Rogues Can Suck It – Or My Review of Tom Clancy’s The Division by John Simpson

CA - The Division The Division is the latest Tom Clancy offering from Ubisoft, a third person shooter with a bio-catastrophe plot line wherein a virus is released in the heart of New York and it gets sealed off to slow the spread. You are part of the second wave of sleeper cells placed by the government to re-establish order should a catastrophe such as this take place and order needs to be established.

Firstly the game is stunning. You get used to how good the buildings and streets look, burned out cars adding creepy light effects across an alley wall during a firefight… But then some little detail like a spooked flock of birds catches your eye and you realise how amazing the level of detail in this game is. From freak snow storms to ricochet bullets ricocheting off abandoned cop cars, the way everything moves and reacts adds to the immersive nature of the game. The plot is engaging and the storyline of the solo missions are satisfyingly tough and progressively harder as you go on, encouraging you to acquire better gear and weapons.

Now I’m a big fan of campaigns: once I’ve finished the story of a game I tend to lose interest. But the multiplayer action in this has me completely engaged. I’ve played a few co-op missions which changed the pace and feel of the standard game play, talking to the team to let them know we’re ready to assault unsuspecting thugs whilst also calling out when I’m inevitably put down and need a medic. It’s quite possible I am a liability to any team but I’ve really enjoyed the teamwork of taking out a shopping centre full of flamethrower-toting maniacs with a friend. CA - The Division A

I recently started entering what is known as the Dark Zone, an area in the centre of the map where players can kill players and the bad guys are just a touch tougher. The Dark Zone is what’s got me thinking multiplayer is the way forward: the gear you find in the DZ has to be extracted before you can use it or sell it etc. Extraction means calling in a helicopter and letting everyone know where you are and that you have gear worth extracting. This not only attracts bad guys but rogue players, who are stupidly good at swooping in, killing the living hell out of your character and swooping out. This changes the whole dynamic of the game. You’re nervously walking around a stunning replica of a devastated New York, watching your map for signs of rogues and keeping an eye on how much gear you’re carrying and where the nearest extraction zone is – not to mention the thugs and militants wandering the streets, keen on shooting, beating or even burning you to a crisp.

To summarise, graphically the game stands amongst the best I’ve seen on the next gen consoles. The game play is fluid, soon picking up the nuances of changing gear and upgrades and how to make your weapons better. The Story is engaging as are the little side stories within missions, and Echoes – holographic playbacks of events – get you interested in what else is happening in the city. And the multiplayer and Dark Zone have done something that not many games have, which is get me playing online and actively looking to progress past the story of a game.

This game is totally worth it and even worth the frustration of having some teenager steal all your gear in the Dark Zone. A big thumbs up to Tom Clancy and Ubisoft – Rogues? They can suck it.

John Simpson