Tom Clancy's The Division BETA
I can’t stop marveling at the beauty of the trash piles. Tom Clancy’s novels have inspired an impressive catalogue of video games. Beyond their consistent quality, the studio houses under Ubisoft’s umbrella really seem to embrace the necessary change that can keep semiannual franchises worth purchasing. More recently, they’ve began to add some new genres to their repertoire. The Division was announced three years ago as a *deep breath* massive-multiplayer, open-world, post-apocalyptic, third-person, tactical shooter. It’s been delayed from 2015 to March 2016, but Ubisoft has released the BETA version for public consumption. I downloaded it the second day it was available, not realizing it was only open for the weekend. Regardless, I was able to spend a long day exploring the huge map. The developers, Red Storm Entertainment, brought an incredible amount of detail and life to the New York City backdrop. I’m a fan of open-world games, and this may be the most life-like city I’ve ever seen. While there isn’t a ton of interactivity with your surroundings, the game is just beautiful. The streets are lined with garbage and broken-down vehicles, but it is masterfully rendered. The gameplay has pretty run-of-the-mill cover mechanics, but the controls, and movement all feel really tight. I jumped right in without any major issues. The problems started when I finished the provided single-player missions and journeyed into the multiplayer “Dark” zone. There are extraction points, but no real explanation as to what you have to extract, or where you might find it. There are NPCs(Non Playable Characters) for you to fight, and it’s DayZ-style kill/recruit/ignore option for other players you run into, keeps things interesting. Some of the things Ubisoft has promised like voice commands and the option of playing as a tactical drone from an actual tablet were not available, but I enjoyed what I played of the game so far. It may not seem like anything monumental on the surface, but The Division’s single and multiplayer unification may be the experience that a lot of developers have been striving for over the last few years.