About a month after its release, we had the opportunity to deepen and cleanse the post-apocalyptic world of Tom Clancy's The Division, open world RPG title published by Ubisoft and developed by the Swedish software house of Massive Entertainment. Will they have succeeded in the arduous task of proposing a good combination of online RPG, open world and third person shooter? Find out with our review!
The plot of Tom Clancy's The Division, since its announcement, has turned out to be very dark and profound, in fact the idea that we are able to make is that of a kind of message of danger, as the writers wanted to highlight the incredible fragility of society and the system in the face of a possible epidemic. And it is in fact the spread of the smallpox virus, transmitted through banknotes, that gives way to the history of the game: Dr. Gordon Amherst created the so-called "Green Poison" and started the spread of the disease in New York during the Black Friday. From here, the city falls into chaos: food and resources are lacking, the police lose control and the streets are invaded by different hostile factions, that is Rikers, Rioters, Purifiers and l 'Last Battalion. At this point, the agents of the SHD (Strategic Homeland Division) aka The division, consisting of dormant cells that are activated only in cases of extreme crisis. Let's see specifically the various factions:
- Rikers: they are ex-inmates escaped from Rikers Island prison, coming from different gangs;
- Rioters: they are groups of common thugs and criminals who just want to kill and steal for their survival;
- Purifiers: ex-toilet workers (garbage men, janitors, janitors, etc.) who have lost everything due to the epidemic. They are convinced that in order to save the city, they must necessarily burn everything, including the survivors;
- Last Battalion: They represent a private military company, hired by Wall Street firms to protect valuable documents during the epidemic, but were abandoned when the crisis worsened. Their aim is to take New York back by force and start a new world order.
The game's plot is mainly divided into three narrative strands:
- Medical: it will be necessary to look for an antidote against the virus
- Technological: we will have to bring energy and supplies back to New York City
- Safety: our task will be to restore order in the streets of the city and return it to the police forces, now destabilized
Altogether we will have 15 missions of the main plot that will be used to collect every piece of the puzzle that will then be completed with the final mission. Each of these strands will correspond to a department in the Base of operation; here we will be able to refuel, buy and craft weapons, mods, equipment and above all enhance the various sectors to obtain advantages, unlock skills (related mods) and talents, through the use of stocks (points obtainable by completing main missions and secondary encounters).
The RPG component
As anticipated, Tom Clancy's The Division is a game strongly characterized by elements typical of role-playing games, even if there is no class system (example: sniper, doctor), but we will be able to customize our Agent as we like through numerous skins, various clothes and we will find ourselves faced with the choice of different types of equipment in order to create the build that best suits our style of play, taking care not to overbalance ourselves too much towards a particular specialization. In fact, there are three types of branches:
- Weapons: this stat will affect the DPS (Damage Per Second) of your primary and secondary weapons;
- Force: the higher the value of this statistic, the greater the health of your Agent;
- Electronic Parts: the most underestimated stat, but very important to make the skills you choose for your Agent effective and deadly.
To improve these stats, or to balance them, we will need to carefully choose between the various elements of our equipment such as armor, masks, knee pads, backpack, gloves and holsters. Each of these will increase certain statistics, not only of the three branches, but also elements such as critical damage, probability of critical damage, resistance to various debuffs, ammo capacity and much more. In addition, certain statistics can be improved by using the equipment mod o Performance mod; the combination of all these elements will put you in front of a difficult choice in your inventory.
Other key elements of the RPG component are the ability and of talents, both unlockable through the purchase of upgrades of the Departments of the Base of Operations. We will have a total of three skills (two minor and one "main"), while we will find eight talents for each sector, of which we will be able to choose a total of four (only once we reach the level cap). The latter will serve to provide us with additional bonuses that will prove to be fundamental in the fight; here too free choice, so we can choose the combination of talents that best suits our needs.
It doesn't stop there: even weapons have exclusive talents that will require a certain stat score (DPS, Stamina, Electronic Parts) to be available, all of which increases the difficulty of choosing your equipment. Weapon talents are distributed in this order:
- Specialized Weapons (blue): a talent;
- Elite Weapons (purple): two talents;
- High-End Weapons (gold): three talents, one of which is already unlocked (without pre-requisites)
Weapons and Crafting
In Tom Clancy's The Division we will have a vast arsenal at our disposal including assault rifles, machine guns, sniper rifles, shotguns, light machine guns and pistols; this is also thanks to the work of the studio of Red Storm Entertainment who helped Massive in making the weapon and character models. We will be able to get these weapons through drops, sellers or by looking for projects to craft them. In fact, within the Operational Base, there is a special one Do it yourself station where we will be able to carry out our projects for any part of our equipment, through the use of different components to be found in the game world or obtainable as a reward for a mission. This feature is very useful, as we will be able to obtain excellent quality equipment, in fact we will have to pay a fairly high price to the various retailers to receive the best projects. It will also be possible to change the bonuses provided by our equipment through the station Recalibration; in exchange for a large amount of credits, you can choose the bonuses you prefer, such as ammo capacity, addition of a slot for mods, critical damage, resistance to special damage and much more.
