Tom Clancy’s The Division puts players into the shoes of an elite team who are called to New York City after a virus outbreak has left the place in ruins.
Gangs run the city now, supplies are thin and local law enforcement is in a mess. As a sleeper agent awaken, your overall mission to is restore order. In this open world MMORPG, most of your time is spent running from place to place via a very pretty GPS guidance system, shooting any pack of gang members along the way to liberate the building, secure the supplies or just clean out the riff raff.
Unfortunately, this monotonous mechanic gets old quickly. Thankfully there has been a degree of thought put into the battlegrounds many of these events take place. Your character can dive for cover and sneak into position, or go running in guns blazing if you have enough ammo and health packs. Controls take some getting used to. There are a couple of radial menus that pop out, one for the left side of the controller the other for the right. Setting up a particular item or weapon to use quickly is key to winning, make sure you always have a grenade or health item on hand for quick use.
Tom Clancy's The Division
As soon as the action begins, all too often the action is gone and you’re running off to the next icon in the beautifully rendered city to restart the process. The lack of variety in these firefights is apparent very quickly, more so when you’re tasked to bring down a leader (or a “boss”). Often times you have no idea if the guy you’re shooting at is the boss. The mission just ends, and you’re able to loot bodies and move on.
All missions need to be selected via a menu. Doing so will set up your handy GPS and point you to the location you need to get to. There’s a lot of running around from mission to mission and sadly not a lot of variety or the sense of exploration to find hidden things in between. You simply run back and forwards around the city looking for people to shoot.
Much of this can be done solo. Ignoring the online elements is more than acceptable, I recommend it for those who want more of a classical take on the third person shooter genre. In fact, playing alone allows you to really appreciate some of the finer points of combat. With a team of people hoping to get the best loot or quick experience, firefights can be over before you realise they start. Going solo usually as you teamed up with useless AI players in these missions, but gives you more pause to use the stealth features.
Levelling up your characters is important, and you can do this with ease by following the side missions that aren’t tied to the overall story. Failure to do this shows the games’ unforgiving difficulty curve. If you’re a level or two behind your enemies, expect to die again and again until you give up and put some time into grinding. The enhanced weapons you pick up along the way don’t really make up for your laziness in letting your level slide, so be warned.
Still, I can’t get past the lack of variety. It’s The Divison‘s missed opportunity. This would’ve been better as a standalone shooter. Or a really badass Splinter Cell. As an MMO, I don’t feel it works as well as they hoped. Perhaps the game was just too ambitious, rendering the city and the grimy storyline got in the way of a truely enjoyable MMO experience filled with endless possibilities. If the point was to create a linear MMO, the nail has been hit on the head, however that may just be too big a contradiction to work.
There is fun to be had in The Division, but it should’ve been contained in a more focused package. There is some hope in the promise of post-release content support. Certainly, the potential for something great is there. Without variety, the player engagement that is so important to success in the MMO space is sorely missed.

Editor's Rating

Presentation 8.5
Gamplay 7.5
Engagement 6.5
Overall Impression 7.0
Tom Clancy's The Division is an MMORPG Shooter with a heaping bucket of potential, held back by its reliance on samey missions and unimaginative side-quests.
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Ty Muddle

Ty Muddle

I cut my gaming teeth on a Commodore 64 my siblings and I found stashed under my parents bed. It was the early 90's and the strange computerised images were a novelty for a young kid living in a rural Australian town. It would be some years before I was introduced to a simple word processor powered by a Apple II my grandfather found at the dump but it didn't take much to spark a love of writing and video gaming that would continue through my life. My first "modern" console was, like most people in Australia at the time, a Sega Master System II. In those days you'd hire games from the local video store. I always loved flipping to the back of the game manual to see the cheat codes other players would scribble in the "Notes" section.

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