Monday, 22 February 2016

First Impressions: The Division Open Beta

Even though I only recently found out that The Division was actually an MMO akin to Destiny instead of a single player narrative like The Last of Us (I only saw the first trailer then it went off my radar for a bit), I decided to download the open beta to have a go and see the graphics everyone is talking about. Well, after I deleted 2 games for the 27GB anyway. These are my thoughts after around 2 hours playing the game:

In case nobody knows, The Division is a 3rd person MMO Shooter set in a virus hit New York where there are looters everywhere. You are part of The Division, an elite task force sent to deal with this virus. An interesting, if not entirely original premise then.

Well, it definitely looks good, I can tell you that. With melting snow, dynamic lighting and detailed textures, it really brings post-apocalyptic New York City to life, although hitting a box and it not being destroyed/shooting a looter whose only armour is a hoodie and them not dying does lessen the realism a bit.

My favourite part graphically is the UI, with the map and options both appearing as holograms either beneath the player (the map) or Dead Space-esque for the options/inventory. The Echo system is also great which allows you to see echoes (go figure) of past events in an area to help you with missions. The map looks awesome, although was a bit awkward to use sometimes, with missions disappearing and reappearing but I guess you can expect this in a beta.

One thing I didn't expect of this game would be base building but that's exactly what we got with you being able to spend points from one of the 3 wings (medical, security or tech) to upgrade one of the wings with equipment etc. It's always nice to see stuff coming together in a puzzle like fashion and this satisfies that itch quite well.

The story is quite basic due to it being an MMO, but the way it is shown is very well done, with full voice acting and great detail on the animation of the faces. Even if you accidentally set your language to French for the opening like I did!

I was in a party with my cousin for the majority of my time with the game and the whole party system was quite easy to set up, with him just joining one of my missions. Being able to fast travel to your party member was nice as well and seeing your friends on the map even without them being in your party was nice. Together we managed to rescue hostages, gather data on the virus and get shot down when some enemies randomly appeared. All good fun, even if he was the only one with a mic being used!

The enemies were fun to beat, with different grenades and weapons keeping the gameplay fresh and the named enemies (that give better loot but are a lot harder to beat) were a nice challenge. Being able to suppress/flank people was an extra touch that made the game really fun to play, especially with the cover system which while a bit hard to get to grips with at first, becomes really intuitive. One thing that was a bit weird however, was that none of the weapons dropped came close to the power of my original weapons. Yes, they were better in other stats but in terms of DPS none were better.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with The Division, even with the occasional bug (getting stuck behind a door etc.) and I may pick it up in the future.

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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