The Division is Ubisoft’s most ambitious project to date, and it has certainly paid off for them in a big way, becoming their best-selling game and one the best selling IPs after only 1 week of sales. However, for Ubisoft Massive, the development studio based in Sweden, it is their first online-only multiplayer-driven shooter game, and the first time they have had to interact with a dedicated community as large as the Division’s, and the growing pains are obvious, as you’ll see later in the technical discussion section of the review.
For this gaming generation, the holy grail of game design is the Massively Multiplayer Online Open World Cooperative-Competitive Multiplayer Role Playing Shooter- MMOOWCCMRPS?- because consoles and PCs finally have the hardware to make such a project feasible. Whoever designs the best MMOWCCMRPS will have the next Half-Life, GTA 3, or COD 4. Basically, it’s what would happen if DESTINY didn’t suck. The concept is a literal money pile. “Let’s make a game by combining Diablo, DayZ, Borderlands, Destiny, and GTA Online, but make it set in “The Last of Us” disaster-like New York City with modern weapons.” Thus, The Division was born.
At its heart, the Division is a third-person cover based shooter. Your characters do have some degree of ability and perk selection, but the roleplaying aspect of character building is a farce, as everyone will have access to the same abilities and perks by the end game, and switching between different classes of character build just take a few clicks within the menu. Distinctions between characters is largely determined by your gear. The traits that matter are:
1. Firearms, the damage you do with weapons
2. Stamina, your health
3. Electronics, the effectiveness (e.g. duration, magnitude, and range) of active abilities
All of these traits are easily modified by changing your equipped gear, so success in the game is almost entirely based on your items’ quality. Hence, the moniker “loot-driven” is often used to describe The Division’s gameplay, likening the end-game goals to that of Diablo, Borderlands, and Destiny. Using the Tom Clancy license, much of the gear is based on real world firearms and accessories, many of which you can have shipped to your door, or just walk down the street to your gun shop and buy it over the counter to take home with you in fewer than 10 minutes, usually. Unless you actually live in New York, of course.