Review of The Division 2 game - a post-apocalypse better than in Fallout
Games in the form of an online service don't need frequent sequels, just constant updates and a good balance. However, when certain elements require a really thorough redesign, when you need to gain the sympathy and trust of players again - a fresh start is better than a large patch. The Division 2 very well used another chance for an online looter shooter in a realistic setting and the game only seemingly is "one" in a new environment. The creators took a lot of comments to heart and you can see that this time they did their best, filling the map with inventive content and making various adjustments to the combat mechanisms and the operation of the equipment.
However, whether or not we like the cover shooter genre and the pursuit of better and better loot, the first impression of The Division 2 will give us a shocking and terrifyingly real vision of a fallen city . Virtual Washington after the biological apocalypse looks simply amazing - just like New York in "number one", this city is the main character of the game. The diversity of locations and the multitude of details make you want to look into every corner of the huge map , and various secrets and loot make exploration fascinating and satisfying at the same time. All this means that the game, designed mainly for online co-op, tastes best for several dozen hours during a slow, lonely, extremely atmospheric game .
It is a pity that it does not go hand in hand with a serious, addictive story , but it is hard to find one when the main character does not say a single word. Compared to the first part, there is no improvement in this matter, because in The Division 2 most improvements took place under the hood and in endgame content. Despite the new activities, however, it hurts the lack of a sensational survival mode from the "one", especially since the endgame itself works a little better in a team game, so far not offering too much to loners. The overall atmosphere of the game is also a very important change, which for many people may be hard to swallow. Winter landscapes and the first shock after the biological apocalypse gave way to a truly madmax battle for the city in summer heat. However, I did not feel that the atmosphere became worse or better - it is just a bit different - and I think the game needed such a change.
Washington in The Division 2 differs from New York from the "one" not only by the time of the year. It is a completely different city in terms of buildings - without skyscrapers, claustrophobic streets, but much more diverse . The vast open spaces around government buildings and museums in central The Mall look different, differently from the historic Georgetown townhouses, where the map looks a bit like New York, and yet another experience is provided by Roosevelt Island with areas so forested that the game almost looks like Ghost Recon Wildlands . Thanks to this, even a large number of copy-paste objects cannot be stamped and each street gives the feeling of a constant wandering through new areas.
The map has become a little less vertical. We run more "across the field", but this does not mean that we will not find places to walk on the roofs - especially in the western part. Fortunately, the more extensive terrain did not make us play in a boring void. The number of details, objects and various rubbish at every step is almost stunning, especially when we take into account that we are dealing with a huge, open map without any loading screens, and not with a narrow corridor to pass.
Famous, well-recreated locations such as The Mall, Capitol and Lincoln's Mausoleum make an impression, but it is in the regions associated with the apocalypse that graphic designers showed true artistry . The crashed Air Force One plane in front of the Parliament building or the yellow-dusted DC-62 district of Georgetown in the Dark Zone are some of the best spots I've ever seen in a game. The climate, deer and ubiquitous vegetation bring to mind the movie I'm a Legend starring Will Smith, but Washington in The Division 2 is much grimmer and scary.
It is the locations as such, in the absence of interesting heroes and stories, encourage you to go through the story campaign. The scenery in the museums of aviation and aeronautics or American history are so inventive and sensational that later you just want to see where the next adventure with shooting will take us. And between missions it is worth checking every corner of streets and buildings, because the authors hid there not only a huge number of chests with better and better equipment, but also collectibles, secret stashes , and even miniquests , tips that are in vain to look for on the map!
All of this makes exploration really interesting and worth the time spent on it. We always come across something, loot something and see it - without the painful obligation to farm resources or equipment. The only thing you can fault is that the collectibles are not very interesting anymore. Echoes (i.e. holographic projections from the past) and audiologs do not document the destruction of the city, but some internal conflicts of the fighting factions, sometimes only telling interesting stories of civilians. Unnecessarily, there were also typical ubisoft collectibles, meaningless for the gameplay and the plot, probably only to annoy us with some statistics that are not one hundred percent.
Olimp in fire
Uninteresting audiologs are probably the result of the plot itself and the transfer of the place and time of the action. Virus diffusion and the annihilation of humanity are a thing of the past. Civilian life now goes on in fortified enclaves. In the streets, everyone is hostile to each other and tries to take over the metropolis. There is a bloody war over Washington, and we are on one side. You can see a repetition of the first part here, because we have to recruit important people to develop our base again , you can also see inspiration from The Walking Dead series . We are like Rick Grimes rebuilding civilization with bloody methods, and the characters in the game simply call us the new sheriff in the city.
