The Division 2 Hands-On

It turns out that no matter how bad things are, some people will thrive. Some of these are good, some of these are not. Your job as an agent is to take down the ones who are not. In this case, some thugs have killed a slew of innocent people and then taken refuge in an run down building, and a plane wreck.

This is how the demo to The Division 2 started. You start by having to scope out the building in front of you, relying on your squad to back you up and watch what you can’t see. As I jumped from one piece of cover and sprinted to the next one thing became immediately apparent. The flow of the game feels much faster.

It’s not that the first one felt bad; just that it felt sticky sometimes when moving. That is a distant memory now, a problem that this sequel just doesn’t have. Running around feels much slicker this time, more efficient, just generally more pleasant.

The demo had the team at level 30 in order to get a feel for the late game characters. I got to play as a Sharpshooter. Equipped with a semi-automatic rifle and a sniper rifle, my role was to take people out without ever being seen, which just happens to be my favourite way to play. Not only where the weapons perfect, but the special ability was incredible. I could send out a drone to attack the enemies, which was great for two main reasons.

First of all, if I sent it after an enemy then they would eventually end up dead. That meant I could send it after anyone advancing on my position and focus on the biggest threats. It meant that I could take my time to line up decent shots and worry less about my squad supporting me as I looked after them. Secondly, if one of the baddies had taken refuge behind cover, I could scare them right out of there because the drone could get a good angle. This changed the tactics available to me personally. In a group, this kind of thing will unlock countless different strategies.

The weapons themselves felt responsive and powerful. It is still an RPG with damage being chipped away, but a head shot with the sniper rifle nearly always spelled the end for an enemy. During my playtime my team came across two boss level enemies, while they felt a little bullet spongey they weren’t so impervious that they felt unreasonable. These usually led to the entire unit combining fire on the one enemy, at which point they actually went down fairly quickly. After all, it is a game about team work.

I didn’t get much chance to play around with the equipment system this time but there was plenty of loot to be had. Good news for anyone who loves the grind. There was little to be gleaned from the demo about the story setting or the PVP, but I can definitely say that it builds upon how fun the first game was to play and improves it.

It is easy to be sceptical about sequels these days, after all sometimes they feel more like a small step up than any great stride. The Division 2 certainly feels like a big step forwards, assuming that the other aspects of the game are brought forwards as well then this will be one of the best shooters around when it releases.

Jason Coles

Updated: Sep 27, 2018

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