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The first time I saw The Division at E3 a couple years back I wasn’t sure what the game was. It looked like an open world… shooter… thing with RPG elements. That first gameplay reveal ended with the trademark Ubisoft ending, you know, the thing where they zoom the camera out and show other players in your world. I wasn’t sure what The Division was and as time went by we didn’t hear much it.
Now after what feels like years, I’ve finally figured out what The Division is and I think I might be excited.
I say might because there are some things we just don’t know. We don’t know what the endgame will look like or how much stuff there is in The Division. And after Destiny, I think many including myself are a bit gun shy on buying into a game like The Division.
That’s one of the most cited comparisons, Destiny. If you read previews and thoughts on The Division you’ll see tons of people comparing it to Destiny. Why? Well to be honest The Division does have a lot in common with Destiny.
You and a small group of friends take on missions and activities, many are repeatable, and you earn loot and currency for finishing these missions. Just like Destiny, you can just wander around the world of The Division doing smaller missions. Stuff like “Kill these six dudes and this more powerful dude.” Also like Destiny the story in The Division is bare-bones and poorly written.
If hearing all of this has put you off The Division I don’t blame you. But The Division has some cool ideas that you might enjoy. The one I enjoyed the most is “The Darkzone.”
The Darkzone is an area of the map where you can kill anyone, even your friends. This area of the map is quarantined from the rest of the map and you have to go to one of a handful of specific checkpoints to enter the DZ.
Once you are in the DZ it’s a lawless land filled with other players who can kill you at anytime. Throughout the DZ you will find better loot and weapons, but you don’t just get to take this stuff and run. You have to take any loot you find to an extraction zone. These zones are open to any player and have a wait time before you can use them. And once you activate a zone EVERYONE in the DZ can see it.
It might sound like the Darkzone is a murder zone filled with tons of assholes killing everyone… and those people are certainly there. What is surprising about the DZ however is the amount of people who don’t shoot on sight. Walking by a small group of people is nerve wracking. The tension is high and I would carefully watch them as they walked down the street. Firefights can break out at anytime and you die fast in The Division. Every second in the Darkzone was terrifying and exciting. It was some of the most fun I’ve had online in a game.
One time my brother and me were making our way towards and extraction zone, when a small group of AI enemies fired at us. We took cover and quickly pushed through them. Suddenly a shotgun wielding enemy came around a corner and my brother panicked. He fired a few shots into the enemy and then I heard him gasp. The enemy he just shot was another player who lower level than us and was just investigating the firefight. My brother stopped firing, but before he could do anything or say anything I fired my rifle at the player and killed him in cold blood. My brother was in shock. He laughed, why did you do that. My answer: You can’t trust someone you just shot.
Was I right? Was that player a threat? I don’t know and I love that. I love the way the Darkzone feels threatening and unsafe. Few games have filled me with that amount of anxiety before. I want to play more.
And that’s why I think The Division COULD be awesome. I don’t know. It might not end up having enough missions or the end game might suck. However the Darkzone is amazing and one of the coolest things I’ve experienced in a game. If the rest of the game can be even half as fun as what I experienced in the Darkzone, then The Division MIGHT be amazing. It might also be terrible.
Either way, I can’t wait to find out. When The Division releases I’ll be in The Darkzone, scared and having a blast.