This week, on a whim, and with mild peer pressure, I bought The Division. I wasn’t blown away by the beta but did fancy a new multiplayer and many friends were getting it. I’m now about twelve hours in and a level 13 so I’m getting the gist of what’s going on, although after twelve hours I’m still pressing the wrong buttons to go into cover or leap over things or I’ll throw a grenade at a pal when I mean to throw health, but I’m getting there. I’ve seen many comparisons to Destiny which I totally don’t understand. There’s no similarities, none!..
You can work through most parts solo but playing with friends makes it more fun, a bit like Destiny. Okay, I’ll give it that but so are many games. The first few minutes are spent getting your group together, wandering round every nearby nook and cranny while you wait for them to spawn in, and performing various emotes like star jumps, slow applause or the Carlton dance. You then travel to one of several places that vary in difficulty such as Pennsylvania Plaza, which is low level, or the Dreadnaught with more challenging enemies. There’s a variety of missions to complete within each area in which you fight waves of enemies that are similar but have some distinct differences, for example, the Cleaners with their gas tank flame-throwers, Rioters that uh, don’t have flame-throwers or the Cabal that can hide behind shields.
The game works best when your firete… squad has a variety of different skills. A medic proves invaluable during battle by dropping health stations where fallen Guardians can revive themselves or a Titan can throw deadly hammers to destroy enemies. After the gangs have been annihilated, you pick up dropped ammo and, if you’re lucky, you’ll see the colourful glint of an engram. If you’re luckier still, you may find a yellow exotic engram that has special, legendary loot. Some dropped items may be purely cosmetic but still exciting for those players who enjoy customising their character. These could include a beanie hat, ‘trendy’ sneakers, shiny bond or winter parka.
Apparently there is a story but I’ve not been paying too much attention as I’m only here for the mindless violence. I assume it’s something to do with a smallpox virus wiping out New York and The Traveler has been sent to help us find a cure and take back the Big Apple. You can reveal more pieces of the story by finding and unlocking Grimoire Cards, containing various files, phone calls or ‘echoes’ (which I believe are some kind of ghost magic because I wasn’t paying attention if they explained them).
The Division session often ends with silent concentration for several minutes as players return to The Tower, sorry, Base of Operations to unlock wings, sell weapons, restock ammo etc. That silence is punctuated by cries of glee over finding Gjallarhorn or dismay if they’ve accidentally sharded that kick-ass sniper rifle.
Overall, I’d say I’m really enjoying my initial delve into this game which lets me switch my brain off whilst slaying hundreds of enemies over and over again. I would certainly recommend Desti… The Division to anyone who fancies a totally unique multiplayer shooter.