Tom Clancy's The Division 2 Review

Dan Webb

Ubisoft’s track record over the last decade when it comes to sequels has been impressive, to say the least – especially when we’re talking about the second iteration in a new franchise. Assassin’s Creed II was an excellent follow-up to the debut AC game back in 2009, while Watch Dogs 2 proved to be bloody excellent when it launched a couple of years back. With the foundations laid down by The Division back in 2016 and built upon over the subsequent years, Ubisoft has continued to demonstrate its impressive ability to refine and build games as a service in recent years too, with the likes of Rainbow Six: Siege and For Honor, and thankfully The Division 2 continues that trend both as a 'games-as-service' game and a sequel to a solid debut outing.

This time we see the intrepid Division agents – AKA you and your band of merry guerrilla folk – head to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., in an attempt to get the city back under control and wrestle power away from the riff-raff who have terrorised the city for so long. The main campaign sees you fight your way through and around D.C.'s most iconic environments, which Ubisoft Massive has brought to life perfectly – it’s not hyperbole when I say that the hand-crafted nature and outstanding attention to detail from an environment perspective is second to none.


Whether it’s the subtle graffiti, the waste pilling up on the streets, the evidence of an obvious struggle combined with pure desperation, or the decaying military vehicles, everything tells a story without so much as a word. It’s brilliant environmental storytelling and really makes you feel like you’re part of something much bigger. It’s definitely required as well, because your silent protagonist Agent doesn’t say a bloody word throughout. How are silent protagonists still a thing in 2019? It boggles the mind.

From a gameplay perspective, not a lot has changed in The Division 2, to be honest. The shooting is still satisfying – especially when you’ve tinkered with the attachments to reduce the recoil on your gun – and the cover mechanic is still fairly solid. It’s not perfect, but it’s robust enough to do the job. Where The Division 2 does excel – especially in relation to EA’s recent attempt at the looter-shooter genre in Anthem – is with the loot itself. Loot drops are frequent, but not too frequent. They’re satisfying, but not so satisfying that you don't appreciate those oh-so-sweet and super rare drops.

The beauty is that if you’re a stats nerd, there’s a lot to drill down into, a lot of which isn’t really explained by the game. But if you can get a feel for it with experimentation, you’ll be whacking mods on various pieces of gear, throwing attachments on guns and crafting gear to push that extra 10% out of a build. For a fashion nerd like myself, having loads of different pieces of armour that both visually look different and have different perks is cool, but being able to switch out the cosmetic look of your clothes is just delightful. Honestly, there’s probably a little too much stuff hidden behind microtransactions there if you ask us, but thankfully it’s only cosmetic gear. Still, for a £50/$60 game, you can’t help but feel a little cheated by it all.

The original Division was also criticised for its bullet-spongey enemies and its repetitive nature, and Ubisoft Massive has attempted to rectify these issues somewhat. Instead of enemies being able to take a pounding, they now have armour pieces you have to whittle away before you can do damage to the fleshy person underneath. If we’re being honest though, this is presenting bullet-sponge characters in a different light, but still doesn’t really rectify the original issue all that much.

The same could be said about the repetitive nature of the missions. Sure, there are occasions where you’ll have to escort a payload or defend a point, but for the most part The Division 2’s mission structure is as such: go into building, fight your way through to either the basement or the roof, kill boss, mission complete. After 20-30 hours of this, the predictability of this could have grown mundane were it not for the fantastically realised environments.

Where Ubisoft has excelled, though, is with The Division 2’s endgame content, which resets the map and introduces a completely new threat. It makes D.C. feel like a completely fresh and far more hostile environment. So whether you’re tackling story missions, random world events or taking on strongholds, there’s plenty to be cracking on with both pre and post-endgame. The Division 2 is packed to the rafters with content. A lot will feel like a grind, sure, but that’s the nature of the genre.


So what else is new? Well, we now have three Dark Zones instead of one, which we’re not sure is a great idea, but time will tell with that one. The addition of varying differing levels of the rogue status mechanic is certainly a great addition. The Division 2, aside from the rogue nature of the Dark Zone, also introduces PvP multiplayer modes. There really is something for everyone. If you’re not one for playing with other people or you have no friends, good news, you can play The Division 2 on your lonesome as with the original. That said, it seems a lot harder this time around, especially with enemies who have new abilities that can stun you in place making you a sitting duck. We played through the entirety of the campaign on our lonesome – because that’s how we roll – and yes, even the strongholds, so it is definitely possible. Just beware; you might have to mix up your strategies somewhat.

As a package, The Division 2 is a positively impressive follow-up to Massive’s 2016 outing and is now chock full of content. It’s packed to the rafters with activities, multiplayer modes, gear, weapons, outfits and so on – and the Dark Zone is still as tense and excellent as ever – you can’t really fault Ubisoft’s latest outing from that perspective. Sure, the combat can be a little repetitive and enemies can be bullet sponges, but as we said, that’s the nature of the beast. We’re all very aware of the looter-shooter genre by now, and The Division 2 is an excellent addition that's more than worthy of your time.

Tom Clancy's The Division 2

The Division 2 is almost certainly a step up from its predecessor, offering more content than you can shake a stick at and enough tweaks to make it feel somewhat fresh. While Massive has attempted to rectify the issues of the original, it hasn’t quite managed that yet: yes, enemies are still kind of bullet-spongey and the missions can get quite repetitive after a while, but aside from that, The Division 2 is an impressive follow-up, building upon what was already a solid foundation.

Form widget
85%
Audio
80%

The music when it kicks in is great, while the voice acting is passable - nothing to write home about.

Visuals
90%

The Division 2 looks great on the high-end consoles with a rock-solid frame-rate, but the true beauty of The Division 2 is the hand-crafted world that Ubisoft Massive has created. It’s truly a sight to behold.

Playability
80%

The Division 2 retains the meaty shooting that the franchise became known for back in 2016 and the cover mechanic for the most part is rock solid – although it can be a bit temperamental at times. The enemies are still a little bullet-spongey though.

Delivery
90%

Aside from the repetitive nature of the missions, The Division 2 offers an excellent range of content to get embroiled in. The Dark Zone is still as excellent as ever and offers unlimited replayability, and the endgame is just so well done.

Achievements
70%

The achievements are fairly well balanced, but they're devoid of inspiration, which is truly a shame. A good spread though, which you can’t really turn your nose up at.

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