The end game may be lacking, but should scores for Tom Clancy’s The Division be penalized because of it?
Ask a number of The Division players how their time with the game is going, and you’ll more than likely hear a familiar theme throughout: ‘completed the story, got all Gold gear, hit level 50 in the Dark Zone…..now what?’ Similar to another loot grinder, Destiny, the end game content in The Division is severely lacking shortly after launch. As opposed to harvesting materials, The Division has agents mission farming in Challenge Mode to accrue enough Phoenix Credits for new gear and blueprints. Once you’ve gotten the best gear, players can use those same credits to change or reroll a single stat on said gear. Monotonous? You bet. Once the allure of new gear is removed from the equation, it is easy to see how tedious and dull the end game can become playing the same missions constantly.
But what about everything leading up to The Division’s end game? Amongst the backlash, critics appear to be overlooking that The Division’s main story component is quite enjoyable. Massive has created a world where players can progress either solo, with a group of strangers using The Division’s fantastic (though slightly obtuse at first) matchmaking system, or with three friends. If you want a bit of mischief, players can step into the Dark Zone for some PvPvE action for a nice diversion. The Snowdrop engine looks fantastic with some of the best graphics we have seen this generation (fire effects anyone?). The main storyline lacks depth, but the audio logs and ECHO’s — complemented by the stellar visuals in the snow laden, post-pandemic NYC — do a good job of painting a picture of what NYC was like shortly before and during the early goings of the outbreak.
In one ECHO, a scene plays out where two friends are out in the street having a discussion. One is now apart of The Cleaners — a flamethrower wielding group looking to burn and kill anything infected — and the other is an average Joe who unfortunately has come down with a cough. The average Joe is trying to plead his case saying its just his asthma and that he is not infected. He even pulls out his inhaler as proof. The Cleaner isn’t buying it, and proceeds to scorch his longtime friend alive. While a real-life pandemic is (hopefully) something I won’t be apart of, it is almost impossible to not examine your own morals and wonder: what would I think in that scenario? Would I give my friend the benefit of the doubt? Could I pull the trigger?
And let’s not forget the gameplay or character progression. As a third-person shooter, The Division makes use of the cover mechanics first championed by Gears of War. Though the shooting can feel off at times due to the lack of enemy reactions (think Shotgun to the face), the shooting remains enjoyable throughout the journey. Players can also make use of consumables to alter bullet types and gain other buffs such as extra damage to Elite enemies. With new loot found everywhere and unlockable skills that cater to very different play styles, you’ll have more than enough incentive to stick around until the end. Completing the main storyline and hitting LVL30 (while dabbling in the Dark Zone from time to time accidentally hitting level 23 along the way) took me around 20-25 hours. Looking at just the main story and not taking into account the end game, The Division was a very amusing experience. And based upon the amount of time I put in, those 20-25 hours were absolutely worth the $60 I spent.
Did you get your money’s worth out of The Division? Let us know in the comments below!