The Divsion 2 Private Beta Hands-On Impressions – Familiar Construct

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After a few missions in The Division 2 private beta over the weekend, one thing was clear: Ubisoft Massive wasn’t deviating from what fans of the original loved for the sequel. Mind, this isn’t to say that The Division 2 is recycled or a copy and paste job since it isn’t, but everything so far has a very familiar feel — which is both good and bad.

From the moment you boot the game up, you’ll be greeted by the familiar circular loading shield that even has the same little trick wherein you can wiggle the right analog stick to make the circle wiggle as well. Once that’s done, you’ll see a familiar start screen where your character is showcased. It’s a case of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” which I can’t blame Ubisoft Massive for doing.

the division 2 beta ban

Get to Cover!

One thing I’m very happy that made a return from the original game is the cover system. If you’ve played The Division, you’ll find it hard to dispute how fantastic the cover system was. Going from one point to the next is done just by one button press (hold), and yes, you’re still sliding, hiding and ducking while doing this. It just feels tight, responsive, and super easy to use, that it’s baffling why not every third-person shooter doesn’t do this.

Of course, a good cover system won’t mean jack if the actual gunplay is terrible. In The Division 2, the gunplay felt similar to the first game, though it’s hard to judge it given we were only able to use a handful of weapons. There’s still a “squish” when hitting fatal enemy headshots, recoil is still present in weapons, though each weapon had a little bit too much familiarity with each one, which made changing weapons weird since some of them felt the same.

Speaking of the guns, one change that I didn’t like is how the DPS (damage per second), which is arguably each weapon’s most important stat, was absent in the beta. In the first game, the DPS number was the most important number when comparing weapons, and it’s weird why it wasn’t present in the beta, which made picking weapons a wee bit harder since you can’t just base it on raw damage alone.

Bigger, Meaner, and More of Everything

One thing that’s been made clear in the private demo? The Division 2 will have MORE of everything in the first game. There’s more side missions, more base-specific missions that will reinforce said base, more crafting items to find, more NPCs to interact with, and etc. In short: Ubisoft Massive tripled (guessing here) everything in The Division 1 to ensure players won’t be left wanting in terms of activities.

After experiencing the private demo, I’m ready to believe Ubisoft wasn’t lying when they said that the main campaign would last 40 hours long. Add in side missions, endgame content, PvP, and you’re looking at at least 80-100 hours of game time.

Another thing that feels more robust? Your character skills! While most of the skills and abilities were locked in the private beta, you can still see what they were, and what each variation can do on the battlefield. And let me tell you, there’s a bunch there that I can’t wait to try out with a full squad.

the division 2 coop gameplay

Lots of Questions

While we know a lot of stuff regarding The Division 2, there’s still a lot of questions left unanswered. Will bosses and endgame activities be engaging enough and not just push bullet-sponge enemies at us and mark it as a higher difficulty? Will the new structured PvP mode be accepted by the fanbase and what does this mean for the Dark Zone if more players preferred a structured form of PvP?

How will gear sets factor in, and how will downloadable content be rolled out? There’s a lot of stuff left unanswered, but I do know is that if you loved the first game (which I did), then chances are very high that you’ll love TD2. Some might feel it’s more of an expansion than an outright sequel, but we can’t say for sure based on the limited time and content we’ve experienced in the private demo.

Massive seems to be on the right track with The Division 2, and we’re hoping the purported open beta gives us a better sample size to bite out of.

The Division 2 private beta key provided by Ubisoft for preview purposes. Wasn’t able to play the endgame in the private beta due to technical issues (user end), but was able to squad up and tackle missions with a group.