Hands-On: The Division

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I am kind of sad because the list of games I got to play at E3 and have to write about is quickly dying out. I still have two interviews coming but this will be my last Hands-On article, and it’s on a game that was probably my least enjoyable at E3, that is Tom Clancy’s: The Division.

A lot has been said about The Division, including concern over the delays and whether the game will ever actually release. Those concerns were allayed somewhat with the announcement of the upcoming beta and a ‘final’ release date.

I was dragged in to play The Division by David (instead of Assassin’s Creed) and my impressions were quite mixed. It wasn’t at all what I thought it would be, which is probably a good and a bad thing. I was expecting it to be a Multiplayer action/shooter game in a similar way to that of Rainbow Six, but it isn’t quite that.

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The game kicked off with 3 of us per team with instructions to collect some packages and have them extracted. There are a bunch of AI enemies on the way, which you will need to take out, but it’s not your normal shooter where you shoot them two or three times and they die. Instead you shoot them (what felt like) a hundred times while with points being removed – can you say Hit Points? It didn’t quite feel right to me and killing enemies felt a bit like a chore, I am not sure why, but perhaps because it wasn’t a fantasy setting like Borderlands?

Killing those enemies was easy enough though and when you get to the major extraction point things start to heat up. Here you have the other player teams all trying to extract packages at one point. Our instructor told us not to shoot them, they aren’t an enemy, but if they shoot at you first then you can shoot them without being penalized. Obviously on-screen you don’t realize this, or who is who and you end up getting shot at and killed before you know it.

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This then resulted in all the player controlled teams shooting each other rather than the AI enemies and rather than focusing on extracting. It felt like a bit of a mess, though I am sure with a bit of practice and a tutorial it will come together better. Once you do extract the contents there is a sense of achievement because doing so was not easy, but it didn’t excite me that much.

The actual gameplay is good though. The movement of the characters, the team aspect and the different classes all look great and using tactics to get things done works really well. It is definitely a game that needs lots of communication and understanding, which is maybe why the short play session wasn’t exactly ideal to get a good taste of it.

It looks and sounds excellent and definitely has something different about it compared to other games, but I was just not that sold on it. Perhaps it just isn’t my kind of game, or maybe a lot more time is needed with it to really ‘get’ it. Either way, I am still interested in how it progresses towards launch and what else it will offer, but for now it’s not quite on my ‘must have’ list.

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