When it comes to looter shooter (or cover shooter as in this case) the assessment of the title under consideration requires a very careful and accurate reflection, almost maniacal of everything that can and should keep the user glued to the title in a much longer than normal.
The Division 2, without if and without but, is now the best exponent of the genre with regard to the last year, winning hands down the direct comparison with Anthem.
Seven months after the events in New York told in the first chapter of the franchise by Massive Entertainment, Washington DC is the center of the action. The cold and muffled snow of the Big Apple has given way to the green and uncultivated summer vegetation of the capital of the district of Columbia. Under the blazing sun and under the gaze of President Lincoln sunk on his marble throne at the National Mall, the player will face the political and military anarchy that infests Washington, recovering, neighborhood after neighborhood, control over the territory. Bands of criminals and more, will make your life in that of the U.S. capital very difficult, preventing you from taking the trip of The Division 2 as a beautiful trip in midsummer.
Narratively speaking, we are in front of the biggest rock of the title Ubisoft, as it was for the first chapter, even in The Division 2 the fragmentation of the plot through a narrative left to understand and never too thorough prevents the player to empathize with their alter ego. The feeling playing the title is to be in front of a large impressionist picture aesthetically striking, but that is difficult to understand. The consequences of the virus, the lives of the survivors, the state of the Division, are all elements that must be sought as in a treasure hunt through collectibles and other devices sown throughout the map. A little mole that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth since, thanks to the experience accumulated with the first chapter, you expected more from Massive Entertainment.
So if from the narrative point of view The Division 2 loses a few small strokes, it is from the side of the gameplay and the infrastructure of the game that the title excels showing its muscles. The shooting is pleasant, varied and solid; the excellent foundations of the first chapter are perceived and the increase in gadgets available to the player mean that the strategic approaches increase out of all proportion by offering not only excellent glimpses of military tactics but also fun imaginative solutions to entertain less hardcore players. So if the development of the player up to level 30 (the level cap) is distracted between what we learned to know well in the first chapter, it is in the endgame that everything changes. Every activity, including fortresses (complex dungeons designed to offer the best rewards to the player) will be reset and raised in the level of difficulty.
The trick used – that of the arrival of a new elite faction – will then give you reason to return to complete the activities to find the best loot, the end game, pushing your skills to the limit. In addition to level design, which in this second chapter is masterfully exalted, are the specializations the real novelty. Specializations are a system that can only be activated when you reach the level cap that will allow you to further stratify your strategies, allowing you to choose a style of play rather than another: Sniper, Survivor or Demolisher, this is the choice to which you will be subjected. Each with a unique weapon available (sniper rifle, crossbow with explosive bullets, grenade launcher) and a lot of skills that can stratify your approaches, unlockable through a new progression linked to the endgame.
The choice of playing on a double thread, pre and post end-game, is probably the keystone to victory. Massive Entertainment has been able to build on past experience, listened to the community, and offered players a product that offers enough content and out-of-scale solutions for what is normally a title on this bill: “take it and learn it all” would almost say. Also from the point of view of PvPvE content or Black Zones (there will be three in this chapter) The Division 2 proposes what was the latest version of the Black Zones of the first chapter, expanding the difficulty, variety of dungeons and possibilities between the two areas, but also supporting all the suspense that characterizes the gameplay within these special areas. The tension caused by meeting other players in the Black Zones is not comparable to anything else in the gaming landscape, knowing that an ally could betray you at any time to steal your loot, or vice versa the manhunt that is created when you play dirty, surprising you your “allies”, is still one of the best feelings of recent years.
Where the title is a bit ‘claudicant is in the purely PvP side, this new introduction for the series is an experiment not fully successful, the nature of The Division 2 in fact seems too tied to the loot and the component PvE to offer a high competitive level in modes that are part of the common imagination of PvP. It’s certainly not a rejection, but a small stumbling block in our opinion that can be remedied through the introduction of less “classic” and more entertaining modes, perhaps marked to break the tension of the more traditional routines of The Division 2. From the technical point of view instead we are faced with a solid proposition of the Snowdrop Engine that boasts excellent stability framerate side and that has as its only defect an accentuated problem with pop-up textures. What really remains impressed is the artistic direction of the title that enhances the views of Washington DC, allowing you to recognize all those elements that characterize the U.S. capital, from Lincoln memorial, up to Capitol Hill, through Foggy Bottom.