Division 2 Is Still Worth Your Time

Cleaning up the streets one bad guy at a time. 

Nicely done, Sheriff.

I grew up with video games.  I started with the obligatory Atari 2600, eventually worked my way up to an 8-bit Nintendo, then a Super Nintendo, and did a brief stint with PC gaming.  Then this thing called life happened and I fell out of gaming for about 15 years.  As one tends to do I eventually picked up it back up when my kids got older.  Other than Fallout and the Batman Arkham series no game really seemed to scratch that itch.  But then I was introduced to The Division and things changed quite a lot.

I don’t think you can talk about Division 2 without taking a few seconds talking about The Division.  The Division (2016) places you in the shoes of a Strategic Homeland Division (SHD) Agent.  Agents are men and women chosen to serve as a kind of sleeper agent and are called into service during a time of national crisis.  What occurs is a genetically engineered smallpox variant called Green Poison is released into the general populace during Black Friday in 2015 via an unknown origin.  As the virus spreads and the death tolls rise exponentially, martial law is declared across the country, and you are activated as part of a second wave of Agents to assist first responders and soldiers that comprise the Joint Task Force (JTF) stationed in New York City.  The JTF is responsible for enforcing law, aiding the remainder of New York’s civilian populace, and to track down the origins and spread of the virus.  As you move around the city you encounter various factions trying to vie for control, such as escaped convicts from Rikers Island and a private military contractor force hired to supplement the JTF called the Last Man Battalion (LMB).

For more background look up the 2001 exercise Operation Dark Winter.

Division 2 (2019) takes place approximately 7 months later and opens in a recovering settlement on the coast of Maryland that comes under attack from unknown combatants.  After their defeat (spoiler alert: it’s the tutorial) and the arrival of another mysterious enemy, you realize the main SHD node that controls Agent coordination and communication has gone down.  You’re shown a set of coordinates on your watch which sends you to Washington D.C.  Your mission is simple: head to D.C. and restore the node.  The game begins with you standing just south of a White House under attack by one of the factions plaguing D.C..  After dealing with the threat and a couple of short cut scenes, you rearm and equip to take on your first mission.  Your objectives are two-fold: first, restore the main SHD node and reestablish communications across the country.  Second, liberate D.C. from factional control.

I can still say that after nearly 900 hours of gameplay I’m still in love with this game.  My oldest son picked up the first game a few years back and, being the gaming butterfly he is, quickly tired of it.  At first, I didn’t want to start it because of having to play it online.  I’m into solo campaigns and didn’t want to interact with anyone.  But to my surprise online play meant that you only needed an internet connection to run it (yes, I’m apparently older than I thought).  So after spending some time tooling around NYC mopping up Cleaners and Rikers, and dismantling the Last Man Battalion, I decided to take the plunge into Division 2.

The map is incredible and sits at a 1:1 scale. Copyright image from Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Ubisoft.

I was immediately hooked.  Full disclosure: I lived in Virginia for four years and met my wife when she lived in NOVA, so I’m a bit partial.  The main map is centered around the White House with a couple blocks to the north of it and the Washington Monument/Mall as one of the furthest southern points.  For the east/west axis the map runs from the Capital Building to Roosevelt Island.  Aside from some of the mission locations being called something different (Jefferson Plaza is really L’Enfant Metro Station/Constitution Center), the map is accurate and scaled correctly.  I’ve caught myself more than once standing at a spot and recalling great memories.

Experiencing a brief respite after retaking the Ivy Tunnel control point near Foggy Bottom.

One of the best parts that I continue to find are the environments themselves.  Dynamic lighting, a full suite of weather conditions, and areas feeling completely open and vulnerable to claustrophobic and vulnerable are all there.  All the small flourishes the designers added, from the disastrous survival appearance of everything to the dialogue barks found when trailing an enemy patrol come together to add a wonderfully immersive feeling.  It always makes me smile to see a trash panda notice you and quickly scurry under a car to hide.

As far as gameplay is concerned, this is your typical third person cover-to-cover shooter.  You always need to keep your head on a swivel and remember to shoot and scoot.  Although there are several enemy types, each type has their own set of strengths and weaknesses, learning how they both interact with one another and react to you helps with prioritizing targets.  Few things will down an Agent faster than getting caught in the open and absorbing a full magazine, so continual movement and making the best use of cover is a key to survival.

See those guys hijacking that speaker system?  I don’t want to see them anymore.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t played the first game in a good while, but one of the immediate differences that I saw was that all gameplay styles were supported with weapons, gear, and gadgets.  One of my chief complaints in Division is that I could never run shotguns effectively, even when I built a tank.  Not the case here.  Division 2 isn’t this or that, but rather this and that.  I enjoy the fact that I can run a tank with a full body shield armed with only a pistol, or a super high critical DPS build with a healing drone and a flame turret, and everything in between.  Will these builds be effective?  Maybe.  Will they be potentially hilarious and fun?  Absolutely.

I could on and on about Agent builds, the Warlords of New York DLC, Rogue Agents, Specializations, and even the dreaded Dark Zone (spoopy name for PvP), but that can all be saved for another time.  For now, grab your kit, select your gadgets, and get out there, Agent.  The nation’s capital isn’t going to save itself.

Cover Image: Copyright Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Ubisoft.

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]


A New England transplant that originated from parts westward, Ryan is a bit of a nerd that knows a little bit about a lot of things, all while claiming to know nothing about anything.  Seemingly part Khajit a logistician by trade, he’s the kind of guy that can get you virtually anything if there’s coin to be had a problem to solve.  Ryan began to learn the scrounging arts while serving time in parts east as a Loggie and has been perfecting them steadily over several decades.  He has a problem with continually purchasing models, paints, and terrain that he doesn’t really need but his wife doesn’t seem to mind.

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