Tom Clancy’s The Division is arguably the biggest gaming release of 2016 so far. Find out if one writer thinks it’s one of the rare games that lived up to all the hype.
For the past couple of years, most games that I am hyped for before release end up falling short of my expectations. I think the most recent and significant example would be Fallout 4. Ever since Bethesda’s epic Fallout 4 E3 2015 presentation, I had been hyped to extreme levels for the game. I, and I think many others, expected it to be major game changer, and potentially the best Bethesda-developed game to date.
After I finally got my hands on Fallout 4, however, I realised it was mainly just more of the same, and while I still spent many hours with the game, it definitely did not meet my lofty expectations. Don’t get me wrong – I think Fallout 4 is easily one of the best games that released last year, and a fantastic experience overall. However, I still expected more from it. So, between Fallout 4 and a number of other high profile releases that preceded it, I have been consistently disappointed by the blockbuster AAA releases of the past few years… until Tom Clancy’s The Division.
Tom Clancy’s The Division is a game that, like Fallout 4, received a considerable amount of hype before it released. The anticipation behind the game propelled it to enjoying a beta with a record-breaking number of participants, and also helped The Division become the fastest-selling new IP to date. However, for me, the difference between The Division and games like Fallout 4 is that The Division actually lived up to the hype.
There are three major areas where The Division delivered in big ways that helped it make good on its promises to me. For one, it delivered on its Dark Zone PvP claims. For the uninitiated, the Dark Zone in The Division is a PvP area where players are free to kill one another at will. This area is especially dangerous, as it is filled, not only with other players, but high level A.I.-controlled enemies as well.
By having the best gear appear only in the Dark Zone, players have great incentive to brave its dangers. And the result is one of the most intense PvP experiences I’ve ever had, with players constantly having to worry about being betrayed by others roaming in the Dark Zone. Item extraction points in this area are especially unnerving, and feel like I’m engaged in a genuine Mexican standoff most of the time. While I can see players that are going through The Division solo becoming frustrated with the Dark Zone, those that prowl its streets in a group will likely have a great time with it.
Secondly, The Division is one of the most “convenient” online shooters that I’ve played. What I mean by this is that, even though it does have its fair share of glitches and technical problems, the game makes it quick and easy to join up with friends. The load times are surprisingly short, and getting into the game is a breezy experience. There’s no staring at floating spaceship loading screens for a few minutes at a time or sitting around twiddling one’s thumbs, because the game is constantly moving forward. Simply put, I am still surprised about how little downtime there is when playing The Division compared to the other games of its kind.
Third, The Division feels like a genuine current-gen game. In my opinion, many recent video game releases fail to take full advantage of the power of the new-gen hardware, but The Division is one of the few games that does. I think the quick load times that I mentioned previously are evidence of this, as is the game’s incredible attention to detail. Now, the graphics in The Division are not quite as good as its E3 2013 reveal trailer, but they’re still pretty impressive, and I wouldn’t be uncomfortable stating that The Division is one of the best-looking video games I’ve played on new-gen consoles.
Of course, The Division has delivered for me in virtually every other aspect as well. I think the shooting is satisfying and fun; I believe the game world to be intriguing and populated by interesting characters; I find the leveling and loot systems are rewarding; and most importantly, I know Massive Entertainment succeeded in creating an open world game that is actually fun to explore. Whether it’s looting an abandoned apartment building, battling a boss with friends, or conquering one of the many story missions, The Division is firing on all cylinders for me, and I have found very little reason to be disappointed with it from my time playing so far.
The best part is, though? The Division is still growing and it can only get better from here. The Division‘s April 12th update is adding significant content to the game, including its first raid, as well as item trading, and I think that it will go a long way in keeping max-level players interested in the game. The Division has everything it needs to remain one of the top online games for the foreseeable future, and I can’t wait to see how Massive Entertainment expands it – both in terms of free updates and paid DLC expansions. So, after many years of disappointing AAA game releases, I’m happy to finally play one that truly lived up to the hype.
Tom Clancy’s The Division is now available for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.