So, the Open Beta for the Division 2 dropped yesterday, and I’m curious what everyone’s opinions are of it.
So, pros for me:
It feels REALLY good. All the guns, special abilities, movement and so on are real snappy and tight. I feel like the cover-to-cover hold-down mechanic just fits so well. You feel tactical with every attempt, even if you’re rushing into complete danger. The music is also ON POINT. I don’t know why they decided to take cues from Mick Gordon, but I was getting legitimate Doom OST feels by some of the tracks.
It also looks phenomenal. Ubisoft continues to really slather the environment in their incredible world design and atmosphere. There are so many little animals running around, trash to run through, car doors to close, and world building that is just fantastic all around.
I’ll also say, I really like the ‘tutorial.’ The first mission is retaking the White House, which services as your Base of Operations for weapon crafting, armor crafting, missions, etc. It’s fast, it’s clean, and it doesn’t waste your time.
And now the cons… And there are PLENTY:
So, the main critique of this game seems to be ‘we aren’t political!’ being hypocritical considering the Clancy name and the overall situation of the plot. You, again, take control of a Sleep Agent who gets activated and has to murder the ‘bad Americans’ while helping the ‘good Americans.’ The only real difference is being whether they have a red or green label above their heads. This is apparently determined by an AI system that controls a lot of the Division’s systems.
And if you thought Far Cry 5 was saying ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about modern issues, then man… Wait till you play the Division 2.
There are two gangs I’ve encountered so far. One is called the Hyenas, and they seem to be ‘street thugs’ who have elevated to a faction. They wear wife-beaters, hold their guns sideways, and rush at you with baton-wielding crazies. Not only is this the LAZIEST and most offensive ‘gang’ in the game, (The ‘Hyenas?’ Really?) They’re also the most prevalent. The majority of the time you’re gunning them down as the execute people, or broadcast ‘propaganda’ at radio stations. I shit you not, they way you defeat these propaganda stations is replacing their propaganda with yours. And their propaganda has a very ‘revolutionary’ tone to it, speaking on ‘looking out for yourself!’ The rest of the audio logs you find of the Hyenas is very one note. Their either talking about the most evil shit they’ve done, or how they wanna kill Division agents. Boring, offensive, terrible…
The second gang is I think called the True Sons, and they seem more interesting. I think they’re supposed to be a right wing paramilitary group, seeing as how they’re all kitted up and say stuff like, “We don’t want your kind around here!” Thing is, I’m pretty sure ALL of the gangs are diverse when it comes it POC and gender. I’ve killed more female Hyenas then I have men. So, it doesn’t gel with this idea that you’re fighting a paramilitary right wing group who spouts racial-purity shit when it’s a black dude running at you.
They’ve also introduced a whole ‘settlement’ system into the game. There’s a number of towns in DC that are held by good Americans who have tasks and other shit for you to do. The first story mission I’ve run into with this settlement had me rescuing a little girl from the Hyenas, but this group never questions your arrival or anything. They just say, “Hey, help me.” It just feels weird that these settlements IMMEDIATELY give you blind trust, while there are so many groups out there vying for control of D.C. They want the player to just BE OK with the idea of this sleeper agent group running around and retaking the U.S.
I also kind of hate the idea of ‘rebuilding America’ the way the central conceit seems to be. Most Americans in the game should be well aware that America is dead by the time this game begins, so you’re basically working for a fallen Empire trying to reclaim its territory. So, why should these settlements be interested in joining with you? I think the game should embrace the idea of building ‘a new America.’ Give me the opportunity to set new laws, new beliefs. It doesn’t gel with their jingoistic Clancy approach, but I want more say in how this new government comes together. It would make a hell of a lot more sense with the Dark Zones being a thing. In the main context, agents can just ‘go rogue’ and that has no repercussions on how these settlements see you? If you could shape America as a fascist state, a democratic state, hell even a cult state, at least the Dark Zone would allow you to place the rogue agents in that context.
Instead, you’re basically storming areas, ignoring the rules of engagement to gun down anyone with ‘red’ over their heads. In one mission, the Hyenas try to negotiate with the Division by taking an agent hostage and trying to work out a deal. I got excited, because I wanted to solve a problem without my guns. Instead, my CO said, "WASTE THAT MOTHER FUCKER’ and the hostage was executed anyway… I just feel BAD working for these people. I’m a foot soldier in a dead American empire wasting American citizens because the AI that governs my actions, voiced by Garrus, has designated them as enemies that can be culled for the good of the nation. It feels so Orwellian and gross, despite being a solid game. I feel frustrated with the approach. They want to commit to saying nothing about politics, and instead they say EVERYTHING.
How do you all feel about it so far?