It has now been three years since The Division has managed to fill many players with extensions and cooperative online play. Three years which made it possible to establish a context already very dense and to pose a history after all quite classic; you will save the setting in a context of epidemic and atmosphere of end of the world. Also, it seems easy enough to propose a continuation by changing only the city concerned by the crisis. The Division 2 has floored the Massive studio (and many other Ubisoft entities) over a crisis in Washington. A simple encore repetita?
While you are barely recovering from crisis management in New York, it is the capital of the United States itself that is plagued by an epidemic that is causing chaos. So we find a virus whose origin remains uncertain, three factions (The Hyenas, Pariahs and True Sounds) who compete for different territories and an organization of the city in the form of zones capped in levels that would not deny a good old MMO families. As a member of the Division, it is you who will have to rebuild a structure to restore a semblance of order in the city. The JTF is of course still on the kneecaps, but fortunately, the gentiles know how to organize.
This is the story of my war
The Division 2 still has a solid background for those who want to take advantage of a very eventful scenario. All the solo part offered to the player is used to set the scene for an adventure that will undoubtedly continue online with friends. In the meantime, it is a journey of 20 to 30 hours that revolves around main missions, explorations and other secondary meetings (you will have to complete them to reach the max level). In addition to immersing yourself in the mood of the game, this story serves to determine your style of play and understand all the gameplay mechanics. The dialogues are numerous, the multiple lines of scenario, it is clean and neat work, even if the classic lack of coherence of the video game remains present (one arrives in a zone ravaged by a chemical attack and still smoking, quiet, without cough in the least for example).
The Division 2 is still an “open” world, but it will still be partitioned. If you do not have physical barriers between the zones, the level of opponents who strolls naturally serves as a safeguard. Go for a walk in an area with mobs that outclass and spanking is assured. A dozen districts with varying atmospheres are proposed. So, if you feel free to move, your progress is guided by the path the developers have taken. You will need this anyway not to be a team shot.
The hideouts are still rallying points that serve to reappear in case of unexpected deaths, to stock up on ammunition (automatically now), or to reorganize the inventory. They are now alternating with shelters. A shelter is an organization that must be improved by bringing objects, materials and missions to it that are relevant to its district. These shelters evolve graphically and bring you more things once you have helped their occupants. This is good news, because it breaks the automatic and FedEx side of the quests that you are usually offered. What you do does not only change a statistic on your character sheet, but also the world around you.
Follow the guide !
Besides this world, let’s talk about it a little bit. He is beautifully depressing. Understand that he is very successful in the vision that one could have of a city subjected to a civil war. Many tips are used to maintain the player’s attention throughout the moves. We always keep our eyes open to recover resources needed for refueling. En route to a defined destination, we stop to help civilians about to be executed. We spot a store, or a restaurant that could be full of interesting things. This other building looks very interesting to explore too … Ceaselessly, elements catch the eye and if the graphical leap is not delusional between the first and the second component, the Snowdrop engine does the job perfectly. The attention to detail is pushed even further with a location of damage that has a real impact on the appearance of the protagonists. We change the armor plate, rather than inject a syringe to gain “life”, we clearly see the helmets, masks and armor of opponents break when their gauge reaches zero.
However, The Division 2 can be blamed for losing a bit of charisma compared to its predecessor. The general atmosphere felt during the first hours of play is more to the fight and if there are indeed areas shrouded in fog, it is less transcended by the play of light that is proposed here.
In the meantime and with regard to the moods, Washington’s 10 districts all have major themes. The White House, the Air and Space Museum, the Lincoln Memorial are all historic places that allow you to play with battle atmospheres. For example, we find ourselves strafing in a street strewn with detritus, as on a lunar spatial reproduction or squarely in a planetarium. You can also have a very Vietnam atmosphere in a museum that reproduces the environment. This brings enough variety in a game with more than repetitive gameplay.
Tactical hide and seek
Regarding the clashes, we find ourselves in a well-known terrain. The AI of the three factions is globally the same and the threat management similar. In solo, the main goal is always not to be overflowed and try to take the opponents by flanks by aiming the head. Before firing, make sure that the morons who run headlong with a shotgun or an ax to hit hand-to-hand are treated properly. Then, you have to move from cover to cover to find the best angle and the best support.
Depending on your style of play, you can use various bonuses to variable cooldowns (and flexible depending on your progress). At first, they will be mainly offensive with the already known turrets and guided mines, then they will probably move into a field more related to support and team improvements if you play with friends.
Overall, you will not have too much trouble dealing with adversity always keeping in mind that you have to protect yourself and protect both your back and sides. The AI does not stop wanting to overflow you, but does so in a very stereotyped way. Only a few bosses need more finesse to reach their weakest points and hit where it hurts the most (often the head). But the noticeable difference is the localized shielding of bosses that once destroyed makes them very vulnerable. These phases are therefore more tactical and it is not only a question of inflicting maximum damage.
Your style of play will also be affected by the type of weapon you choose. Are you looking for melee with a shotgun, or the opposite of the distance with a snipe? This will be based on the playground you will face in front of you, because The Division 2 offers a very nice panel of tactical situations without forgetting the notion of verticality. You have to play with the field and it is the latter who will control your movements. No, we do not walk with an X12 telescope indoors.
More pleasant and more fluid
The Massive teams of course took advantage of the returns from the first part to adjust the shooting and make some modifications. The handling of the characters and the TPS side have not changed. There is always this clumsy aspect that must be managed and that reminds a little the movements of Gears of War. This can lead to painful situations where you turn your back on the opponent instead of facing him. Nothing has changed on this side.
On the other hand, there are still many small points that streamline the experience, such as group refueling for example. It is no longer necessary for everyone to go through the crate to stock up on ammunition. When it’s done, it’s done for everyone. No need to queues stupidly.
Regarding the equipment you now have the possibility to have several combat configurations. This allows you to adapt when you decide to give priority to your offensive abilities, to take aggro, to support or, for example, to equip you with a lot of elements to hurt specifically Boss. The long reconfiguration sessions are over.
The Dark Zone is now much less frustrating, because the number of players allowed in an instance is less important and the penalties of passage in renegade mode more penalizing. The voltage is still high, but there is less (for the moment) of sequences spent to be dismantled systematically during an incursion in these spaces. If you really want to sip in PVP without notice, there is the conflict mode, which probably meets the demand of a fringe of players, but which somewhat distorts the overall philosophy, proposing 4vs4 clashes in closed arena . Still, the Dark Zone is now more accessible and even benefits from small introductory PVE missions.