The Division created a lot of buzz when it was first shown off at Ubisoft’s press conference at E3 2013. The gameplay presented at the event won a lot of people over for its demonstration of teamwork and focus on tactics that the Tom Clancy series is typically known for.
The thing that I think appealed about The Division to a lot of people was how natural the scenarios in the game seemed. One minute you would be walking through a supposedly abandoned hospital on a general supply hunt, next moment another player team has called in an attack helicopter and you’re taking cover behind an upturned desk. Sadly I did not get to experience that part due to time constraints and playing in a very controlled environment. I can however, comment on other aspects of the gameplay.
Whilst the preview was exhilarating, exciting and all the rest, I just came away feeling incredibly cynical. I was sat down with 3 other members of the press and one guy who was guiding us through the demo. When I say guiding, I mean essentially telling us what to do and where to go. This is not a real game scenario and something tells me it will certainly not be representative of one so please consider this when reading.
The Division encourages you to communicate with your team, doing things like telling each other the enemy locations, asking people to move up and take cover, requesting grenades and cover etc. This seems almost essential to winning in PvP firefights, with effective use of all the tools available giving you a huge edge on any other players. This certainly appeals, I love playing the special ops role, its what drew me to Rainbow Six Rogue Spear years ago.
The gameplay itself was fine, nothing particularly made it stand out over other similarly styled third person tactical shooters. Weapons and items did feel more diverse and useful than most shooters, grenades were not just a way of getting a load of damage, but a means of flushing out enemies so that your teammates who were flanking could deal with them. I also found that we would be requesting unique skills or items from each other depending on the situation. Sadly, we did not get to try that many items or weapons out due to the fast turn around.
The mixture of PVE and PvP is rather great and will most likely lead to a lot of fun tense moments, waiting with your friends to extract an objective and being ambushed by another faction of players. Moments like these might be enough for some people to sell them on the game and I can understand the appeal.
I think the amount we were guided along and told what to do speaks volumes about how the actual game will turn out. Here is the kicker, I can’t imagine that this will be the game to finally promote teamwork with online players. This coupled with the Dark Zone mechanic shown off at E3 2015 which allows players to be able to betray teammates, leads to a situation in which I highly doubt would promote co-operation and even directly hinder it.
The Division itself seems relatively promising, but I doubt you will be getting the ideal experience unless you have a dedicated group of friends to join you. If this is not the case for you, then I fail to see how The Division will really grab you.