First Impressions: Tom Clancy’s The Division
Tom Clancy always brings us a great and realistic world that pushes the limits of what we think is possible. A nuclear attack on a stadium? Check. A secret organization with solo stealth infiltrators? Check. A world war between the US, European Confederation and Russian Federation? Check. Can you imagine what would happen if a man-made pathogen escaped into our current world? How long until the hospitals become overcrowded? How long will supplies last if world trade stops? How long will order last, when food and warmth become scarce? What if the government created a self-sustaining unit that has the singular purpose to maintain order if such an event occurs? This is the premise of The Division.
You step into the shoes of a member of this unit. Your main task is to restore order. However you aren’t a splinter cell, who is the last line against all evil in the world and you aren’t just part of a team of ghosts, who have a lot of support. You are alone. Your role us insignificant, but your contribution is vital. You must live off the land. You have some supplies from the start, but you’ll need to search for supplies if you want to survive and restore order to a world ravaged by disease and crime. In order to do that you must use the various skills that you have access to. Some of them are an optical pulse (see through walls), automated turrets, seeker mines, a distraction device, a crowd control system, an adrenaline boost and team health boost. All of the more than 20 skills you have access to are not limited in use aside from a cooldown timer, with any 2 skills can be available at the push of the button.
The gameplay, that we have seen, seems to indicate that this game will be a standard third person shooter (look to the latest Ghost Recon game as the best example) with RPG elements including a numerical damage indicator, health bars over the heads of your opponents and allies alike and skill points that can be used to learn certain skills. The menu is fully in-game without breaking your immersion into this world. Some of the many feature include a Christmas mode, crafting and research system and a talents section with the latter being, probably, something that the player determines beforehand. There was no information on how these features would appear in game, but we can assume that they will have a standard RPG approach to these features – meaning that they will not be that different from RPGs that are already available. The world seems vast and full of things to do, to see and to explore. There will be events to complete, vendors to discover, infected people to deal with, group missions to undertake, wanted people to take down and key areas to secure and re-secure as they will not stay safe forever.
The game itself is promising, but Tom Clancy games are known for showcasing well developed, but limited characters and stories. Its not to say that they are bad in any significant way. However these games rarely explore the depths of their key themes: power, security and weaknesses that cause contingency planners of all sorts to loose sleep night after night. A good example is the Splinter Cell games. These games deal a lot with threats to the US and many of those threats are based on reality (though exaggerated greatly), but the Splinter Cell games never condone, comment or even give a full backstory to the causes of the threats. Its always the good guy doing whatever it takes to ensure that the threat is permanently terminated. The hope is that with this game we’ll see the enemy as living, thinking humans, who have real motivations behind their actions.
The final verdict for the E3 gameplay demo: generally positive with a 4.0 out of 5 on the GP scale. The demo showed off many of the great aspects of the Division and left us wanting for more. However I was also left with the impression that I may not become as immersed in the final game as I want to be because of a potentially limited story and enemies that seemed to absorb bullets, rather than get hit by them.