Regardless if you loved or hated The Division, the hype for The Division 2 is real. Everyone hoped the second installment in the franchise to undo the wrongs and make it the game it was supposed to be in the beginning. At the same time, after a rather poor first half of the year with so many disappointments in terms of new releases, The Division 2 does not seem to have a lot of competition. Did it manage to overcome the legacy of an incomplete and repetitive game that the first one proved to be? Let’s dwell deeper into that.
The Division 2 kicks off things in a much better tone. It gets more things right that it does wrong. The story picks up where it was left in The Division but with more gameplay mechanics and an improved urban environment.
Progression offers much more rewards in the form of loot and new activities. The missions are well crafted and gun-play is much more rewarding and engaging. This time around, there are fewer side missions and random content that is meant to just add more hours to the campaign. The main campaign itself is longer and the plot and story are much more interesting to say the least. Overall, there are about 20+ hours of campaign to enjoy.
Some might argue that there is no story in the game, but the reality is a bit different. Even if there is no emotional attachment to be developed with any of the characters, they all contribute in building a rather believable western world city. Washington DC is now a war zone and the player needs to do his part to keep things under control and retrieve a cure for the virus from The Division, which is now in the possession of the president of the US.
The End Game
Once the main campaign is completed, the game opens up. Washington DC becomes a playground filled with objectives and challenges that reward players with plenty of loot. Some of the loot mechanics have been preserved but there are more ways to obtain new gear.
This time around, the player will have to choose one out of three classes which also gets it specialized weapon. The game calls them specializations and they all play an important role in terms of mechanics and team play.
Division 2 does not make any compromises and PVP has not been neglected. We have the Dark Zone 2 and an official clan system. The clan system does make things easier when it comes to raids and Dark Zone runs.
Throughout the city, a total of 52 bosses have been added that will spawn randomly and drop world tier loot. These random bosses make it possible even for solo players to get some end-game gear without having to go for organized raids.
As far as activities go, we have several worth mentioning. Invaded missions are probably the first type of end-game content that players will experience. Completed missions from the campaign will turn red on the map and the player can complete them again but on a higher difficulty level and for better loot.
Strongholds are another source of gear. They take longer to complete and have multiple bosses. These missions are accessible only after certain Invaded missions are completed.
Raids are the most challenging ways of getting loot. Just like in the original game, they are difficult, rewarding and are fun due to the mechanics they bring into the game.
What Is Not So Great…
If there is one thing that we wish would have been better is the boss fights. Sadly, bosses are basically regular enemies but with much larger health pools. Basically, they are bullet sponges. It would have made the game a bit better if bosses had they own abilities and mechanics which would make their large health pools seem trivial.
There are also some rather weird things happening when it comes to gear score. Some difficult missions appear to offer loot of lower item score than much fewer challenging activities. What is important to know is that item score matters but not that much. It is important to keep a close eye on stats and synergies.
Last but not least, the biggest disappointment is the Dark Zone. There isn’t much to do except for skirmishes with other players and hunt the occasional boss. Players will camp each other but the gear normalization mechanic makes things less unfair for the ones that might not be all that prepared for PVP.
Worth Investing Time and Money?
The Division 2 certainly offers at least 30 to 40 hours of gameplay including the campaign and some end-game content. While the campaign does not have any replay value, end-game content should keep the player engaged to fine tune his gear and prepare for the challenging raids. The progression system is good and keeps things going at least to the level that the player will feel motivated to play the same mission over and over to get that special piece of gear to complete his setup.
Overall The Division is a better game but it is not perfect. It surely has a much solid base on top of which Massive Entertainment can add more mechanics and engaging DLCs to keep the players busy. At this stage of the game, it surely is worth spending the money and probably, the DLCs will be worth it too. There are still some things that are just as bad as they were in the original game, but the developers do seem to understand some of the aspects that players complained about.
What is left now is to see if The Division 2 will survive the test of time or it will experience the same massive player base drop after just a few months. If Massive Entertainment gets things right and times their DLC releases properly, players will not get the occasion to get bored or just abandon the game because there is nothing left to do. Hopefully that will not be the case as The Division 2 is much more promising that is predecessor and truth be told, there is not much competition when it comes to this type of action-packed loot-based shooters with RPG elements.