When Tom Clancy’s The Division was launched back in 2016, I played the heck out of it. It filled a void for me that Destiny had teased but failed to deliver. For me The Division had a much better story, better loot drops, and a better community. Having spent numerous hours raiding, completing missions, and avoiding almost everyone in the Dark Zone (you just can’t trust anyone), I couldn’t wait to try out the game’s sequel at the Ubisoft stand at EGX.
The first thing you will notice about this sequel is that the location has changed. Gone are the snow-covered streets of New York City. This time you are wandering around a surprisingly verdant Washington DC. It offers a nice change but still has enough similarities to let you know that you are in familiar territory. While it may be familiar territory, it certainly isn’t safe territory. Our demo started with our squad of four trying to make our way through a seemingly deserted building that was actually home to a load of aggressive, gun-toting enemies.
Once we dealt with our foes and got a basic understanding of how we worked as a team, we moved on to an area with a crashed plane. Our waypoint made it clear that we had to enter this area, but our radio informed us to expect resistance. And resist a lot of people did. We faced numerous waves of enemies before coming across a heavy foe wandering around in what looked like a bomb disposal outfit. This attire basically meant that he was a bullet sponge. Fortunately, by this point, I had earned some ammo for my special weapon (a crossbow with explosive bolts) and with a few well-placed shots, and some additional fire from my colleagues, we soon took him down. This launched another attack from a different direction. There were more standard foes here but also some enemies who fired a sort of expanding foam that would freeze you in place making you an easy target for other enemies.
Once this wave had finished, it was the end of the demo. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed my time with Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. Despite playing with weapons that were not my normal sort of loadout (I was a Survivalist equipped with a marksman rifle and a shotgun), I still managed to bring the pain and got the hang of how best to use my weaponry. The game looks better than ever. The change to more green surroundings adds a much more colourful game palette but also requires a little more horsepower in the game engine as blades of grass move and react. This was all handled fine. In fact, even with several enemies on screen and explosions going off left, right, and centre, I never experienced any frame-rate issues.
Of course, the real question about Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is going to be how the story is developed and how it holds up to numerous playthroughs. Hopefully, the team at Massive Entertainment will have taken on board some of the criticisms of the first game and will be able to make an even better game this time around. We’ll have to wait until 15th March 2019 to find out for sure.