be sold separately after the games release… and we’re served it as a pill we have to swallow because ‘well, everyone else is doing it.’

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The Good

- Solid mechanics and weapons
- Fun and exciting darkzone (for a while)
– Amazing visuals and immersive audio

The Bad

– Unbalanced darkzone
– Fullprice for a half game

The Verdict

It's a solid shooter, with fun components and a world of potential, unfortunately, it's unrealised potential, Generic encounters, repetitive gameplay, and a unbalanced seemingly rushed PvP experience. My advice, Wait a year, maybe two, pick up a game of the year or 'bundle addition' when everything's been fleshed out, balanced and new PvP experiences have been incorporated and you'll of grabbed yourself a 9.5+ game.

8.1