Sitting at a solid rating of 80 on Metacritic, Tom Clancy’s The Division found initial success with gamers, even though the plot, content (or lack thereof), and actual gameplay left quite a bit to be desired. Be that as it may, Ubisoft decided to give it another go with Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, this time dropping players into the post-apocalyptic metropolis of Washington D.C.
However, is The Division 2 - which currently has a Metacritic rating of 81 - even worth your time, especially if the first game left a lukewarm impression on you? While not a complete overhaul, The Division 2 improves upon the first game just enough to make it a more worthwhile investment than its predecessor.
One of the most significant improvements in The Division 2 is simply the fact that the game can be played as a single-player game more so than the original title. Yes, group play and matchmaking are certainly still hard-driving components of the overall experience, but playing alone is more achievable to do this time around.
However, the matchmaking system in The Division 2 has also seen a major improvement, making grouping up a much more manageable and pleasant experience, unlike the headaches that came with the first game’s matchmaking process. Whether you’re grouping up with friends or jumping in to help random fellow Agents, joining up with other players is a relatively quick and seamless process as you head off to take down swarms of enemies, of which there are plenty.
The first Division relied heavily on run-and-gun tactics, with bullet sponge enemies that were relatively immobile. The enemies in The Division 2 still soak up the bullets, but are now a bit more strategic in their combat intelligence, utilizing cover more effectively and flanking players when in larger groups. Not only does this enhanced AI make each firefight more interesting, but it also creates the need to enter each fight with a bit of strategy and you need to constantly be aware of your surroundings.
There is plenty to do within the open world setting of The Divison 2. Whereas the first game was a bit limited in terms of its side content beyond the main storyline, you’ll have a hard time being bored. The grindy, repetitive nature of The Division franchise continues with the sequel, but there are far more random encounters available than the first game. Without giving too much away, trust us when we say that you will want to visit the D.C. underground whenever you come across an entry point. You just might want to make sure that the room lights are on when you do so.
Staying within the realm of The Division 2’s setting, the overall environment has a more immersive feeling than the original game. Running around the streets of New York in The Division’s offered up a lot to take in, but there was never a feeling of a real sense of purpose. The Division 2’s environment provides plenty of sights to see while creating a more “alive” atmosphere, especially in regards to the settlements and communities that players can help rebuild. The settlement NPCs are still relatively cliché, but Ubisoft did well to give them a bit more life and purpose this time around.
Although the majority of The Division 2 improves upon the original game, one thing that hasn’t improved much, if at all, is the in-game menu and overall user interface. The scheme is nowhere near intuitive until you’ve spent a considerable amount of time getting used to the complex menu and all that it has to offer. Eventually, it becomes second nature, but an improved menu would have been a nice addition.
Ultimately, if you’re debating whether or not to pick up The Divison 2, you can rest assured that if you enjoyed the original game in any capacity, you’ll likely enjoy the sequel as much, if not more, thanks to the overall improvements to the game.