On March 1st, Ubisoft released the beta of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. Like its predecessor, this game contains an open world mode often referred to as free roam, and then there is more of a player versus player (PVP) mode in an area known as the Dark Zone. Before the events of the previous game, Division agents were normal everyday people who received special training and hid in plain sight until needed. The virus was such a time, and that mission continues into The Division 2. While the virus ravaging civilization was the focus of the first game, this one seems focused on trying to rebuild civilization. The White House really is the “People’s House” as it serves as a Base of Operation for the Division.
The beta lets you jump right in with a sort of an introduction into the basics, by having you run through a gauntlet of miscreants as you try to make it to the White House. While your instincts are for you to run straight down the middle, you may want to consider side routes and the effective use of cover. Making this a habit will serve you well in the many skirmishes to come. The Base of Operations contains multiple stations to support your missions, by allowing you to employ various weapons and abilities that can be used after foraging out in the District. The District is divided into several different areas that can be accessed based on your level. In the past version, you could wander into a higher level zone, if you were brave enough, but that spawn was normally measured in seconds upon encountering your first miscreant. In this version, you were spawned back to a base if you attempted to enter an area above your level.
There is no “I” in success and although you could attempt one of the side missions on your own, the two hours I spent trying to get through the last task for some of them was telling. When my crew was with me, the relative ease with which we completed several of the more difficult side missions made an indelible imprint on my psyche. So like the main missions, you may want to look for a companion to ride out the completion of your mission. To that end, you can use one of the matchmaking stations in any of the safe houses. After six or so hours grinding away this weekend, I still have a mission or two to go, so I have not made it into the Dark Zone yet, but to be honest, I am not much in a rush. In the previous version, I was mugged in less than a minute, so I will wait until my crew and I can level up sufficiently to not be bait.
At level 30, another game mode Endgame is opened. Endgame is where the specialist modes become available. I played for about an hour at the offered mission near Federal Triangle. In the specialist mode, you get an additional weapon slot for a total of four. The survivalist mode adds a crossbow. Hawkeye I was not, but using the crossbow was not difficult. Like the other modes, this one needs friends. It was interesting in this mode, the opponents were not untrained ruffians, but several squads of trained soldiers, with similar equipment to Division agents. Against my own counsel, I went in alone and died quickly. Again, there is no “I” in success, and I was not successful. While a challenge, I am not sure, this adds such a dimension that makes this much different than the previous. However, I still would want to go through with my crew, before passing final judgment.
As with any beta, it is not a complete representation of the game, but one bug that has significantly compromised the beta is the loss of sound and hit markers after playing for a while. It would not be obvious how significant those attributes can be to gameplay, but try playing without both for a while and you will know. Also, the bad guys’ strength seems not always to trend with the identified level, but that makes you have to be really careful as you forage through the streets of the District. Another issue for me was the call for help. When you needed help or were downed, there would be an option to request another Division agent to come to support you. In the past version, this function was useful and the location of the one in need obvious. In the beta, it was more an irritant, as I could never find who was calling for assistance and that explains why no one ever came when I called. I admit this could be that I overlooked some mixture of thumbstick-button sequence, but it shouldn’t be that hard to help a sister out.
It will be interesting to see if Ubisoft can resolve these issues by the release date, as one of my crew remembers the lack of sound being an issue in the last game as well. For the most part, there is nothing significantly new in The Division 2, except for the mission and the locale. The game website boasts of the new experience once an agent reaches level 30, which adds specialist abilities. It will be interesting to explore the Endgame mode a little more during the final beta day, but for now, this version like its predecessor is very pretty and full of things to do. The question is whether it is enough to warrant buying essentially the same game again. So, there you have it, a huge, I’m not sure, but should you see me in the Dark Zone, please don’t mug like you did the last twenty times. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is available for pre-order now and will be released on March 15, 2019.
E.Angel is an engineer and holds a BS in electrical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. In her spare time she works at her comic book store – Brainstorm Comics and Gaming – when she is not reading comic books. She’s a real nerd who loves all things Star Wars and Star Trek, and is an avid gamer. E.Angel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on either game platform as Bunnehs Sister.