Game Previews

In Preview: Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

With the March 15th release of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 quickly approaching, we felt now would be an appropriate time to launch our first game preview! This sequel from Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment studio will release exactly three years and one week after the original, which was the first new Tom Clancy IP since 2009’s Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X., and hopes to right some of the initial wrongs of the first game. So without further delay, let’s jump into the preview, with all hands-on discussion being based on the recent private beta.

The first logical question to ask is: “Where does this game currently stand technically compared to its predecessor?” Well the good news is that this game was built off the base of the first game’s current state. This means it has all of the updates built-in that Massive Entertainment added after feedback from the community, which include but are not limited to: world level tiers, global events, commendations, and Dark Zone elements outside of the Dark Zone (the game’s PvP area). It also means that there have not been many changes to the formula and some gamers, especially those who played a ton of Tom Clancy’s The Division, will notice almost no difference between the games outside of the story, location, and some new features. Luckily, I had only spent a couple of hours, at most, with the first game and it still felt fresh to me.

Continuing, this game stays on the same engine as its predecessor in the form of Snowdrop (Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Starlink Battle for Atlas). It is also worth mentioning that the engine does not seem to matter so much when it comes to the gunplay, as the gunplay in both of the games in this franchise feels similar to that of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, whose engine is AnvilNext 2.0 (For Honor, Assassin’s Creed Origins). This gunplay can be best described as being more realistic even with aim assist on. With aim assist turned on, aiming down the sights will get the player in the general vicinity of an enemy, but they will still have to tinker with the aim to land on an enemy most times, as opposed to most other shooters that have the aim assist rubberband to the middle of an enemy no matter what.

In regards to the story, Tom Clancy’s The Division set up the plot of a 2001 operation known as “Dark Winter,” which was being launched to test the United States’ emergency response to a bioterror attack. The simulation quickly spiraled out of control and led to a prediction that a major catastrophic event would happen. Then, on Black Friday 2015, the “Dollar Flu” originated in Manhattan and led to an international crisis, as predicted. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 will take place seven months after the events of the first game and will be based in Washington D.C., where a civil war has broken out. The private beta almost immediately throws the player into this civil war and includes a great CGI video to set the plot up. I won’t spoil what is in the private beta, as I feel like one should experience things themselves, but I will say that early on in this game, the stakes already seem higher.

While the private beta did have some technical issues, like the widely reported long session issues and the fact my file crashed when I first booted it up, the developers pushed several small patches out over the entire weekend and clearly worked on everything they could, based on the feedback. This continues the trend set with the original release and is one that players will likely continue to see in the future. Everything else was smooth for the most part, which is a huge sigh of relief with the game only a month out from release. Despite the bugs that are continuing to be addressed, I did enjoy my limited time with this game and I feel it will benefit from the March release date. The extra time allows for some polishing and pushes the game away from other strong titles coming out in late January and early February. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 releases March 15th on PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.

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