The Division PC Early Impressions

The Division

Let’s get two things out of the way to save some of you some time.

1.) This game is dependent on the Internet even if you want to play “solo.” If that concept is anathema to you then I have saved you some time and you can stop reading.

2.) This game is not Destiny set on Earth in the modern-day/near future with a technothriller varnish on it. The similarities to Destiny are in broad concepts only: A loose MMO type game where you can play solo but will get the best out of it playing with other people, a backdrop of a storyline that frankly is not much of a factor, and a debatably Diablo caliber level of looting, grinding, and leveling up to satisfy everyone’s inner obsessive compulsive disorder

3.) It’s going to come down also to your preferences on first person vs third person. This is third person implemented fairly well for the most part although I have played better third person games with tighter gameplay mechanics.  PC gamers do have the options to remap keys, try a controller (good luck against KBM players), and I highly recommend turning Parkour Mode on for sprinting and climbing convenience.

At some point in the near future I hope to have a full review ready but I want to deliberately give this game some time to settle in and especially the online component which currently is on the brink of disaster do to a serious hacking issue that has plagued the game even since the Beta.  I find this inexcusable on a major, ambitious AAA title like this. If you go into the Dark Zone it’s the wild west in more ways than one. Be warned.    I have heard of issues on the consoles but by and large the PC version is being plagued the most with egregious cheating and hacking. This isn’t the fault of the PC platform. This is the fault of the developers and not going with dedicated servers.

I am a major proponent of “dedicated servers or bust” when it comes to online games and a mess like this simply has me say “state rests, your honor.” 9/10 times I never come near an online situation if I don’t see dedicated servers and this is another case in point.

If I hadn’t been able to score a 30 percent off VIP preorder via Green Man Gaming and had known that solo mode was as viable as it was and is I would not have purchased this title and I would not recommend a full price purchase under any circumstances.

The Division Screenshot 01

More forgiving in the early goings: Connection issues and drop outs but the margin of forgiveness on a major AAA title is small.  We are talking a matter of weeks.

On the consoles I do not see this game unseating Destiny as the “mmo rpg shooter hybrid” of choice at least amongst the Destiny die hards although after a thousand or more hours for some of them they may welcome a complete change of pace and scenery. This is apples vs oranges.

Where I can see this game flourishing if they iron out these kinks and especially this online issue is a very solid “apples vs orange” complementary situation.  The Division is different in a lot of ways from Destiny so I can’t see many meaningful comparisons.

Visually the game impresses and will tax higher end hardware depending on settings.  The attention to detail in the gameworld  is impressive.  If you take the time to pick up recording and other sidequests there is at least an attempt to inject some semblance of a narrative and humanity into the proceedings which this needs all it can get. A game like this is not running on a very strong story narrative any more than Destiny does.  ]That just isn’t the point of a title like this.

A GTX 980Ti at 1920X1200 with everything maxed out including Nvidia’s high end proprietary shadow options can see FPS drop into the low to mid 40s when having the character sprint at full speed in broad daylight as a frame of reference. The game scales well and the amount of menu and customization options are extremely impressive. You can nitpick the UI to a tee and guaranteed get the graphics and performance dialed in exactly how you want it.

Compelling and immersive sound design. You definitely in modern day/near future New York City albeit one bereft of life and hustle and bustle. Sound design has saved my life several times because if you are attentive and follow your ears you will pick off enemies before they get you.

I have six hours of gameplay under my belt in solo mode.  There is enough in this game to like and get out of in solo mode that I could cautiously endorse a purchase but not at full price. Look for the GMG VIP sales and things of that nature.   The game shines the most in good co-op and team situations like  you would expect but Ubisoft absolutely needs to fix the critical hacking plaguing its online or this very ambitious title will meet the same sad fate that Rainbow Six Siege is facing right now and that would be an appalling and needless waste.

I am tempted to say that this game is still in Beta phase and they should have cooked it for another six months and brought it out as a big Holiday 2016 title because of some of the egregious online issues. The jury is out and it’s because of that I am going to wait for a few weeks before firing off a final review.

I would score this game 3/5 stars right now if I had to force the review out today which is a shame given the scope, the ambition, and things it does right.

I am hoping in the next few weeks or so I am able to come out with a review with at least a 4/5 star situation which is what I hoped and expected to give this.

The Division Screenshot 02

I was able to get some good feedback from at least one person who is way ahead of me in this game.

Take this for whatever it’s worth but what I’m seeing here definitely jives with what I have been picking up everywhere:

He wrote:

“Just did the Challenge daily. Took 3 hours! It was very intense and yes very bullet-spongy.

For the time it took, it would be more efficient to just farm DZ and according to Reddit the Challenge Modes only giving out ilvl 30 High-end whereas you can find 31+ in the DZ.

So honestly I think it’s safe to say Challenge Modes are NOT efficient for gear farming, at all. I won’t bother doing more without a premade group.

I am at 25 hours total according to UPlay.”

I wrote and asked:

“I have about 6 hours into the game and haven’t made it into the Dark Zone yet.

As someone who is obviously a bit ahead of me in the game…. what say you about the status of the online and hacking complaints? Is this game headed for disaster or is this recoverable?

What are you all seeing?

Anyone feel free to answer of course.”

His answer:

“Having a hard time unlocking the weapon/armor bonuses because they require specific health/tech values and I’ve just been stacking firearms.

Pro-tip on gear: Focus on superior quality (purple). Most of the yellows (high-end) you find will be GARBAGE.”

Good tips and then he wrote directly to me:

“I have done precisely zero PvP.

Everyone in the DZ has been very cooperative so far. Nobody has fired a single shot at another player, everyone I pass asks me to group up.

So yeah the DZ is not a PVP zone despite how it was marketed. Going Rogue is actually pretty stupid.

As for hacks — from what I’ve read, nothing has changed from the beta. Even your ammo is still stored clientside. Just ridiculous, Ubisoft… “

This is more specific and meaningful and he definitely corrobates and confirms tons of feedback I’ve been cataloging. Thanks Tainted!


3 Comments on The Division PC Early Impressions

  1. Interesting. It’s funny you mention third person, I guess I forgot it was that way which is great for me, as I typically prefer TPS games.

    I wasn’t super impressed by the beta, but I feel like the atmosphere was just really lacking with it. I’ll be buying the game now anyway, hopefully issues will be sorted out soon!


  2. I’m playing on Xbox One and have loved every minute so far. The beta was great and I have registered much game time as of yet that goes beyond what I accomplished in those three days but I’m looking froward to exploring what this game has to offer. Times Square and Central Park here I come


  3. I’m enjoying the PS4 version a lot, certainly way more than I did the beta. Haven’t ran into any issues yet.


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