The Division 2 is the latest looter shooter in a long line of them. How is it? Does it set the bar for the genre or is Borderlands 2 still king? Here’s what I think after playing for more than 70 hours!
Ubisoft knows how to create some beautiful games. This is no exception. The Division 2, like the first one, is a very good looking game. Washington is filled with life, debris, run-down buildings, an excellent weather system, and it’s all backed by beautiful lighting and sound effects. The character models look good. They don’t look out of this world good like some Capcom games out there, but they’re not bad. The highlight is Washington. Ubisoft has proved once again why they’re the best developer out there in creating open worlds. They’ve re-created Washington in a similar way that they did New York in The Division 1 and Greece in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. It looks really good and I’ve heard some of my Washington friends telling how authentic the experience was for them. The storms are my favorite part of the game. It’s hard to see, my character slouches over from getting wet, and firefights are absolutely fantastic during them. The exterior of Washington isn’t the only thing that looks really good in this game. The interiors are designed just as well both above ground and underground. The lighting, just like in the first game, is absolutely fantastic. You can get blinded in well-lit areas and really dark ones too. That brings me to a question that I’ve had since the first game. Why don’t we have a flashlight? We have all this high-tech gear, but no flashlight. Come on Ubisoft! Give us a flashlight.
The Division 2 looks great and performs like a dream on my rig. I do dip below 60 at times, but it’s rare and it never impacted my playthrough of the game because the fps would immediately jump back up to the 70s. The controls are fully remappable and this game doesn’t have anywhere near as many bugs as the first game did. Massive really learned from the first game and came out swinging in this one and they should be proud of the work that they’ve done here. Photo mode has made it’s way to The Division and it’s great. Ubisoft has been adding this in all of their recent games and I hope they continue to do so. I’ve taken some really nice screenshots with this and I love that I can make The Division 2 look like a horror game with horror filter applied. I kind of want the game to always look this –
Shooting the armor off of an enemy before killing them is very satisfying. The bullet sponginess, at first, seems to be eliminated in The Division 2. You notice I wrote “at first” right? You can easily go through the main story without having to worry about someone absorbing 200 bullets from you and that’s great, but for us hardcore players that’s going to sink hundreds of hours into this game that’s not the case. Challenging difficulty can be brutal if you go in there unprepared. You need a group of four to complete these missions when they’re completely soloable in the first game. The Division 2 is more of a tactical shooter than RPG this time around. In the first game you could easily face tank shit and kill them on any difficulty. You can’t do that in this game. I had to retrain myself to not leave cover in this game because I would die almost immediately when compared to the first game. The truth is I prefer the first game’s gameplay over this one because of the RPG mechanics, but that game had 3 years of updates and this game just launched and it’s damn good right now. If you’ve played the first game you’ll feel right at home here. The gameplay here is better because the animations are better and everything works better here, but Massive did fix some shit that wasn’t broke in the first game, but I’ll get into that later on in the bad section of this review.
The Division 2 is a third person cover based shooter. That means most of your time will be spent behind various different objects shooting at people. There are no aliens or zombies for you to fight here. It’s people and I love that about this game. One of my favorite things about The Division is that it’s grounded in realism. It’s a modern-day RPG and those are rare. Completing the game is when it truly starts. After the “story” you unlock a fourth faction to go up against that use new skills and introduce new enemy varieties in the game. In addition to unlocking a new faction, you also unlock one of three specializations. You can get a crossbow, grenade launcher (finally!), or heavy sniper rifle. Every weapon is amazing and adds a lot to the game. My favorite is the crossbow, but I’m currently a sniper that can one shot just about anything.
The same glitches that were present in the first game are in this one. I’ve gotten stuck trying to run past objects in my way, on stair rails, and more. It’s frustrating when it happens in combat and I end up dying because my agent won’t unattach himself from cover or gets stuck on a stump. Things like that don’t happen very often and weren’t enough for me to place this in the good section, but it needs to be mentioned because it happened enough for it to get a little annoying.
I thought the first game had an excellent soundtrack. The Division 2 not only has a better one it also has a more varied soundtrack. During fire-fights you’ll hear some metal, but when you’re out exploring the world or crawling through an infected area the song that plays would be more somber. This is one OST that will definitely be added to my collection. I love every song that played and they all added something to the game whether it be tension or got me pumped for the next fight ahead. The sound effects, just like the first game, is top notch. The guns sound like they should and have oomph and little things like walking from the pavement over a puddle of water or shooting through the glass of a car to get a headshot all sound really good. It all has impact and oomph and adds so much to this game. I love how this game knows when to play music. Exploring is mostly a musicless affair. It only really ramps up when you’re doing a mission, exploring the Dark Zone, entering a settlement or one of the many contaminated zones around Washington. The music never got repetitive because of this and every time a song did start playing it felt special to me.
I wish more loot based games would learn from this one. Anthem’s loot is terrible, Diablo III had that whole auction controversy, and Destiny is… well… it’s Destiny. The Division 2 is very generous with the loot drops and does a great job at rewarding me for my time spent playing it… unlike Anthem that doesn’t respect my time at all. Classified sets have made their way into this game and from what I can tell they’re not as interesting as the first game’s sets, but this game just launched and The Division 1 had 3 years of patches and content. The loot here is really good and it’ll only get better from here. Take note other developers. We want good loot drops that’s worth grinding for!
