The Division 2 Impressions?


#1

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?


#2

i did it guys

i am nick cage


#3

There is literally a mission to collect the declaration? Lol, I dunno what I expected from the division but that feels incredibly on brand


#4

This is the only game in the history of my current machine (3+ years?) that has hard locked up my entire OS twice. I’ve never had to cold reboot this machine before so I’m going to pass till more patches get released.


#5

I think it looks substantially worse than The Division now that they’ve lost the Christmas aesthetic. It looks really garish now with all the green smoke and multicoloured debris.

I think the game feels really good and like all Ubisoft games these days, it’ll be a complete package in about a year, but it’s not lighting my fire at all. The “apolitical” stance this game has isn’t even particularly fun to dissect and debunk while playing, because it does the Far Cry 5 thing of deliberately mixing left and right wing imagery and rhetoric and racial/class coding within the various factions and then slapping a label on each of them that says “anarchist bad” or “racist bad”. It seems like they go out of their way to prevent any faction from being analogous to a real world political phenomenon and it’s simultaneously boring and infuriating.


#6

I mean say what you will about the game, winter city apocalypse was a genuinely great setting. And why this post crisis dc I think looks neat in some aspects, it def doesn’t have the oppressive atomoshpere if the first


#7

Played for about an hour on PC, my only prior experience with the Division was about a 30 minute session with the beta for the original game.

Yeah it’s really hard to extricate the actually-really-good-gameplay from the awful things this game is saying from the very first moment. Literally the opening cutscene for this beta has the gall to ask, “Well we survived not having coffee or free wi-fi, but when the police weren’t there to protect you and shit started going bad, did you have a gun? Did your neighbor?”, follows that up with a message of rebuilding and immediately it’s obvious where this game lands politically. Oh, and then the game cuts to in-engine, the camera lingers for a moment on an American flag beneath a pile of trash before moving up towards your characters who loads their pistol. Subtle.

Anyway.

The game feels great on a M+K, I still think the way you can move between cover is really intuitive and encourages you to move around. There are a bunch of smart UI details such as when aiming a grenade, not only do you get the landing radius, but the game will point to any enemies that will get hit more directly. The world is visually a little bland and although quite pretty, does feel lacking somehow compared to the first game – but I do really like how intricate and natural it feels to explore the environment, even if I really don’t care about any of the things happening in it.


#8

There are some Christmas decorations still up, not on the scale of NYC though.


#9

My main problem is that I have been in DC in the Summer and never want to experience such a miserable environment again. Even in a virtual space.


#10

I don’t like the setting anywhere near as much as 1 either, other than that it just looks and plays like The Division. On one hand it feels very samey, on the other hand I really liked The Division so why fix what ain’t broke.


#11

I did enjoy the combat quite a bit although the AI seemed to know exactly when your health was low and push in all at once magically when I had no armor multiple times. Would have like to play around with a few more weapon mods for shotguns but I get you can only do so much for an open beta. Was really impressed with it on the gameplay side.

The politics, on the other hand, were incredibly bad and felt even worse than the first game. Something about the opening cinematic calling Hyenas “parasites” was really unsettling and just the general condition of the game using PoC in major interactions on both sides of the conflict to say “see, it’s not racist” broke me out of it. It has that Clancy paranoia that has plagued most of his work and not for the better.

I know it was just an open beta and maybe it’s because I never beat the first game but there’s no real indication as to why the city is evacuated or why they’re working so hard to defend the White House. No sense of scale or threat is really present but I liked the gameplay enough to clear most of the missions.

As mentioned before, the quest to get the Declaration of Independence had me laughing hysterically and reminded me of the glut of right-wing action movies we’ve seen coming out these past few years.

Also, it is the only game so far on my PS4 Pro that locked up and needed to restart the game. Only happened twice but I did notice my PS4’s fans sounded like they were working a lot harder and louder than most else I’ve been playing.


#12

I pretty much agree with what everyone is saying. There’s been some fine-tuning from the first game, and that’s great. So far it seems to play better than the first game, even if just marginally. Some stuff is confusing, like missions to collect and supply a settlement with 50 water or something. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how much water I’ve collected so far without going to the turn-in point and seeing if I have enough. But other parts of the UI/interface are much better (being able to compare/“loot as junk” items without having to go through menus is nice.)

But the game loses a LOT from not being the winter setting right after the Dollar Flu attack. It seemed a bit more plausible to have the need for these special agents to go into New York RIGHT after it’s turned into a war zone. It’s covered in snow, everything’s a mess, people are still sick, bridges and tunnels and subways are blocked off, etc. But the sequel in DC is EIGHT MONTHS LATER (according to the text preceding the sample “endgame” mission) and things are just as much of a mess, but minus the snow! It doesn’t seem to make much sense. Wouldn’t people have gotten the cars off the roads? (EDIT: played a bit more and SOME streets do have cars stacked/moved to the side, but not nearly as clear as I’d expect after 8 months.) Or moved the dead bodies? In the first game, I got the impression that your job was essentially clearing out “the bad guys” so that the city could get up and running again. As in, it’s hard to rebuild infrastructure when both the weather is oppressive and there are gangs, psychos, and rogue military shooting at you.

