It’s fun to experience a world we all know, love, and are very familiar with. In The Division (developed by Massive Entertainment and published Ubisoft), we get to step inside the world of New York city after a deadly outbreak destroyed a place loved by so many. In that world, we experienced the loss of human life, and the struggle to keep its streets safe. In The Division 2, the adventure continues in Washington DC. One of the most protected districts in the world, the apocalypse has found its way into the capital of USA and is turning the architecturally beautiful city into ruin and rubble.
We’ve been told that The Division 2 can be a single player experience, but we all know that we play the game for multiplayer, and that’s exactly what the E3 showfloor demo showcased: A four-player co-op mode where we had to take on a group of assailants controlling the Capital Building. You’re going to see right away that The Division 2 is a lot faster paced than the the original game. Loadouts equip faster and the overall access of use is sped up. The weapons were standard assault-style, along with sidearms, secondary weapons, and grenades. Every weapon is quickly accessed through the face and shoulder buttons, that feels more streamlined than ever before.
The battle begins in a large structure where we all explore the corridors searching for loot and extra ammo. This is similar to the first game in every way: tight halls, and large rooms where anything can be hidden as well as out in the open. But no enemies are hidden in The Division 2. They always come out from doorways, or are already awaiting for battle. And there just happen to be some enemies just a short distance away from where my team gathered. The rooms are spacious for a party of four players. I never once felt too jam-packed or in someone’s way. This is a cover-based shooter, so plenty of cover was available in the form of counters, desks, etc.
In the E3 demo, I chose the sniper class that had the ability to pierce enemy armor and pretty much through anything else in its path. The bullet’s impact was so powerful that they can go through cover and even hit multiple targets. We were told that there are several different abilities within the game, but we only got to try using a few. One ability I was able to track enemy locations even through walls, and another was a drone where it could scout ahead and be used as backup fire.
As far as I could tell, the HUD was nearly identical to the one in the original game, or at least was similar enough. Players’ identities hovered over each character allowing me to check their health and provide cover if they were not in good health, while objectives were highlighted and I could see all of my own stats above my own head, as well as a mini map. I guess it’s a bit repetitious, but the players’ stats were also in the bottom right, as well. So, overall, there doesn’t seem much in terms of radical overhaul to the UI.
After securing the building and getting the loot we needed, we moved out as a group, hurdling through open windows, just like you’d have done in the original game. Outside the world, the captial is in ruin. Similar to New York, the wreckage of the once free world is in devastation. Police cars thrashed, thrown off to the side, crumbled infrastructure lying about and open fields like you see in those post-apocalyptic movies. This isn’t New York, and this isn’t winter. You’re in a more relatable environment, full of open sky, able to see the damage of the war far off rather than just what’s across the street in The Division.
We finally got close to Washington DC’s Capital Building, but before we can get there, waves of enemies appear in the field just south of the building, centered around another smaller structure and a downed airplane. The battlefield spae is vast with lots of open space. With tons of free open space, finding cover becomes a priority. Enemies are the same as they were before, standard. But this time they have some form of rifles that shoot out globs of foam that can freeze our team in place. I got frozen in place just once; you can shoot, but moving your legs is impossible for a short amount of time.
After taking some good cover behind cargo boxes and trucks, we eliminated the enemy force, only to be introduced to a boss. This soldier is big, well armed, but with plenty of weak points for the four of us to exploit. Regular enemies come out to give the boss backup as run helter skelter to save ourselves from incoming fire. This is a game where communication is key. As I’m also getting fired upon, I told my teammate to crawl towards cover. You still have quite a while of downtime before you actually die, but you can give up instantly if you’re playing with people who don’t care to heal you. As soon as I had a free second, I rushed over to my teammates location and healed him right up. At that point all four of us were on the same page as we fired on the boss’s weak points to take him down for victory.
Overall, The Division 2 is very similar to the original in most respects. Besides the more open setting, faster loudouts, and a more enhanced story, it was really hard for me to see much difference between the two. However, The Division 2 promises to have much more content including raids and free post launch content. Regardless, we will see how the final game shapes up since it has several months to go before it launches next year.