Allow me to begin by throwing down some Division street cred — you choose if its enough. First, I’m a Day One guy and have been playing consistently since. I have about 175+ hours in-game, have capped at 30, and I’m close to DZ Rank 50. I’ve yet to complete the Falcon Incursion but gimme a little time. In other words, been there, done that – or – I understand the game and thus have “standing” to make an editorial comment or two.
I just watched yet another YouTube video from KackisHD regarding the state of things with The Division (excellent video, strongly urge you to take a look). Kackis makes some exceptional points but I’d like to offer a slightly different opinion on why The Division’s enjoyment has been capped from moment one. The easiest way to illuminate that opinion is by doing a direct comparison to Destiny — the only other first-person shooter RPG currently en vogue within the gaming community.
Comparing the two, it should be done so knowing comparison is hardly fair. Destiny has been live for almost two years, has gone through several updates, and the game has matured providing a wealth of entertaining options for players. Destiny’s tapestry is rich, diverse, and at times compelling. There are two raids which provide an intense, complex collaborative experience. Completing the King’s Fall raid on hard generates a sense of reward which is palpable.
The Division, in stark contrast, has been live for about 53 days (as of this writing) and is struggling. The main complaints center around the sheer number of glitches within the game environment. (Glitches… a nice way to say mistakes, bad coding, and poorly executed game development.) A handful of those glitches are game breaking. Example? With the introduction of the Falcon Incursion, players found a glitch which allowed easy incursion completion (on any difficulty) enabling players to reap the significant rewards with little effort. (Kackis’ video details how this issue has potentially created permanent game balance damage.)
But here’s the rub. Irrespective of time, when one compares Destiny to The Division, there really is no competition. Destiny must win. Why? The available narrative.
Destiny’s creative minds have an almost unlimited wealth of options at their disposal. Matter transfer. Exotic creatures from distant planets. Altered physics and time travel. Hell, throw down almost any idea and it could likely be woven into the existing Destiny narrative.
The Division’s creative brain trust have all the tools from, errr, modern day? You won’t see them bending physics, dropping pulse lasers onto the New York battlefield, or having a player disappear into a space-time void. Yup, they are stuck with standard city architecture, an array of modern weapons, with a dash of adrenaline while playing in the (excellent) Dark Zone. The easiest way to see this entertainment limit? Just play the Falcon Incursion.
The entire game mechanic of the Falcon’s Incursion rests in surviving 15 waves of enemies, while destroying an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). How? Every four waves you have to kill a particular enemy, pick up the C-4 he drops, and attach it to the back of the APC. That’s, uh, it. Sorry but the current version of an Incursion doesn’t even compare to a standard story mission let alone a Destiny Strike or Raid. Hard version? Yeah, each enemy has more hit points and takes longer to kill. Thrilling.
Does that mean I don’t like The Division? No. I’ve enjoyed the game but as a friend, MaxPower, mentioned the other day, The Division doesn’t compel you to play when a spare hour or minute turns up. It is a pleasant diversion when other people are around to share the experience. Yeah, more like if they are around which appears less and less frequently these days.
But these are early days and we’re still playing the vanilla version of The Division. I’m
sure hoping the developers are listening to the gaming community, taking notes, and working toward improving both game game play and content. Just remember Ubisoft, the reason we’re complaining is because we all see exceptional potential in this gaming experience and want improvement. If we didn’t care, we’d all just move on (or back) to something else.
Meanwhile, FIFA 16 anyone?