The winner of the Most Anticipated game for 2016 at Midlife Gamer is none other than Tom Clancy’s The Division. From what we have seen, it looks amazing and is currently slated for release on March the 8th this year after being pushed back a few times, meaning it is shaping up to be one of the must have AAA titles of the new year but just what makes it look so good and why has it won the title of the Most Anticipated Game of 2016 with our community?
The Division is a huge undertaking by four Ubisoft development studios which are trying to blend together an open world game with a third-person shooter with a dash of a role-playing game and a sprinkling of an MMO, sort of; so when you see it explained like that, you can realise why the game has slipped its release date more than a few times and with Ubisoft at the helm of it, I personally would rather see it slip back than be rush out the door as they have maybe done in the past with their top brand titles……Unity anyone ?
But what can we expect from the game when it launches? The backdrop of the game focuses around a pandemic that spreads on Black Friday and causes the whole of the US to collapse in just five days. It is found out that the pandemic is transferred by the virus being placed on banknotes. The game will see you playing as a Strategic Homeland Division (SHD) agent fighting to win back what is left of New York with orders direct from the President to do whatever it takes to prevent the fall of society and to get the city back up and on its feet. So far so Clancy style terror thriller, but I would personally, take this with a pinch of salt as remember Rainbow Six Siege had a “story” in it; hell they even had Angela Bassett on stage at E3 last year taking about it but when the game launched the story mode was nowhere to be seen really so here’s hoping The Division holds it together.
But if it doesn’t and all we have is the gameplay it should still be a hell of a game. The game is set in New York and with the open world side of things this should be incredible. The trailers and screens shots released so far back this up as the level of detail in them are stunning. From steam coming out of man hole covers to pots of paint bursting when you shoot them the world is looking like an amazing playground to be in, add in the little touches like pushing car doors shut as you walk by them and the way glass shatters when you shoot it plus the games full day and night cycle which changes the way enemies act and respond to you, it’s safe to say The Division is going to be something really special.
Core gameplay is similar to other third-person shooters in that you can carry three weapons as well as explosives, mines, cameras and a host of other cool toys to help you get the job done with your 3 man squad. The game also has that tried and tested Gears staple that is a cover mechanic where you snap to an object to take cover during fire fights. On top of all this with each fire fight and victory, your team gets experience points which they can use to customize their gear and to learn new skills to give you the edge on the mean streets of New York. There will also be a companion app which lets a fourth player fly a UAV to help out the squad on the ground and this UAV will have its own upgrade tree of skills as well.
The other side of the game is the multiplayer side which takes place in Dark Zones these are areas of the map blocked off from the main city where squads can go to fight it out for high-end weapons but is also where your team mates can turn on you and go rogue. For example, say your team fight all the way to the point and have the objective and it’s all good but one of you has his eye on the prizes more; well he can kill off the rest of the team and take it for himself it’s a mechanic seen in very few games but it adds an edge to the gameplay as you can never truly trust anyone and have to stay on your toes at all times.
At this year’s EGX I was lucky enough to get a game in the dark zone that saw 3 teams fighting it out to grab a container and get it to a drop point before the other team. In addition to this the area also had AIs walking around in teams of 3 and 4 and all of a sudden it wasn’t as easy as it first seemed. The game played really well and the controls where just right, I had that feeling of Ghost Recon at times as you worked with your team going from cover to cover. Each player had a class as well. A healer who had a cool grenade which would heal team mates from across the map where as another was support and had a deployable turret which although small was very deadly mowing down unaware enemies, to name but two. This was on top of the class ability we all had, which was a pulse style which let us see through walls and objects to detect the incoming enemies.
For an early build of the game I was blown away with just how good it was and even with all the games I played at this year’s EGX it was easily my game of the show and shot to the top of my personal most wanted game for 2016.
The Division has some HUGE shoes to fill and with Ubisoft’s track record in recent years Watchdogs / Unity to name a few I pray that they pull this off and make something truly special but as it stands it’s shaping up really well and more than earns not just my Most Anticipated game for 2016 but also the Midlife Gamer communities Most Anticipated game for 2016.
See you all in the Dark Zone in March………..Hopefully