The Division: That concerned feeling is becoming infectious… - Games Weekly

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Division: That concerned feeling is becoming infectious…

Ubisoft is remaining tight-lipped about its next big open-world shooter. The Division has only been shown a handful of times since its original announcement at E3 last year, and while our last glimpse was encouraging, there are plenty of questions to answer after the shambles of Ubi’s recent releases.

Still, the story has huge potential. So far, we know that the game takes place three weeks after Black Friday in NewYork. On that day,a deadly virus was released, and in the days that followed, society collapse and chaos reigned. The president has invoked Presidential Directive 51, activating The Division a top secret unit of self supporting tactical agents.

At first, your goal will simply be survival. Your character has 72 hours of supplies, including food, water and gear. You’ll need to scavenge as much as possible to get by, picking up anything you can find that will be useful. Eating and drinking will play a part as you progress, so ensuring you have enough to get you through the day is essential. Air will bea commodity, too certain areas of the city will be so virulent that you won’t be able to enter until you have upgraded your gas mask. It seems that this will be Ubi’s way of controlling exactly where you can and can’t go as the game progresses, which is no bad thing. We’d much prefer this approach to the invisible walls of Far Cry 4, even if it does mean dying of a horrible virus.

The biggest question, perhaps, is the online aspect of the game. In early live demos, it was clear that the aim was to have you and your squad facing off against other online players as you came across them randomly in the huge game world. Think a post-apocalyptic GTA Online and you’re most of the way there. But there have been few mentions of the online components recently, leading many to wonder how much they will feature in the finished game.

Of course, it wouldn't be the end of the world (ha!) if you only had NPCs to fight as Far Cry 4 has proved, co-op gameplay in an open world is still great fun, even if there are only two people involved. Just think about how much fun you could have with four friends. Two and a half times the fun, that’s how much.
“Certain areas of the city will be so virulent that you won’t be able to enter until you have upgraded your gas mask”
Perhaps the bigger question is the release date.  The Division is slated for a Q3 release date, and as we slip into 2015, we’re starting to wonder why we haven’t seen more. Of course we may see a huge leap forward when the game is inevitably shown at E3 this year, but even then the game represents a huge challenge to the studio if it wants to meet fan expectations. Would you rather have a rushed version of game this year, or a stunning, platform-defining game after a six-month delay? After the launches of Assassin’s Creed: Unity and The Crew, we think we speak for everyone when we say the latter.

But based on what we’ve seen, The Division has huge potential. If the online is as good as the early demos suggest, the graphics are as slick as Ubisoft are promising and the frame rate doesn't fall apart in every gun fight, it could be one of the best games of the generation. That’s a lot of ifs, but even after AC: Unity, The Crew and Watch Dogs, we still believe in Ubisoft. They can’t let us down again… right?

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