Of the games I knew were coming out for sure this year, The Division 2 was, funnily enough, number two on my wish list. The first was Kingdom Hearts III because I am a huge fan. Hmm, that just gave me a random idea for a spinoff. Wouldn't it be cool if they expanded the mobile game, Union Cross, into a looter-shooter, or I guess in this case, a looter hack and slasher? That would be amazing, but I am getting way off track. The point is, I was incredibly hyped for The Division 2 and it did not disappoint. Well, in some ways it did, which I will get to in a few of my entries. Like most of these articles structured in this way, I will be discussing things I didn't expect be they good, or bad, along with offering tips that I missed in my initial hours that will surely help newcomers.
The fact of the matter is, The Division 2 can be confusing in that it introduces a lot, and I mean A LOT, of mechanics to you in a short amount of time. Things to keep track of that won't actually come into play for hours to come and by that point maybe you will have forgotten the core concept. For example, the game should have been more upfront about what you should do with your gear. There are other, better options you can do with unwanted items rather than selling them. What is that you may ask? You'll have to read on to find out.
25 Wait, What Happened?
The Division launched three years ago, to this exact month. So I’m surprised that the game just jumps you into the action and doesn’t spend any time explaining what the first game is about. Why would you play this game and not the first? I don’t know. Why would someone want to watch Ant-Man 2, the 20th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not any of the others? Again, I don’t know, but that experience happened to me via my friend who tagged along to the premiere. All I’m saying is this game needed a better recap.
24 Pay Attention To Backup Requests
Call me dumb, but at first, I thought random backup request notifications were from NPC missions since your robot operator tells you about them as they come in. About halfway through the game, I figured out they were real people. There is a lot to take in in terms of mission types and what unlocks what, so if you are like me, don’t feel ashamed. I am right there with you. If I am the only one then go ahead and laugh. At least I am contributing to your life somehow.
23 Break, Don’t Sell
Unlike Anthem, another recent looter-shooter, you get a lot of stuff in The Division 2. I mean A LOT! So the easy thing would be to sell it, right? True, but you'd be doing yourself a disservice. You can also break down weapons and gear to get crafting components. Settlement projects also ask for donations so it is a good idea to have some low-level backpacks just as an example. Money is always great too if you are in need of it, but keep these other two things in mind.
22 Back And Forth Forever
When you level up in this game your stats increase. Duh. The only way to get ability points for your two trees is by doing missions or finding drops. Once you get points to upgrade your body, or to get new gadgets, you have to travel all the way back to home base. It doesn’t work at any other safe zone, which is weird to me. It made me not want to upgrade at all, or, that is to say, I always forgot to go back. It is a hassle, to say the least
21 Be Sure To Mod It Up
Speaking of upgrades, there is another system that I always blanked on. Whenever I got a new piece of gear I slapped it on right away if the numbers looked good. The thing I constantly forgot to do was mod them, though. Simply hitting Square will take you to a sub-menu where you can equip additional parts to your heart’s content. That is, if you have mods. I should also mention that most gun mods could be used universally, which is a big plus.
20 Toggle Menu Narration
This is a very minuscule shock, but one that made me do a double take. When you start The Division 2, the in-game menu narration is turned on, which is great for disabled gamers. The text size, if you want subtitles, is terrible, so this is a great solution. I honestly don't know why subtitle size is still such a problem. That said I turned it off because I find it weird to have my menus narrated to me. Again though, it's a great idea for Ubisoft.
19 No More Snow Days
Even though I live in a snowy region, Minnesota, and thus get to see the white stuff more than half of the year, I did not expect myself to miss the snowy streets of New York City from the first game. Despite my lack of pleasure from the cold, I thought it was a great setting for a game. I know a lot of games have snow levels, but this was the entire thing. Washington D.C. looks plain by comparison. They should make a snow expansion.
18 Loads Outs Are Useless
There is a perk you can get that allows you to increase the number of load outs you can have at a time. Don't waste your points on these upgrades and don't waste your time on customizing load outs. Here is where the concept appealed to me. In the middle of battle, you may need to switch to a long distance form so a quick swap of load outs would be quicker than individually putting guns into your inventory, right? Unfortunately, you can't switch out loadouts in battle. What's the point of creating them then?
17 Get The Most From Your Guns
I could have mentioned this earlier in regard to mods, but I needed more space to explain exactly what this is. Have you come across a sniper rifle and liked the stats, but hated the fact that it zoomed in? I have had that problem. Here is the best thing though. You can take the scope off and voila; you got yourself a cool rifle! This process works in reverse too if you wanted to turn a normal rifle into a sniper rifle. Is this one too obvious?
16 Health First
SHD tech points are used to give your character perks. The first thing you should unlock is the second gun slot, allowing you to equip three guns at once. The next thing you should focus on is armor kits. The more points you pour into this perk, the more armor kits you can carry for a total of six. It’s also not a bad idea to then get the perk that restocks them automatically at safe zones. Trust me!
15 Leave The Animals Alone
I’m not against hunting animals. I love meat just as much as the next guy or gal. That said, I don’t want to hunt anything myself. I could never do it. I don’t care about game animals as they are just data, but I don’t actively hunt them either unless it is for something important. Unlike most Ubisoft games, shooting wildlife doesn’t net you crafting materials. I found that out the hard way, which made me feel incredibly guilty. I’m sorry The Division 2 raccoon!
