Author's Note: It's really impossible not to draw comparisons between Tom Clancy's: The Division and Destiny as I worked my way through the beta. How many other open world shooting based RPG's have we seen the past couple years? I'm saying this because to truly give my thoughts on this game, I need some sort of measuring stick to draw comparison to. Don't worry Destiny won't be the only game I beat up on...just know I'm not bashing for bashings sake.
I knew nothing about The Division's story going into the beta...after 13 hours I can tell you this.
- There's a virus hurting people
- It's in NYC
- There's bad guys with guns trying to keep the virus going around? I don't know why it seems like everyone should want this not to happen.
If I had to make an assumption I would think the bad guys in The Division are some sort of terrorists...but really they just seem like 20 something white trash dudes who are hell bent on sitting in contamination zones and stopping the world from getting better. They hurl insults such as "Hell yeah drop this bitch" and "yo get that bitch" as they run at armed players with baseball bats. I'm sure if I researched the story I would understand it more, but then again I shouldn't have to research a video game story to get it.
Just one more thing on the swearing...it's like the game script dialogue was written by a 14 year old fresh out of his first rated R experience. Everyone is always "bitch" this and "shit" that and sometimes it doesn't even make sense! Also all the soldiers in the safe zones are always hell bent on telling me how they don't envy me going into battle. Who says that to an armed service man? Truthfully it was so bad that I noticed, but after a while it just made me laugh about how corny it was and I began to even enjoy it a little.
The Beta allowed you to complete two of the opening main story missions, and a handful of side missions. The first mission (both are rescue missions) I went it alone. There were a couple times I died due to getting flanked, but things eased up significantly when I realized I just needed to trick the enemies.
While I will say the enemies in The Division are significantly smarter than Destiny, they're still pretty dumb. There would be times where three AI's would have me dead to rights in a corner and one would spontaneously dive off his balcony to find cover after catching a stray bullet...only to bound back up the staircase into his original spot. Open world AI still has a ways to go in that regard.
Touching on controls and responsiveness it all takes a little bit of getting used to. If there was a crouch button I never found it. This means when in a firefight you have two options...
- Hold a button to move to your next designated cover and if you release the button before arriving you will immediately stop and stand straight up...
- Run standing completely upright and duck behind your next cover.
The cover system seems almost entirely lifted from Splinter Cell: Blacklist so I don't know why we can't crouch in this game when outside of cover, but it would be a welcome addition to the gameplay and would make navigating much easier in fights.
Outside of that complaint I was a fan of the button layout and once you get used to the way you move in cover it's not too bad.
Story Missions: Good Alone...Better In Group
Here's a big plus in The Divisions favor over Destiny. When I used to party up for missions in Destiny it was never a team effort. There was the guy only there to meet his quest requirement for the day, the one who wanted to speed run through and gank as much XP for themselves, the guy who had no idea what was going on...etc.
In The Division those guys tend to die...a lot. I really appreciated that. After a couple kills from running ahead, Mr. eager beaver is much more willing to stay back and participate in the active firefight. It forced a team aspect that became a natural team aspect once everyone got with the program. Overall I would say team effort is the best way to tackle the story missions. You COULD do it alone...but some areas would be incredibly difficult without people. Luckily it's more or less you just need more warm bodies to shoot guns...no real communication required.
One weird thing is once you complete a mission with your team...you all are still banded together until you actively decide you want to disconnect. This means my free roam mode was three other rando's free roam mode. It never really got intrusive or hindered the experience...just was sometimes odd when I was in a computer firefight in a side mission and one would Tarzan in guns a blazing out of nowhere.
A lot of that had to do with there not really being anything to do in free roam outside of going to the extraction zone...which why would you? Expansive and open world as it is, there's a lot of barren going on in The Division. Occasionally you stumble across two baddies mugging someone, or some gangs in an ally...but that's about it. I would hope this aspect is a little more fleshed out in the final version.
The other aspect of Free Roam is the extraction zone. Here you can get cool loot, and also kill other people for their loot by "going Rogue". There wasn't really a lot of cool loot to grab in the Beta and usually not a lot of Rogue going in my experience. I wouldn't really have categorized it as "fun" because 9/10 times it would be me and four friendly guys lighting up some douche trying to grief. Other experiences where it was more rogue than friendly I just left because it just basically felt like friendly fire was on. Wasn't a big fan of that experience.
This didn't feel like a beta really. It felt like a game demo that was a glorified advertisement for the game. I never felt as though I was being told "remember to find exploits" as much as "oh you can't play this right now...damn....WOULD YOU LIKE TO PREORDER?!" That aside, a lot of this game has potential to be great, but in no way do I know if it will be based off what I've seen so far. We still have yet to see multiplayer, missions more fleshed out than search and rescue, and an expansive world really put to use.
There's a lot here that could put it above Destiny....let's just hope there's a lot more than what's in The Beta. I give it an average experience overall, and hope the final product has a lot more to bite on.