The Dark Zone is absolutely fantastic in the first game. It’s… not bad in this one, but not a game seller either. The Dark Zone here is more like the friend zone than anything. Everyone mostly just focuses on completing the objectives that pop up on the map and since the loot you pick up isn’t contaminated like it was in the first game that eliminates the need to go rogue so you can try and steal other people’s loot. The Dark Zone is more casual friendly now and I’m hoping Massive tweaks this a little or just have a PvE Dark Zone for players that prefer that kind of thing.
The Division 2’s end game is better than the first game, Destiny, Destiny 2, Diablo III, and even the first Borderlands game. It really is, but I’m judging this game with all of those games end games right now and even then it still surpasses some of them. The strongholds are fun to do and are designed incredibly well, but doing the same strongholds, random events, bounties, and story missions can only keep me occupied for so long. The Divison 1 has the Underground and I fell in love with doing random sorties under New York City and that was my go-to place to grind for better gear. I really hope The Division 2 eventually gets something like that, but as it stands now the end game is good, but not great and it’s totally unbalanced too. World tier 5 must be played in a group. Hunting bounties for money and gear is fun, but almost undoable solo. This game pretty much forces group play on you and 80% of the time that I play is solo. In the first game, this wasn’t an issue. You can do everything except the end game sorties by yourself and that’s the way this game should be, but it’s not.
One of the biggest new features in The Division 2 is settlements. They’re basically different towns that you can visit for supplies, side quests, and permanent upgrade bonuses to the White House. I enjoyed upgrading the settlements, but they’re honestly forgetful since the story isn’t interesting at all. I had no reason to care for anyone in any of the settlements and while it was neat watching them grow from barely functional to a full-fledged village because of my actions I can count on one hand how many times I’ve entered each one since I fully upgraded them.
I’m one of those people that really enjoyed The Divison’s 1’s story. The lore, characters, and factions are absolutely fantastic in this game and it’s sadly missing here. I mean… the lore is still really good and I love the easter eggs that are hidden around the game, but Massive didn’t even attempt to tell a decent story here. At least they tried in the first game and, like I already stated, I enjoyed it. I just didn’t give a shit in this game. The voice acting is worse, the story is non-existent, and the beginning of this game is terrible. I understand that this game is all about the gameplay and the grind for better loot, but a decent story goes a long way and is the reason why I created multiple characters in the first game. I won’t be doing that in this one.
Do you want to know what sucks about not having this sequel expand on New York? The clothing. I’m in the end game and my character looks like shit. I mean… look at him –
The clothing in this game is terrible. This is how my main in The Division 1 looks –
The masks in The Division 2 is a big disappointment when compared to the first game. They’re basically just reskinned versions of one another with a different design on the front of them. All of the mask in the first game was actually unique and made me feel like the grinding was worth it when I unlocked one of them. I didn’t get that feeling of accomplishment because the mask in this game are just basic reskins of one another and that’s an incredibly lazy design choice.
They Fixed What Wasn’t Broken:
Certain skills in The Divison 1 worked better than they do here. The shield is superior in the first game. It’s utterly useless in this one and no one uses it because it’s a good way to get killed. It only lasts about 2.5 seconds if you’re lucky. If you’re incredibly lucky you might actually kill someone with it equipped before someone else drops you. Another thing I don’t like as much as the original game is the Dark Zone. I felt more tense and more pressure in the first game because of the way everything worked. In this new Dark Zone, it just feels like a giant friend zone. No one bothers to go rogue because it’s not worth it. That being said I do still love my Dark Zone, but it was done better in the first game.
I Don’t Feel Powerful In This Game Like I Did In The First One:
I can solo just about everything in the first game. I can’t do that here. Hard mode is hard for me to solo in this game because everything can kill me in a few shots. It doesn’t matter how I change my build up or how strong I think my weapons are I still struggle with basic fights when compared to the first game. This game encourages group play more than the first one did because you do die easier in this one while the enemies, on the other hand, can take up to 500 bullets to kill on challenging mode in a full squad. Running around the open world and killing yellow bar enemies isn’t a problem. They drop like flies, but as soon as I enter a mission or hard bounty that’s when it’s pretty much required to get help from people that I don’t want to play with. I like playing this game with people that I know in real life, but we rarely play at the same times so this game should be balanced enough to be able to run challenging missions solo like the first game was.
My gun has been invisible, enemies teleport all over the place, they die standing up, and I’ve gotten stuck on multiple objects in and out of combat. This game is buggy, but it’s not broken like some other AAA shooters out there. It’s playable, but don’t expect a smooth experience. I’ve seen a guy get stuck after we beat the boss of the latest stronghold and he didn’t get the loot drop before we were all transported to world tier 5. Saying he was angry would be an understatement. The Division 1 was buggy as well and it baffles me that some of the exact same bugs that were in that game are present in this one too.
The Division 2 is a great game. This sequel improved a lot, but took a few steps backward and changed some things that didn't need changing in my opinion. It offers us a strong end game, is filled with PvE (and PVP) content, and is one of the strongest looter games at launch in history. The RPG mechanics are still there and this game is in better shape than the first game was at launch, but as a whole, I still think the first game is the better game in both setting and has much more content and is a complete game. That doesn't mean that this game won't get better though. The future is very bright for The Division 2 and I plan on being there for the ride. The open world here is very impressive and I love getting lost in the lore, but I think New York is a better setting. Despite what people would have you believe The Division 2 is not better than the first game right now. It still has a long way to go, but it is still a great game that's much better than the first one was at launch.