The Division 2 Hands-on Preview: Killer Co-op Action

When you attempt to conjure a picture in your thoughts that sums up The Division 2, the upcoming second installment in Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment’s RPG/shooter sequence, the very first thing you consider in all probability isn’t an underground automobile park in the midst of Paris. That is, nonetheless, precisely the place we went for a preview occasion of the sport in the course of the chilly snap on the finish of January.

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Improbable as it might appear, this subterranean construction that after housed stationary automobiles was reworked right into a post-apocalyptic bunker of kinds, with journalists from across the globe huddled round transportable heaters in between hands-on periods with The Division 2. Den of Geek was dropped into an early stage of the sport on an Xbox One X. Picking up after the prologue (which we didn’t get to see), we had been greeted by an ethereal montage of clips and ideas, which set the stage properly and recapped the state of the world.

Seven months after illness introduced society to its knees, Washington, the brand new stomping floor for this sequel, is split between good folks who need to rebuild and a triumvirate of avenue gangs that need to rule the chaos. One of those gangs is trying to take over the White House, which is at the moment housing a sizeable group of well-meaning survivors, and that’s the place the model new participant character is available in.

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Having chosen a personality design we had been pleased with (there appears to be an infinite array of skins, spanning female and male choices), we had been dropped right into a easy mission: attain the White House and defend it from these marauders. The sport, assuming you already know the ropes, throws you straight into fight. There’s no ready round, which is okay by us.

It shortly turns into obvious that, whether or not you’ve performed the primary sport or not, you’ll need to stick near cowl always. Whichever weapons and expertise you’ve acquired – and there does appear to be a great deal of them, spanning acquainted old-faithful choices from the primary sport and heaps of contemporary concepts – operating straight in direction of your enemies hardly ever ends properly. A gung-ho method results in your loss of life just about each time.

You’ll need to keep hidden, inching nearer to your enemies and taking them down when the chance presents itself. Once you’ve familiarized your self with these mechanics, you shouldn’t discover it too arduous to halt the assault on the White House and put the group inside it relaxed. With that out of the best way, you possibly can have a look across the settlement, improve a few objects, and decide up your first correct mission. This job will ship you out onto the streets of Washington D.C., the place hazard is ready at principally each crossroads.

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Once you’ve fought and/or sneaked your means throughout city and made a fast pit cease at one other settlement (this one is an outdated theatre), the mission awaiting you is a enjoyable one: battle your method to the highest of a lodge, like a gun-toting reimagining of The Raid and take down a giant armoured baddie.

Fighting by means of the lodge’s numerous rooms and ranges offers a neat early check of the participant’s skills, in addition to exhibiting off some respectable graphics and imaginative mini-arenas. Some rooms are plagued by smash-able objects, whereas others present solely very restricted locations to cowl. You’ll end up shortly sizing up a location and speeding to one of the best defendable vantage level earlier than choosing off your enemies one after the other.

Playing as a member of the Division, after all, implies that you get an unlimited array of weapons and devices. There are some actually enjoyable ones (which we received’t spoil right here) that are available in very useful in tight spots. The devices aren’t all the time straightforward to regulate, although, it is value noting. You’ll additionally need to be careful for various kinds of enemies – some will keep at a secure sniper distance, whereas others will attempt to flank you and a handful of totally unhinged adversaries will dash straight to your location.

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The expertise you honed on the best way up are available in very useful on the lodge’s roof, as you group up with one other Division agent (and any on-line pals you may’ve introduced with you) to take down just a few waves of goons and their chief. He doesn’t go down straightforward and can stalk you across the map, so that you’ll need to transfer usually and preserve firing till his armor falls off. It took us just a few goes to get that bit proper, but it surely certain did really feel like an achievement – a triumph of the desire and of sheer techniques – after we lastly managed to place him down.

After a bit extra open-world exploration (there appear to be a great deal of facet missions to select up, and plenty of methods to help communities and save random strangers), it was time for one thing solely totally different: testing some endgame antics, which is able to preserve gamers occupied after they’ve accomplished the primary story.

As it seems, the endgame content material on The Division 2 will pit gamers (you possibly can play in groups of 4 by means of on-line co-op) in opposition to an evil group often known as Black Tusk. Remember in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation when Simon Pegg dubbed the Syndicate an “anti-IMF”? There’s an analogous vibe occurring right here, with the elite brokers of Black Tusk clearly supposed as the best problem but for the Division brokers. Random avenue thugs they aren’t, packing an arsenal of heavy weapons and a few very tactical pondering.

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In the endgame, you’ll have the ability to go to two new areas to battle Black Tusk, in addition to revisit earlier locales and missions which have now been invaded by these new villains. In our hands-on preview, we received to see some actually snazzy locations: one space had an underground nightclub really feel, with large flashing containers that change shade scattered round. In one other mission, we received to combat Black Tusk in a planetarium’s picturesque observatory. Certainly, these skirmishes threw up new issues to unravel, they usually felt appropriately totally different from the White House and lodge battles we’d tried in the primary sport.

Again, the issue was pitched excellent, with a few casualties (quite than a frustratingly large quantity) occurring alongside the best way to our eventual victory. Playing as a co-op group of 4, which you are able to do on any of the missions within the sport, we had been capable of revive one another in occasions of want and chat over headsets. Well, in our case, the chat primarily consisted of swearing and apologizing.

The co-op missions we tried had been full of loads of enemies, quite a few eye-catching environments, and simply the correct quantity of problem to maintain us engaged however not irritated. There had been plenty of several types of hazard peppered all through, from foot-soldiers to drones to sizeable armored adversaries, and this selection stored us on our toes. We by no means felt overpowered or overstocked with ammo, and we are able to think about ourselves diving into these co-op missions time and again within the hope of correctly mastering them.

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The endgame content material appears equally satisfying for pals to sort out collectively, particularly with the totally different lessons of character you possibly can choose at this stage. In the endgame, you possibly can both be a health-happy Survivalist, a bomb-chucking Demolitionist, or a sniper-wielding Sharpshooter. Black Tusk could also be fabricated from robust stuff, however you’ve received loads of choices on the subject of taking them on.

There had been just a few moments throughout our time with the sport wherein The Division 2 didn’t fairly really feel totally polished, however maybe that’s to be anticipated in a pre-release construct of the title. The body charge wasn’t all the time high notch and among the dialogue felt fairly stilted, and you can argue that the world doesn’t really feel all that life like on condition that the apocalypse is barely presupposed to have began seven months in the past, however there actually weren’t any deadly flaws right here that put us off the sport.

If something, our essential takeaway from this demo is that it made a really robust case for The Division 2’s existence. The earlier sport within the sequence might not appear that outdated, particularly given all of the post-release assist it acquired, however the large new world and all of the contemporary toys in The Division 2 – together with all these enjoyable co-op missions – make this really feel like a crucial new entry to the Tom Clancy gaming franchise. And with the addition of Black Tusk, this sequel is bound to problem avid gamers in ways in which The Division did not.

We sit up for taking part in the entire thing, within the hope that just a few of the kinks shall be ironed out and that the weather we loved shall be stitched collectively properly. The Division 2 is about for launch on March 15 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. In the meantime, you’d higher put together your self for some killer co-op motion. 

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