Whether you’re looking at his literature or the video games he helped inspire, having the late Tom Clancy’s name on a product is supposed to be a seal of quality. There’s supposed to be a sense of prestige to it, the idea that it has met some high set of standards to be deemed worthy of bearing the name of the man who helped bring about Rainbow Six. Yet after twenty hours of playing The Division, you’d be forgiven for wondering just what it did right, in order to earn that stamp of approval.
Let’s get the obvious issues out of the way first of all: Yes, the graphics have been radically downgraded from the promotional material. Yes, Uplay has once again been tacked onto this game, causing no end of server crashes, and horror stories of players being locked out of their new purchase. Yes, the story is extremely sub-par, and is little more than a half-forgotten concession to those who enjoyed the sprawling storylines of prior Tom Clancy games. These are the big problems cited time and time again, but even if you were to stomach those flaws, you’re left with a bargain bin title any half competent developer could have squirted out in six months.
Within just a few hours, you’ll soon find yourself repeating the same mission types over and over again. While Ubisoft attempts to disguise this with slightly varying objectives or different names, each one can be boiled down to entering a building, killing everyone, murdering the one important guy with a name, and then grabbing some goods. No matter the role, whether it’s retrieving an objective or rescuing hostages, this is how things will always play out, and you’ll be sick to death of it in no time at all. Worse still, not only are the objectives bland but the enemy AI is utterly brain-dead, and they only manage to remain a threat thanks to some extremely bullet-spongy builds.
Even if you’re somehow willing to stomach all of that, skip nearly all of the content The Division offers in favour of the Dark Zone PVP system, you’ll be met with an environment which favours equipment over skill. It doesn’t matter how quick you are on the trigger, the guy with the bigger gun will always win.
This is ultimately a game which is bland at best. While it avoids committing some of the most egregious AAA sins of recent years, there’s no reward at the end for grinding you way through wave upon wave of mooks and it offers only a shallow, repetitive experience. Stick to Destiny for your MMOFPS fix folks, as there’s no fun to be found in here.
TOM CLANCY’S THE DIVISION / DEVELOPER: MASSIVE ENTERTAINMENT / PUBLISHER: UBISOFT / PLATFORM: PC, PLAYSTATION 4, XBOX ONE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW