Is there such a thing as too much content?
Evidently not when it comes to Ubisoft titles in recent years. This latest cover based shooter under the Tom Clancy belt has grown on us and it has managed to do so with it’s beautiful world and addictive loot system.
You spend most of your time either feeding bullets to anything that moves or managing how and what you use to feed said bullets. Shooting and inventory management is at the core of this game and everything else is just in your way.
Something something… shoot this now
Don’t be surprised if you can’t find a compelling story and even if you do, most of its just keywords repeating over and again. You can literally pick out any of the words from this - secure, infiltrate, agent, system-this, system-that, things going online and offline, supplies, shade node/tech and construct a sentence to get directives for your next mission.
Thankfully the setting tells a better story than its lazy cutscenes. The post-pandemic Washington DC just looks too darn good. We don’t think we’ve seen a Ubisoft game that has such a meticulously detailed environment. Each nook and cranny feels like it's been affected by the Green Poison outbreak. The concrete jungle is sprawling with enemies to shoot, interesting loot to collect and secret passages to explore. Throughout the 60+ hour gameplay, you’re tasked with bringing peace and prosperity back to the state of Washington DC and eliminating the three types of factions called Hyenas, Outcasts and True Sons.
Each of them has a slight variation, for instance, the enemies that rush you when you’re facing Hyenas carry a sword and breathe-in Green Poison to go in a frenzy that lets them soak up more bullets. Meanwhile, the Outcasts have suicide bombers that’ll blow up in your face. Life’s never comfortable in Washington DC of Division 2 and it’s seriously very, very impressive.
The map is divided based on levels so you really can’t venture out in any direction from the start because of the higher level enemies that can take you out in a sneeze. Although that’s not really a big deal because each section of the map is quite big and labyrinth-y and with plenty of side quests and baddies to shoot before you move on to the next section.
Each section of the map also has human encampment that is begging for an upgrade. The more baddies you clear out and help the civilians in the vicinity, the faster the objectives of the encampment clear up. Much of it is donating items to projects, clearing out control points, finding Shade Tech Cache, clearing side missions and helping the people with resources. This obviously reimburses your time and effort with decent XP, cash and with a chance to luck upon a better gear around the corner which is always a compelling drive to venture out and explore.
Guns, gear and getup
The game diverts much of its attention to the RPG elements. Looter shooters tend to have plenty of guns and an amazing variety of loot to make sure your character is always up for the challenge. This is where Division 2 shines the best. It has an unbelievable depth of variation in its guns and gears elaborated by its multi-layered customisation based perks and stats.
Let me break it down: There are many different types of guns, every gun has a level (mostly based on the level you get it). Each gun also has tiers marked by colour scheme too. On top of that, every gun has some special ‘Talent’ and can be fitted with mods too. But wait, there’s more! Every gun has a Damage, RPM, and Magazine size to consider along with accuracy, stability, reload time, critical strike range and bullet drop off. Phew! It’s a haven for looter-shooter monkeys and that’s just guns.
You have backpack, mask, body armour, gloves, holster and kneepads to consider and mix and match. Some of them have mod upgrades to attach as well. If you think that’s too much inventory management for a game, wait till you consider the gadgets that can be assigned to your beck and call.
Need a machine gun turret? No worries, fling one between a heated battlefield for some crowd control. Sneaky cover shooters like yourself? Seeker mine does exactly as advertised. What if you need a hovering companion that does the shooting? Forget multiplayer, there’s a drone for that. For supporting and defensive measures, there are different types of shields and health/shield bombs to aid companions. The list goes on… and you can fit these with mods too. We’ve never enjoyed inventory management this much.
Oh and later on in the game, you can even unlock a recalibration station to transfer stats from one gear/gun to another of the same category.
I want to visit Washington DC
Ubisoft’s version of post-pandemic Washington DC is a sight to behold. It’s defaced buildings and desolate corners are just brimming with detail. The game doesn’t need to show elaborate cutscenes to fill in story gaps of what is going on, it does so, with its brilliant setting and even better recreation of that world.
Taking full advantage of the concrete jungle, the game mostly pushes you into buildings and memorable places like the Lincoln Memorial that fully take advantage of its cover-shooter style. Vaulting over and covering behind many everyday things was interesting too because of how detailed each floor and room looked. This also made offices, labs, hotels, washrooms and just about any place in the game a really intriguing place to be in. The cover-shooting is just perfect. It’s super simple to move from cover to cover and with time your focus is naturally occupied with shooting rather than crouching around for cover.
Some stages also required to shoot electric boxes and water pipes to get through a blocked path but that didn’t come as frequently as it should.
Once you leave the mission area and venture into the open, Division 2 doesn’t lose its visual fidelity. Gushing downpour and vicious thundering refreshes your mind with a different mood. Visibility takes a hit once it starts to rain or at times when the city is blanketed in a thick fog. Stellar lighting cutting through trees and building gaps elevate the mood which gives you a sense of time in the game world too. Morning light felt slightly different from afternoon’s and at night the game’s dark dingy areas irked me enough to wish for a torchlight (which is not there, weird). Sadly the character models in the cutscenes kill the vibe of this truly gorgeous world. The elbow area and facial expression of some characters (Odessa) in the cutscenes reminded us of Woody from Toy Story minus the grin.
We’d recommend playing the game on 4K. We got around 60FPS at max settings on the RTX 2080Ti on our test bench. If you’re stuck to a FullHD screen then it dishes out around 120FPS on the highest settings, so throw in a high refresh rate monitor for some butter smooth snipping. It’s not cheating, we swear.
Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X; Liquid cooled by Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
Motherboard: Asus PRIME X399-A
RAM: 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB
CPU Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB
Keyboard: Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
Power Supply: Corsair AX850
Fun with everyone
The best way to play Division 2 is with friends. We had fun solo-gunning it too but we’d recommend a multiplayer experience. Much of rave about the details and customizations can quickly lose their appeal if you invest a chunk of your time gaming solo due to its repetitive nature.
There are three dark zones now to explore that are filled with rare items. It’s a fun twist to get your hands dirty by stealing or protecting your loot from others at the drop off zone. Although the fun can quickly be replaced with irritation because of the unfair difficulty. I once had a squad of four destroy me before I could even react.
Other multiplayer modes include a quick 4v4 game and obviously, you can play the whole game with friends. The game just adjusts the difficulty accordingly, sending more enemies to shoot as the number of your squad members increase. Ubisoft is also adding 8 player squad for the first time in the upcoming free DLC content.
Tom Clancy's The Division 2 verdict
If you and a group of friends are looking for some fun shooting adventure together then Division 2 is worth every buck. It’s a cover based shooter with more than enough guns and content to spend 60+ hours into. Judging from Ubisoft’s roadmap for Division 2, they promised free and new episodic content from time to time just like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. However, if you’re looking for story-driven content and don’t think nit-picking at every gear and stat is something that excites you, Division 2 will not top your list. Admittedly, we did enjoy every bit of Division 2 while playing solo as well.
The guns go off with a nice crack and a bang meanwhile the enemies are relentless. Although, we wished the enemy boss battle had some flavour. They’re just regular enemies with a lot of armour.
That beautiful world and those mind-bending customizing layers in its inventory have us hooked and it will be the same for you too.