14 Alone And Forsaken
Since this type of game is always online, I don’t mind playing with strangers. There were times in this game though that I wanted to do some things solo only to get my behind whooped every time. The deck feels incredibly stacked against you. I don’t think the AI system adjusts between one, or more players. If Ubisoft has come out and said it changes, well, then I call bull on that. Of course, this might just be a crazy conspiracy theory.
13 Fund Those Projects
Speaking of projects, the various settlements that you rescue will have side quests to take on. They usually have three tasks, which once completed, will not only boost that settlement but also give you huge rewards. Let's say one will want ten donations of steel, three backpacks, and ask for you to recover all of the SHD cache boxes in that area. That is just one example and they get more complicated over time. Always keep these projects in mind when you are out exploring the world.
12 What Story?
Since they do a poor job describing the plot of this universe, in the beginning, let me clue you in. During the run-up to Christmas, the busiest shopping time of the year, a virus was placed on cash so that people who touched money would get infected. It is interesting, to say the least, but the story really went nowhere in terms of developing likable characters, or an in-depth plot one would remember. I had hoped The Division 2 would offer more, like giving your character a voice, but I was sadly wrong. It may even be worse.
11 An Aggressive AI
The first game was challenging, but I really do feel like The Division 2 is harder. The enemies are increasingly more and more aggressive and they can come in from every angle. They may charge at you from the Northside for one fight and then creep up behind you in another. Cover is super important, but when they are unpredictable like that, it can get frustrating when they spam you from all sides. That is another reason why soloing it is just impossible at times.
10 The Division 1.5
For all intents and purposes, The Division was the first challenger to Destiny in terms of aping its design. While it was less fantastical, I actually liked The Division a lot more. There was just something about that third-person tactical action that really spoke to me. That is why I was so pumped for this game and while I like it, a lot, it is also a little disappointing. In a lot of ways, it feels more like The Division 1.5 than a true sequel.
9 Leveling The Levels
One of the more confusing aspects of this game is the leveling. Let me break every tier down for you. So each area of the game gives you a low and max level count of enemies like 5-8. In that area, they will then stop scaling with your level at eight. Story missions will not scale to you at all and will always be a set amount. Side missions, on the other hand, no matter what zone they are in, will scale with you. Does that all make sense?
8 A Whole New Empty World
One of the changes I was really hoping for in this game was how players populated the world. Sometimes you could see random people at home base, but usually, they were always only in Safe Houses, which weren't exactly the epitome of cool. They were small, cramped, and didn't feel like hubs. Once you left any of these two areas, the world would then only consist of yourself, enemies, and friendly NPCs. It felt empty and it is just as lonely in the sequel, unfortunately.
7 Call For Backup
Here is a helpful tip if your impending play session is going to revolve around cleaning up the map and/or side missions. As soon as you log in, make sure you signal for backup. You can do this by going into your player data and at the bottom it will ask if you want to call for backup. It takes awhile to get someone to respond, in my case at least, but eventually, someone will show up. Use that time with your partner well!
6 Work Your Zone
While it may be enticing to speedrun through the game via the story missions in the hopes of avoiding spoilers, don't. For one the story is so bland that there is nothing really to spoil. Two, if you streamline it you will be defeating the purposes of the game's core. What I found helpful was completing everything in a set zone before moving on. Because there is a lot of stuff to remember I found this way was a lot easier on my mind. That could be just my play style though.
5 The Weakest Link
As I said earlier, enemies can be overwhelming, especially when you are alone. Even in a group, they can get problematic, but I have a quick tip for you. While you may not fall into classes, enemies sure do. One of the earliest problematic types was the baton-wielding chargers from the Hyenas. If they bum rush you without your knowledge that was it. You were done for. Whatever your strategy, just be sure to be aware of these enemy call signs.
4 The Synth Vision
The one improvement I will give Ubisoft credit for is improving the music. I never thought I would be demanding the soundtrack when I walked into this game. It's so good! At times it reminded me a lot of Tron: Legacy in terms of the incredible synthetic beats. And yes, I do love that movie. It's insane Disney hasn't made a sequel yet. Anyway, the music really got my blood pumping especially in the heat of a really intense firefight.
3 It's Ugly At Times
This shouldn't have been this surprising to me since this is the launch window of an online game. Plus it is a Ubisoft open world experience. That is to say, there are glitches and texture pop-ins abound. Thankfully none of these things made my game crash so the glitches were always on the funny side of things like seeing a chair float around my cover point before launching into space. The same goes for environmental loads although it did make it creepy whenever it happened to people. It made the person in my screenshot look like she has some sort of disease not related to the green bug.
2 Xbox Is Better?
I bought my Xbox One on a whim. It was cheap and I figured it was a good investment given the job I have. It's not that I don't like it. It is great, but I barely use it. It is pretty much there so I can play backward-compatible Xbox and Xbox 360 games. I should really test more current games out on it to save space on my PS4 like The Division 2. Why? The install size, for whatever reason, is half the GB size on Xbox One. I should have bought it on Xbox One, but then again, all my friends are on PSN.
1 Such Big Ears
So call me crazy, but the first thing I noticed when creating my avatar was the ear size. I couldn’t believe how big they were and no matter what I did I could not tone them down enough. It is like everyone had mutated with elephantiasis after the money virus broke out. That is to say, the character customization isn’t that great overall. I wish there were more clothing options at the start, or at least a coloration choice. They have the apparel store though so, of course, they didn't have that option for free.