I’ll be honest, folks, I never played The Division. Not for any particular reason, it was just a game I never managed to get around to, and because of that, I was concerned about jumping straight into The Division 2, but as it turns out, I didn’t need to be.

The Division franchise never really struck me as an easy one to get into, and I assumed there was a fair level of learning involved before I’d be comfortable with how it plays. After being thrown straight into a combat scenario at the start, I feel like The Division 2 taught me the basics incredibly quickly, and without having to display an irritating amount of text on the screen. Its intuitive nature makes it easy for new players like myself to get straight into the action without lumping them with a huge learning curve. While new users are certainly a focus, there’s still plenty for returning fans, too.

“We applied our learnings from the first game to The Division 2 to make it a great experience for both new and returning players,” senior producer, Cristian Pana told PEDESTRIAN.TV via email. “Although The Division 2 takes place 7 months after the events of The Division, the game is a completely new standalone experience.”

In terms of story, all you really need to know is that Washington DC was fucked up by an intentionally spread virus and now a bunch of factions are fighting for control. You assume the role of a civilian agent tasked with taking back the city. Known as the Division, any human player you encounter will also be a part of this team.

division 2“The Division 2 raises the stakes for players by launching them into a fractured and collapsing Washington DC Players will experience a dynamic living world, filled with a variety of environments, as the enemy factions compete with Agents and civilians for limited resources,” Pana said.

“As players progress through the story, they will see a direct impact of their actions on the city, their characters and civilians’ lives.”

I’m far from finished, but so far the story I’ve encountered beyond the above is fairly minimal and, to be honest, not all that compelling, but interesting enough to keep things moving along. More importantly, the gameplay is fun as hell.

The cover system, in particular, makes for some of the most intense digital firefights I’ve had so far this year. The AI surprisingly is clever and never lets you hang out in one place for too long, either flushing you out with grenades or straight-up flanking you. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s refreshing when an enemy is genuinely clever.

Luckily, you can pack one hell of an arsenal with which to fight back, including a huge assortment of guns and a number of gadgets, like drones, scanners, turrets, little mines that roll themselves towards enemies, and more. Executing attacks in conjunction with these kits can make for some insanely satisfying takedowns.

The Division 2 is geared towards playing with mates, although so far, playing solo has been a fun enough experience for me. I’ll be forcing a bunch of my mates onto this as soon as I can, though. I reckon coordinating an assault amongst three or four players would be cool as hell and add quite a lot to the experience.

The latest Ubisoft title is set in a 1-to-1 recreation of the actual Washington DC, down to the monuments and museums scattered throughout the city. Weirdly, I can’t wait to stumble across some of the actual places I visited last year, in particular, the Air and Space Museum.

division 2

Pana says there’s a ton on offer in terms of endgame content, as well, including three new narratives, new areas, new game modes, three new specialisations (which are introduced once players reach level 30), and further progression and gameplay opportunities. All of this will be released as free content within the first year of release.

“As players reach level 30 and complete the last mission of the campaign, driving out the last hostile faction from DC, a brand new faction, The Black Tusks, were just waiting for the right moment to launch a massive assault on Washington DC and take a full hold of the city and its inhabitants,” Pana said.

“We have kept the most powerful and most challenging faction for end game. They have their own story, needs and objectives, giving a meaningful reason to engage with all endgame content and infinite replayability.”

I’m not sure why I was so hesitant on The Division 2, but I’m glad I’m in the thick of it now. You can pick it up right now on Xbox One, PS4, or PC.

Image: Ubisoft