The Division: Satisfying Yet Annoying

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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The Division: Satisfying Yet Annoying

This was a piece I'd hoped to have written last week, but after some unexpected incidents, it wound up delayed to today. My first weekend with The Division went about as I'd expected it to, with some parts that were less than enjoyable. But read on, good friends; read on and see my first weekend with The Division.

Having played through several levels, reaching level eight, I can say that I had a pretty fine time of it. Wandering the post-virus streets of New York, blasting thugs with a progressively more-powerful set of arrow comparisons--otherwise known as weapons--and ultimately learning that much more about the horrible yet all too plausible plague that one day may well hit the real New York, was a surprisingly exciting time.

Oh, it wasn't all sunshine and dead thugs. No, there were issues here; a lack of a clear pause menu might have been the worst of it. Any time I wanted a snack break or even a bathroom call, my menu-based pauses still left me vulnerable to attack. Granted, respawning was simple enough, but it wasn't something I really wanted to do. Speaking of things I really didn't want to do, another one of them that figured prominently into The Division was "be constantly online." I also didn't want to sign up for the Ubisoft Uplay service, but those objections paled against actually getting to play, which was required before the game would even start.

Smaller problems plagued me. A lack of a heads-up display that showed me more than fire direction left me more than once intercepted by a baseball bat-wielding thug. Worse, I found myself pulling my gun on civilians on more than one occasion just to trigger the system that denoted whether I was looking at friend or foe. A system sufficiently advanced to show me video from events that had happened ostensibly nowhere near a camera--the Echo system--should really be advanced enough to tell me "Hey. See this dude? You should shoot him before he shoots you."

There was more to this than small quibbles, though. There were also small joys. The plot was almost frighteningly plausible, so much so that I was glad that most of my Christmas shopping was done online. Watching rats run through the streets of New York was a small touch that was beautifully--and horrifyingly--plausible as well.

There were ways this could have gone better. A nice single-player campaign wouldn't have gone amiss, and certainly, there would have been online fun enough going on in the Dark Zone. A decent pause menu, a few tweaks to the interface, and I would have been even happier with this game than I already was.

For now, though, Ubisoft has brought out a pretty sweet piece of work here, and one that should keep gamers happy until E3 at least. It could have stood some modifications, but as presented, it's sound enough material.

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