Kris Wall reports from EGX 2015…
By far and away the game with the most impressive wait time of the whole event was Tom Clancy’s The Division with Ubisoft reps speaking of queues up to 5 hours long within mere minutes of the doors to the event opening. Thankfully we managed to avoid the herculean wait to get hands on with one of 2016’s most anticipated games. The Division takes place in New York City after a devastating viral outbreak ravages the country and brings about the collapse of the U.S Government. You play a member of the Strategic Homeland Division (The Division for short) who are trained to operate outside of government command and it’s up to you to find out the source of this outbreak.
Upon starting the game, I was part of a 3 person team and thrown into some training scenarios against some A.I. opponents. The game looks and sounds great but I didn’t feel the controls were as intuitive as I wanted them to be, nor did getting into and out of cover feel as smooth as it is in games like Splinter Cell Conviction or Gears of War. I found myself fumbling on how to use secondary weapons and items frequently and my H.U.D was a confusing cluster of information. Though this is just an immediate observation as I was obviously thrown in at the deep end without any time to really dig into any of its systems.
The Division is an online open world game where your squad will encounter battles against A.I. enemies as well as other squads roaming NYC and they can be either friend or foe and you yourself can choose to be a rogue agent should the mood strike. Firefights were a chaotic affair and it was good fun to co-ordinate a strike with your team mates to take out the opposition. The Division definitely doesn’t feel like a game for lone wolves, communication and teamwork was definitely key to success during our play through and learning to explore, defend and attack together will definitely be the difference between the squads that live together and those that die apart.
There’s an action RPG side to The Division too where progression, kills and revives are rewarded with XP where you’ll level up and unlock better equipment. You can customize your loadouts before heading off into a mission too, changing up your primary and secondary weapons along with items and perks such as a pulse which highlights all enemies in the immediate vicinity and the ability to squad heal.
It was tough to get a good feel for The Division in such a short amount of time. It definitely looks and feels epic but I struggled with the controls and aiming didn’t feel as tight as it could have been but my interest since playing it has gone from passive to serious intrigue, working and fighting alongside my team mates reminded me of one of my favourite games called Freedom Fighters which was a hugely underrated gem by Hitman developers, IO Interactive back in 2003 and just based on that feeling alone I’m more than looking forward to March where I’ll be able to dig deeper into its mechanics and explore more of NYC.
The Division is set for release for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC on March 8th, 2016