On 8 March 2016, the French house Ubisoft, extremely known in the videogame panorama thanks to titles like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and many others, surprised the world by publishing Tom Clancy’s The Division, an open world RPG set in a post-apocalyptic New York City of nowadays. Due to the spread of a virus derived from smallpox, the population is decimated and the roads are invaded and controlled by gangs of criminals who aim at controlling the city; police and army do not seem sufficient, and the only possibility is represented by the agents of the division, a crisis unit trained for emergencies of all kinds, to which the character played by the player belongs.
The script is not particularly original, it must be admitted, as the set is not. Ubisoft has however created a masterpiece from a graphic point of view, creating a new ad hoc graphic engine that makes realism its strong point. The intergration of single player, coop and multiplayer elements was, after some attempts, very well balanced, giving the public a perfectly enjoyable game under different forms. In short, The Divison has certainly been a milestone in the industry.
Well, now Ubisoft is preparing to write a new chapter of this story by publishing the second chapter of the saga; but will the French house succeed in replicating the great success?
During the last weekend we spent many spent some hour trying the beta in private version of the new product, and the general feeling is that the development is in some ways “late”, and Ubisoft is still far from being able to deliver a product (out in March ) on a par with the previous one.
The game is certainly very beautiful, but could not be otherwise tracing many elements of the first chapter; but it is precisely this that left many perplexed. Everything is so much similar to what has been seen in recent years: some small innovations have been introduced in terms of gameplay, but the backbone of the game is really too similar. It could seem like the umpteenth DLC of the first chapter. If this partly could work and give a sense of continuity, to date the innovations introduced seem really too thin.
The improved graphics engine (are we sure?) seems to struggle a lot to return mediocre results, and even PC with high-level configurations can not always get adequate performance. The snowy New York of the first chapter certainly offered more ideas and more possibilities than the springy Washington of TD2, but the final yield seemed decidedly more artistic and engaging in the title of 2016. It really needed to weigh everything with effects that few will be able to enjoy and that will not modify the experience in any way? Maybe not,
A definitely very negative aspect concerns the menu. In the first chapter they are articulated but sufficiently intuitive, and after a few hours of play it is possible to master them completely. In TD2 everything is more complicated and unclear, so that after you have finished experimenting you will not have anyway been able to see or use every page of the menu. In a GDR game, the menu is a fundamental element, and must be as intuitive as possible, so that it can be used quickly even in difficult situations. We are not Ubi.
Another great flaw of this new chapter is definitely the Dark Zone. The DZ is the most infected area of the city, quarantined and isolated. Here you can retrieve weapons and provisions of great value, which will however be evacuated by air extraction in order to be reclaimed before use. Loading these items onto the helicopter means exposing yourself to the fire of other players who might be interested in subtracting the booty. In the first chapter, entering the DZ meant reaching the heart of Manhattan, and making its way through anxiogenic alleyways with the terror of being trapped between groups of enemies. In the second chapter the DZ is covered by large spaces that allow easy escape from complicated situations, decreasing the tension so loved in the first TD. Why change what works perfectly?
Fundamentally unchanged, however, seems artificial intelligence (or idiocy). NPCs are close to stupidity and, as in the first chapter, they are not able to put in place effective and coordinated tactics to attack players. The only danger is represented by enemies of a level higher than that of their character, which can inflict serious damage. The common enemies instead will run undisturbed in the middle of the road in the middle of a shootout, or will be stuck in corners at the mercy of the players. This often breaks the identification (fundamental in a game like that).
The positive aspects of this beta seem few, and in any case all already seen in the first chapter. The game itself is not bad, indeed, but having to deal with a first chapter of the highest level comes out definitely defeated, for now. However, it is a beta version, and as such susceptible to numerous changes. We will certainly see a better product at day one. But, in all probability (and as it was for the first chapter) it will probably take months of updates to see a “perfect” game.
GRAPHICS: certainly good, not so good for GPU.
GAMEPLAY: safe and known, but zero news, could not you do better?
SOUNDTRACK: never interested in Ubisoft, and you do not really need it.
HISTORY: it is the trend of the moment, it works for sure, but we are waiting.
ATTENTION OF DEV TO THE COMMUNITY: never been a workhorse of the French house, confirmed.
AI: artificial intelligence?
TOTAL VOTE: the game is definitely high-end, but for this reason it must prove a lot.
Your Remaining Votes (within 24hrs) : 10 of 10