Tom Clancy's The Division 2

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Massive Entertainment
Release Date: March 15, 2019


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'The Division 2'

by Redmond Carolipio on July 11, 2018 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 is a shooter RPG with campaign, co-op, and PvP modes that offers more variety in missions and challenges, new progression systems with twists and surprises, and fresh innovations that offer new ways to play.

Pre-order The Division 2

We're living in an age where the words "second Civil War" can be uttered, then become a hashtag, and then serve as the engine for responses ranging from mocking to snarky to fanatical. Of course, the concept of a second civil war — or any kind of civil war, really — isn't anything new in the real world, and certainly not in the realm of fiction. As long as there are people to disagree on something, conflict will happen.

This kind of sentiment is the trigger point for The Division 2, Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft's follow-up to their outstanding first effort, which outlined the world and told the story of The Division, a clandestine, elite team of super-operatives who function as average Joes and Janes, living their regular lives until they are called upon as the last line of defense against all kinds of catastrophes.

In the first game, catastrophe hit in the form of a pandemic that decimated New York City and left you (and three others, if so inclined) to engage in a variety of missions in open-world New York and perhaps piece together what's going on. The world of The Division was one of my favorites, combining that military intrigue/spy vibe of the Clancy universe with open-world, action-RPG elements that made the game addicting. There was even something for more competitive, ambitious folks in the form of The Dark Zone.

The Division 2 takes place about seven months after the events of the first game, where Division agents tore the tarp off some of the secrets surrounding the cause of the NYC pandemic. Now, you're stepping into the boots of Division agents in Washington, D.C., which has been torn apart by an actual civil war. Instead of geopolitics dividing the city, the war is among pandemic survivors and the factions of various predators who feast off their misfortune.

Our hands-on time at E3 2018 revealed a D.C. in ruins, where a cadre of Level 30 agents and I made our way to a camp held by the True Sons, one of the game's enemy groups. They surrounded the downed metal carcass of Air Force One, and it was on us to clear them out. During our playtime, our demo seats corresponded to the particular role of our pre-built operative: revolutionist, sharpshooter and survivalist. I got tasked with sharpshooter, which meant I was privy to the variety of skills and weapons that the role entails. Among my signature weapons was a powerful long-range rifle with very limited ammo that could be accessed with holding down the Y button.

Even if you've never played The Division before, the combat will feel familiar and crisp if you've played other third-person action shooters. I was able to take cover, turn corners and return fire with ease while quickly accessing special items (like an assault drone) with a fast click of a shoulder button. What I always find interesting about these co-op shooters is how, in certain instances, there's not a whole lot of talking going on, only organic, natural team-based action and movement. Someone goes down, the closest person rolls through to revive, others rush in to cover, and so on.

A fellow sharpshooter and I perched on top of one of Air Force One's wings, outflanking the True Sons and starting the attack from the side, immediately making their setup and defensive front more malleable. We actually went through the demo twice: once with instructions from an overseer, and again by ourselves.

From the bit we saw, The Division 2 will maintain the series' tradition of visual clarity and be one of the more attractive games around. I enjoyed how NYC was visually treated from neighborhood to neighborhood, from confined safe-house spaces to wide-open raid areas, and I look forward to seeing what Massive does with D.C., which is one of my favorite cities to visit. According to Ubisoft, their representation of the city will be 1:1, and it'll include famous landmarks and real neighborhoods. We'll get to see how faithful it is and how much more there is out there when The Division 2 releases in March of 2019.

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