Six months on and the world is yet to pull itself back together. The Division 2 takes us to Washington D.C. as we look to bring hope back to the good people. However, with so many recent AAA games being launched perhaps before they are ready, will The Division 2 break this trend?
Story-wise we don’t drift too far from the original. You are an agent of The Division sent to D.C. to support the established settlements against new enemies. As you progress through the story you will face 4 different enemy factions. The Hyenas, True Sons, Outcasts and finally once the main story is finished the Black Tusk make up these factions.
Once again you will be looking out for loot drops, random bags to search, crates to loot and ECHOs to reconstruct to name but a few of the collectables that will have you searching every room. Pair this with the number of activities scattered around the world and you won’t be running out of things to do for a while.
Luckily the world is beautifully put together. There is so much detail down each street and in every building. Wild animals roam the map including a surprising number of dogs. Flora spreads across abandoned cars and unused roads really showing what the world would look like without us in it. Honestly, on the PS4 Pro D.C. looked amazing and made the search for loot a pleasure rather than a chore. For the record the map is a 1:1 recreation of the real world, which is just pretty cool.
It seems that the team have also put an added focus on the audio as well. Missions are accompanied by appropriate music depending on where you are in a mission. Grenade effects deafen you changing how everything sounds. Shooting from inside containers or other covered spaces adds an echo to your shots. You can feel the difference in your weapons thanks to their individual sounds. A rifle has that deliberate shoot where shotguns just sound savage.
Combine the great visual design and audio effects and The Division 2 creates a world that is asking to be explored. I would also choose to engage in combat if given the option. Taking a wrong turn towards a waypoint wasn’t a bad thing as exploring is just as rewarding as doing missions.
Fans of The Division will be familiar with the mission set up for this sequel. Explore this building, clear through enemies and get to the named boss battle at the end. Despite the repetitive nature of these missions I never found myself bored with them. So far, I have pretty much solo played through the story missions. Yes, I have died a number of times but that’s fine. Enemy AI seems smarter than what I have come across in other games. The sole purpose is to flank or get behind me to kill me, they have succeeded a number of times.
This game maintains its great cover-based combat. Standing out in the open to unload a complete mag into an enemy will not work. Smart gameplay is demanded of you in this game as you progress through it, even more so in the early levels. Picking the right spot to launch your attack from, ensuring you move between cover to keep the enemy guessing and using the gadgets that suite your gameplay is all important.
A slight frustration with the cover combat is when you find yourself being charged by melee enemies. Getting out of cover to move away from the enemy isn’t the most natural thing. There were plenty of times where a melee attack from behind caught me off guard and I got caught moving round cover cost me a respawn.
Despite the same mission design as The Division, there is plenty of distractions in this game to keep you entertained. Control points need to be taken from enemy factions. Supporting your team on patrols or while collecting water. Shutting down enemy broadcasting stations. Clearing strongholds. Plus building up your settlements mean whether you want to rush to the end game or just enjoy playing, there is something on offer.
Being able to matchmake whenever you want was a nice addition as well. You can do this at any safe house or the main base of operations. Being able to call for help while in free roam or missions means you are never too far away from some help. It made the co-op element of the game feel more integrated into the whole experience. However, if you want to solo the game perhaps find out how to turn this call for help off as I got a lot of agents needing help.
I might have just been lucky but I haven’t hit any major bugs. I haven’t had a crash, I haven’t fallen through the map and no audio has dropped out. Yes, I have seen a few enemies look a bit out of shape once I killed them but that isn’t too bad. I have suffered a few moments of lag with the world loading but my Pro might be suffering a bit recently so can’t guarantee that is to do with the game.
Now, this is all taken from my main gameplay experience. As you are likely aware one of the enemy factions only appears once you have completed the main story. They start to populate the map as you travel around as well as invading missions to step up the difficulty. These enemies bring high-end technology with them and are a welcome challenge in the end game.
You unlock 3 specialisations in the end game. Demolition, survivalist and sharpshooter will add another approach to your gameplay. Here is where the quest for high-end gear really starts. Ubisoft has already outlined a large amount of content for year 1 so it seems The Division 2 is on the right track.
The Division 2 delivers a well-rounded shooter. Ubisoft has built on what I enjoyed from their previous title and just added a nice bit of polish to it. You might be able to question the storyline a little, but the game is so beautiful I had no issues with being in D.C. this time out. Overall, I will keep coming back to this game as I push myself in the end game. That desire to find more loot and complete harder missions are fulfilled in The Division 2. I am excited to see how the game develops once we get down the Year 1 content a bit.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*