It is a pity that the authors had a fantasy when designing hostile factions. Only one of them seems quite credible - the paramilitary True Sons militia. In addition, we also have a bunch of madmen straight from Mad Max , "city elves" with bows, and cyborg-people with technology just after the end of the world that superpowers did not even dream of in the times of prosperity. In this respect, "Jedynka" was probably a bit more atmospheric, even if it was not so colorful.
Thanks to civilian settlements, proper side missions have finally appeared - it is there and in various hidden places on the map that NPC characters commission them. These tasks have a story background, specially prepared locations and usually offer some interaction with civilians who repair their posts, talk to each other, hug, rejoice, and sadden, bringing a lot of life and naturalness to ordinary missions . Side quests known from the first part, i.e. several of the same activities served over and over in each district, have now become random events while exploring the open world. Despite the fact that when liberating a given district, we usually have to complete one of them, their randomness and optionality means that you do not feel their repetitive character at all.
Despite the poor plot or the heroes of this unique war for Washington, I have the impression that for some players it is the first few dozen hours with this title and getting to know everything will turn out to be more interesting than the endgame , consisting mainly of repeating the same missions on an exorbitant level of difficulty. The story campaign in The Division 2 is a bit of a singleplayer asylum in an online co-op game after all , and the 30 hours or more it takes is a pretty good result.
I shoot for loot ...
Whether alone, in co-op, in the plot or in the endgame - shooting is an inseparable part of every mission, and in The Division 2 the combat has had several significant changes. The authors promised to remove the impression that the enemies were missile sponges, and they generally succeeded, at least in the story campaign. Fire exchanges are now longer thanks to a greater number of enemies with the weakest (red) health bar, who often flank us aggressively. However, you still have to load a lot of missiles into the strongest "yellow" enemies, and the "reds" can also seem strong when we are just developing the equipment on the next difficulty level in the endgame. It is worth mentioning that The Division offers clashes with really great artificial intelligence, which you will not find in other games - from the aforementioned flanking "weaknesses", to medics healing killed companions, to acting almost like players of Hunters! Opponents force us to constantly hide behind covers and at the same time encourage us to change them regularly with considerable mobility and gadgets.
Endgame - the dark side of the Black Tusk invasion
A good set of equipment will be useful in the endgame, which, at least in its initial phase, is a journey through the increasing difficulty levels of the game world, which means increasingly stronger opponents. The creators announced a solid improvement here and basically basing all the fun on the stage after the story, but some of their ideas probably do not come true. The end of the story campaign and character level 30 marks the invasion of a completely new faction of enemies on Washington - the Black Tusks - and generally it was not done half-heartedly. A well-equipped army fights on the streets with other groups, recaptures the posts we have already captured - you feel that the battle has broken out again and the game world is dynamic. In the replays of the story missions "taken over" by Fangs, there is not only a simple substitution of opponents. The creators have prepared a completely new voice narration, other bosses, helicopter landings or a small change of activities during the task.
However, when we do everything from the fairly short path planned by the authors, there is a certain lack of satisfaction. The Black Fang missions are disappearing. There are only reruns of their traditional versions, hunting for minibosses scattered around the map, taking over outposts in a circle of changing owners and waiting for what is to be added one day. Apparently, there is still a lot to do , especially if we look for secrets hidden on the map and complete long-distance challenges, but there is very little repetitive activity that always has a slightly different course - as in the underground and survival modes from the "one", which are unfortunately absent feels strongly . You can also feel that the endgame is more focused on a team game , because many challenges or even important targets to hunt have the highest difficulty level set on a rigid basis, which limits the access of loners from the spot, especially when equipment is still being completed.
Obsession with the circle
The Division 2 makes a good first impression, but a weak emphasis on the story and maybe a bit too similar to the previous part of the cycle are not the only drawbacks here. The large variety of locations during story missions makes it impossible to think that each task is based on only one pattern - firing all enemies in the room and moving to the next one . In a way, this simplicity is forced, because each mission can be repeated endlessly on a different difficulty level with a different number of people. So I am even more curious what the Swedes will show in the upcoming cooperative rally for as many as eight participants.
Even though the game is in a much better technical condition than the beta version, small bugs still happen , such as server lagging, lack of movement or opponents sliding on the sidewalks. The game interface is also annoying. The creators improved resource gathering and now you can do it on the run, but for some reason any other action of pressing the action key requires a long wait. Crafting gear, scrapping it, donating resources to civilians, claiming a reward for a completed challenge - all this means staring at the circle of progress .