Wouldn’t there have been Division agents activated in DC along the same timeline as New York? If this is what DC is like NOW, what is Manhattan like in the fiction at this point?

I get that changing the season makes things different from the first game, but the distance (time-wise) from the disaster, and the general pleasantness of the weather (though I did experience a pretty heavy rainstorm which was cool) makes the narrative of this game feel less… urgent? And while exploring is still fun, and there’s more to do (more emergent gameplay types of events) than the first game, it just doesn’t quite have the same sense of discovery.

Still, as someone who liked the first game, there’s a lot in here that scratches the same itch. After the beta and demo for the first game I picked it up during a sale weekend or something, but still well before all the extra modes/DLC came out. I think for this one I might wait awhile. There’s still some stuff I haven’t done in the first game.


#13

Only hopped into the beta for an hour or so, and only recently started playing Div 1 (both on PS4), but one of the things that is really good about Div 1 IMO is that the setting they picked makes for an easy-to-make video game. NY in winter has no greenery or grass to worry about, and gridded streets are what they are. I’m sure its a bit different on PC if you have all the quality settings cranked up to 11, but on console it honestly looks worse to me than Div 1. It also seems more grindy in terms of unlocks/perks now and too game-y

Edit:

Oh god, as a non-american that bit was hilarious.

No. Also no. So its not a problem TYVM


#14

Dark Forces are moving to take control of our nation.”

“We are The People

HEY YIKES.

I sure do love dog whistles in my big blockbuster action games!


#15

It’s a really weird dogwhistle too. It’s appealing the Clancy paranoia we see more from Fox hosts (and if we’re honest, MSNBC) than we do from the Trump base. It’s a very Bush-era ultracop fantasy.


#16

I played the first one a bit when it came out, game was fine. Played about an hour of this before saying “yeah it’s the division and it still seems fine” and going back to play Apex Legends. I think that demo was enough for me.

I wasn’t shooting prisoners during that hour so that seemed like an improvement.


#17

Can we talk about how The Division (a sleeper agent organization) completely IGNORES the Rules of Engagement, and how this very fact proves that the U.S. is under a dictator’s rule now in the fiction? Doesn’t the entire conceit of this game make it clear that you are playing the bad guys? Like a less self-aware Starship Troopers? You have tacit authorization to kill American civilians you deem a threat in plain-clothes with barely any markers, and also these agents are to remain hidden amongst their friends and loved ones until ‘activated.’

The rules of engagement thing really bothers me… There’s absolutely NO mechanic to wait until you are fired upon, or determining friend v. foe.

I may be expecting A LOT from a jingoistic shooter, but the Clancy name, as problematic as it is, carries weight in it’s specificity. Tom Clancy fiction isn’t supposed to be 13 Hours and beer chugging at your local range and screaming TRUMPTRUMPTRUMP, it’s supposed to be your grandad obsessing on mechanical details of a Typhoon-class soviet submarine, and then voting for Jeb Bush.

You used to be rewarded for going through a Splinter Cell level without killing anyone. In Rainbow Six, there was an implication that you were sent in after all other methods of negotiation had failed. Rainbow Six is a GLOBAL task force too! It’s globalization! Something the right HATES now apparently.

I can’t decide if Clancy would be spinning in his grave or approving of these changes to both his work and the right.


#18

Clancy would 100% be a Never Trump guy while voting Red at every opportunity. He’s a H.W. Bush era Republican, so he would disagree with the route taken towards fascism while ultimately approving of the fact that the end result is fascism.


#19

And there would be all these neolib democrats being like, “LOOK LOOK, EVEN CLANCY HATES TRUMP.”


#20

If this were written by Tom Clancy:

  • Liberals would be indirectly responsible for the attacks, by underfunding the very efforts by the brave men and women of the CIA, that could have prevented all this.
  • One or more of the villains would be “subtly” hinted at being gay (to make it absolutely clear that they are evil).
  • The bad Democratic government would have fallen, but due to some ridiculous coincidences the succession would have put good Republicans in power and the CIA Division/you will punish the perpetrators and reestablish order and everything will be better than before. (Wow, it’s like he had written something like this before.)
  • There would be intermission missions with unrelated characters, doing apparently unrelated things on the other side of the globe (an ex FSB-agent/jihadist/Chinese communist might turn out to be a reluctant hero).
  • The emergency services probably wouldn’t have been an enemy faction (in D1) because, seriously, what were they smoking?