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The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World
Yes, there are far better worlds to immerse myself in – I’m literally sitting on a pile of old games, like Far Cry 4, that probably have better shooting and much more colourful worlds to escape to – but Tom Clancy has me by the balls when it comes to The Division. Everything about this dark story fascinates me, plus it’s satisfying to run around this version of New York City. Almost the entire population has been wiped out (by the Dollar Flu, aka the Green Poison), gangs and other enemy factions are on the rise; it’s complete chaos. Ubisoft has created such a beautiful mess with this world and I love diving in, like a lone gunman with a huge chip on my shoulder, trying to turn the tide.
Now if I haven’t said it before – and I don’t think that I have – Ubisoft (arguably) makes some of the best open-world games in the video game business. Now that’s just my opinion; you can take it with a grain of salt. I haven’t played that many open-world games – I’ve played small slices of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and EA’s Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (two more note-worthy games that I desperately need to finish) – but I have to give Ubisoft mad props for creating all of their beautiful, fully-realized, and captivating worlds because their worlds are the ones that I always want to go back to. Especially with The Division. There’s a spookiness and a stickiness that comes with it. (Stickiness meaning that the game has a hook that I like, the game is so good that I can’t put it down because it’s sticky.)
Guess What? I Like Oo-be-soft
No, I haven’t played The Witcher 3, or Skyrim, and I don’t intend to. I can see why The Division might fail in comparison when it comes to vast open worlds, but who the hell has 100 hours to dedicate to just one game? I certainly do not, so when it comes to exploratory gaming, Ubisoft gets my hard earned dollars every time…well almost every time. I say almost only because I can’t play every open-world game they make, no matter how great it is. So I pick and choose the games that speak to me, but if I did have the time (make no mistake) I would play every fucking game with the Ubisoft logo on it! That’s how much I like Ubisoft.
Take Cover Because There Are Some Caveats
Like most games, The Division definitely has it’s issues. As much as I am in love with the world, I would be remiss to not mention the few things that do ruin the experience for me. I know that Ubisoft finally released a hefty patch (1.4) to fix many of The Division’s major problems, but they missed a couple of things.
One: forcing me to do side missions in order to keep the story going. I find this type of grinding very annoying. Now I’m not new to grindy, RPG-type, shooters – Destiny has lots of grinding – but never has Destiny put me in a position like this, where I need to do side missions in order to level up, so that I can continue with the main story. The Division (on the other hand) does.
In Destiny, you reach the level requirements for the next story mission by the time you finish the mission that you’re currently doing. At least that’s how I remember it. I don’t remember having to do side missions in Destiny, also known as patrolling, to boost my level up before tackling the next part of the story. But in The Division I’m currently at level 12 and the next story mission is level 14. So now I have to grind, by completing side missions, to get to level 14 before I can continue with the main story. It’s really killing my momentum because I don’t like being forced to do these side missions. They’re supposed to be optional. Do them, don’t do them, or continue with the story; that’s the beauty of it. It’s up to you to decide, but The Division has taken that choice away from me. The only choice I have, at this point in time, is which side missions to tackle to boost my level.
The Zone Of Darkness 💀
Two: the Dark Zone fucking sucks! (If you go it alone)! The Dark Zone is the PvP (Player vs. Player, aka the competitive multiplayer) portion of the game, which has a very interesting hook. This section of New York was where you got all of the best loot (before the patch). Most of the best weapons and gear was found here so there was lots of incentive to explore this area. Now (post patch) you can acquire better loot out in the world – while you do story and side missions – but you can still try your luck in the Dark Zone, at your own risk.
Risk one: the enemy AI is hella strong, making them a lot tougher to take down (again, if you’re alone). They can over- whelm and flank you super quick, and when you die you lose all of your precious loot.
Risk two: the online community that frequent the Dark Zone will almost always jack you for your loot. Especially if you’re a lone gunman like myself. No one has my back in there so it’s open season and I’m the sitting duck.
There is a matchmaking system that I can use to find other players to help me out with my Dark Zone excursions – and in any other in-game scenario matchmaking would be a good way to go – but here, not so much. The other thing about this bloody Dark Zone is that your would-be allies can also turn against you, at any time, and also steal your loot. It’s a real crapshoot and way too risky unless you’re fucking John McClane from Die Hard (which I am most certainly not). You have to be a really good runner and gunner if you brave it alone, or you have to go in with people that you actually know and can trust.
So that’s my two cents on The Division right now. It has an infectious world (no pun intended) that keeps me engaged, but as a lone player, the grindiness of it all, and mastering the Dark Zone, is enough to make me question how much further down the rabbit hole I want to go. But in all fairness, it could just be a matter of finding a few good people to tackle these obstacles with…like my Destiny compadre Rick. (He made a guest appearance on my last two let’s plays). He has The Division too, but he’s so far up Destiny’s ass right now I don’t know if he’ll ever make time to jump into this game. Or my friend Angie who’s taking her sweet ass time on getting a PlayStation. Come on people! New York is on the brink of extinction and I have to save it!