Secondary Missions ..
Obviously they could not miss this kind of missions, but it must be said that they were not carried out optimally. While wandering around the game world, in the safe area, we will be able to come across numerous secondary missions that are divided into various categories: we have the "Matches”Which consist of short missions dedicated to the Medical, Technological and Security sectors, which once completed successfully, will guarantee you some points to spend on upgrades. This type of secondary will be very useful, since you will not always be able to take on the main missions due to your level, then you can take advantage of these Encounters to empower you and above all to receive XP points. In addition, we also have side missions that will not give points for upgrades, but will serve to obtain both items for equipment and numerous XP points and, in some cases, provide us with some more details on the plot of the game. Unfortunately for both categories, it must be said that they were not done at their best since they differ very little from each other; with Encounters we will always find ourselves defending supplies, seeking information on the virus, rescuing hostages, stopping an arms sale, storming enemy "strongholds". Same goes for the secondary ones that in addition to giving us more information through the search for missing persons, do not vary much during the game. By completing these missions you will realize theirs repetitiveness, a factor that will bring a sense of boredom to your gaming experience; a great shame given the potential of the open world.
..and Daily Missions
Once you reach the level cap, that is the level 30, you will unlock the Daily Missions which will consist in facing the missions of the main story in Hard and Very Hard mode. Each of these will guarantee you more XP points, better rewards in terms of loot and above all i Phoenix credits. The latter are of vital importance to be able to buy the best equipment such as the recently introduced ones Equipment Set, or weapons and plans of High Gamma. Also, thanks to the recent Raid 1.1 update, daily and weekly assignments have been added (such as Operation ISAC) that will allow you to receive additional crafting materials and Phoenix credits, a pretty good move from Massive.
We come to the most interesting part of Tom Clancy's The Division, namely the Black Zone: in this territory abandoned by the police forces, you can find the best equipment for your Agent, but you will find yourself facing numerous dangers between enemy factions, bosses and above all other Agents who can either to collaborate with you, or to hit you in the back betraying the Division, the choice to trust or not is up to you.
The Dark Zone is divided into 6 large areas which differ in the level ranges of the enemies; in the initial areas you will find the weakest enemies, but pushing yourself further you will have to face an ever increasing level of challenge. Inside the checkpoints and in the various areas, you can find the sellers of the Dark Zone who will offer slightly better loot than the normal sellers, in exchange for the ZN funds (the latter obtainable by killing the various enemies within the Dark Zone ). Although in order to purchase the equipment, a minimum rank will be required in the Dark Zone, where the level cap is equal to 99.
In this area you will have a lot to do between bosses, crates to open, subways to explore and contaminated areas; moreover, thanks to the update of the Incursions, the supply launches: these will be left in random spots on the map and will be defended by a group of high-level NPCs. Your task will be to collect them before the other players, as you may find items from the Nomad's Equipment Set; all of this generates a nice level of tension and challenge with the other Agents present in the Dark Zone. Though..
..after the update of the Incursions, the Dark Zone turns out to be very unbalanced for players who have reached level 30. While for the lower level players there are well balanced level bands, once you reach the level cap the Dark Zone will no longer be based on your level, but on your equipment score recently introduced. Thus, only two level bands have been created, namely the one for players with a score from 0-160 and the one that goes from 161 points upwards. In this way, a player with a rating of 170 can easily find themselves up against a player with a rating of 204, finding himself at a significant disadvantage. We are hoping for a re-balance by Massive Entertainment as soon as possible.
From a graphic and technical point of view there is very little to say: despite an obvious downgrade compared to the game presented at E3 2013, the level design of Tom Clancy's The Division is spectacular. The developers have fully succeeded in giving an idea of a New York in crisis, thanks to the SnowDrop Engine and the physics engine Havok. Moreover, even the first impact that is offered to us at the entrance to the Black Zone is really suggestive, you just need to take a ride in the subways and in the contaminated areas. Obviously, there are some bugs (see the recent case of the Raid glitch), but we can say that Massive is doing everything to fix them in a timely manner.
The game reaches i 1080p on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (although the dynamic resolution technique is present on the Microsoft console) a 30fps, while obviously on PC we find the 60fps. Seeing is believing: