Tom Clancy’s The Division, a highly anticipated game that has been delayed for over two years, is finally about to be released March 8th. Almost as in celebration of this an open beta was released for the Xbox One and the PS4 in mid-February and it is sweet. While only a small part or possibly part of the beginning of the game there is still a lot to do. The map isn’t as big as previously indicated but it is completely open world so those of you who like to explore can explore to your hearts content. It is also mostly destructible which can lead to interesting problems when the pillar you’re hiding behind gets blown up. There is also a series of underground sections like subway tunnels for players to stumble across. While I have not explored this a great deal yet the map suggest they are fairly large. While a unique breath of fresh air for the third person shooter genre The Division isn’t for everyone.

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Hardcore gamers will eat this game up because it offers a challenge not seen in ages. At the same time however casual gamers are going to get destroyed. Being a more realistic shooter players take damage like a normal person would and the game emphasizes cover based shooting. If you are out of cover for more than a moment you will get wrecked. The Division also emphasizes RPG and survival but this isn’t touched on very much in the beta. The available skills made planning an attack more interesting because you have to consider the enemy’s strength and what you are capable of. For weaker enemies you can just pull out a shield and rush in but if a strong enemy shows up it is better to stay at a distance.

I’ve yet to see any of the day time cycles or weather changes the game is supposed to have but maybe it wasn’t included in the beta. Doing missions with a team works surprisingly well with little issue jumping in and out of matches. Although you have to be careful because you can shoot your team members. The game looks great but for as unique as The Division is it still gets repetitive fairly quickly. There is only so many times a person can hide and shoot from cover before it gets old; something players will do a lot of with armored/named enemies.

Where the game really shines the brightest is in the Dark Zone. An entirely multiplayer area where players can interact without having to join another person’s game. It functions like a mass RPG where players can form groups in order to fight NPC’s for the best loot possible. In an ironic twist however, players can go rogue and kill their allies as well, effectively taking everything for themselves. Since loot found in the Dark Zone can be dropped by a player, unlike other gear, players have to watch out for someone else in the team killing them for it. Almost like a bizarre social experiment players can really find out who they can trust. Of course rogue players get the most payoff but they still need to escape through a lot of NPCs and other pissed off players.

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