Gone are the days where end game consists of a final title screen embossed and engraved with letters stating “Game Over”. In the age of online games, we expect more from our daily entertainment. For those that were fortunate enough to stick with The Division 1, end game eventually came in the form of heroic and legendary missions, dark zone battles, structured PvP, and earning shields that will aid you in The Division 2. Ubisoft admittedly learned a lot from what some would call missteps in their original work, and look to remedy this by adding more upon more in hopes to satiate players between content updates.
In order to do that, The Division 2 and its nearly 50 hours of game play is only the beginning. Yes, players will, from day 1, have everything that The Division 1 currently has. You will have the Dark Zones, the main missions, crafting and the popular world tiers, which are essentially higher difficulty world with tougher enemies that grant greater rewards. In addition to that, players should expect invasion missions, strongholds, occupied guard zones, roaming caravans of enemies, a living world system, specializations, 8-person raids, and a special end-game-only faction called the Black Tusks, which will surely create problems as they permeate the living world and the accompanying end game missions.
To combat the Black Tusks, specializations have been added in the form of 3 special weapons. The survivalist utilizes a crossbow, the demolitionist utilizes a grenade launcher, and the sharpshooter uses a 50-caliber sniper rifle. For those that wave off the crossbow as the weakest link, it’s important to note that the crossbow uses explosive arrows, which makes the survivalist easily as strong as the other specializations.
After taking on the Black Tusks in the Air and Space Museum, which you can watch clips of in the accompanying YouTube video, end game has me excited in a few different ways. For starters, the Black Tusks essentially act as players do. The AI utilizes similar tools and tactics as if you were facing opposing players. This adds a lot of complexity. In the video you can watch as our team, at times, were overrun or outmaneuvered. The usage of drones and elemental weapons that can flush you from hiding, or stop you from using your abilities added additional challenges that we weren’t expecting.
That being said, I was gifted with being the sniper of our group. I don’t generally play snipers in third person shooters, I’m usually the heavy-handed shotgunner up close and personal. Learning the sharpshooter specialization was interesting, and certainly out of my comfort zone. Most notably, sharpshooters are instrumental in dealing with many different enemy types. I found myself covering my team from the back line, countering enemy snipers, and applying intense focus fire on enemies with heavy body armor, knocking it off so that we could damage them. The 50-caliber sniper rifle is considered a special weapon, meaning that it’s not counted as a side-arm or either of your main weapons. That also means that ammunition for it is very hard to come by, and can’t be picked up by finding a restock case.
One of the opportunities I had was to play through the National Air and Space Museum, and it was clear from the jump that The Division 2 pulls no punches when it comes to intricate kill zones with a true to life feel. As we worked our way through the level, enemies would seemingly appear from nowhere, rushing in through doors we believed to be dormant, or they would drop in from balconies above. At one point, we believed we had secured a safe spot above the planetarium, only to nearly lose our entire team when a mechanized war hound climbed the ladder from below and made quick work of our well-planned defense.
This was only a small snapshot of the end game. It’s only natural that Ubisoft would want to put their best foot forward, and despite some minor technical glitches that all of us at some point experienced, the average consensus by my squad was that it was a great first look at what is shaping up to be an excellent sequel. For those of you that are interested in trying it yourself, the private beta will be available by invitation or through a pre-order February 7th through the 10th on PS4, Xbox One and PC.