The Division Beta – First impressions [PS4]

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If you’re like me, you’ve probably been waiting for your chance to play The Division Beta ahead of it’s March 8th release. Like most games of this scope and caliber, the hype on this was huge but because it’s an Ubisoft game, many are weary about the final product. Hence why many have been waiting to play the beta to see if it’s anywhere close to the hype. Well, from what I’ve played so far, I can confirm that the game is indeed good and does much of what they devs said it would do, not unlike a certain game called Destiny.

First 10 minutes

A good chunk of the first 10 minutes is reserved for a special introductory video from one of the community developers. This is mainly just some short tips on what the controls do and how to get up and running quickly. The controls are not very hard to master and are actually quite intuitive. After setting up your character, you’ll be up and exploring the city within a minute. Check out the video above if you weren’t able to get in on the beta.

Character creation in the beta is limited to random designs. You won’t be able to go into the more detailed character creation settings. They’re saving that for the retail release. You can however keep randomizing your character until you find a model you like. I’m happy to see that Asians are being represented in the game.

Enemy encounters

The first type of enemies you’ll hit are NPC’s. These are the main type of enemy encounters outside of the Dark Zone area. The bulk of the game takes place in a PvE only area although you can team up with friends here and play co-op. I obviously did not have any friends on at the time so the video above shows solo play. This isn’t a terrible thing however because I know that there will be many people out there who will want to play this solo and that’s perfectly fine. The Division allows for solo play and that’s appreciated.

Back to the enemies, they’re actually quite intelligent. They don’t just sit behind cover taking shots. They actually move around and try to flank you if they’re with a squad. They’ll even try to rush you with melee players to catch you off guard. Not only that, they’ll also make use of grenades to get you to move positions.

Missions

You can find missions scattered throughout the game. In the beta however, the Madison Filed Hospital missions is the only one you can play. In case you didn’t know, you can set this mission to hard in order to gain more XP quickly, but the enemies are much harder and take longer to kill. Start the video at the 16-minute mark to see this mission in its entirety. Overall it’s a pretty straight forward mission. Infiltrate the base and take out the enemies. Rescue the hostages and then take out more enemies until you reach the boss. Kill the boss and the mission is complete.

Side Mission

There is one side mission included with the Division Beta and it involves searching for a missing person named Heather Lau. It requires multiple steps to complete, which mainly consist of finding and watching echos and investigating them to see where to proceed next. It’s pretty straight forward and not hard to do at all. It is a nice change of pace however from the usual infiltrate and shoot everything in your path missions.

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New York, New York

According to the devs, The Division is supposed to be a 1:1 representation of Manhattan. In the beta however, portions of the island are blocked off and out of bounds for exploration. Despite this, the area that you do get to play in seems massive. I’ve heard from native New Yorkers that many of the landmarks, streets, alleyways, and building are right where they’re supposed to be. Store names have changed however, but that’s understandable.

I’m impressed by the city. It’s really dense and full of detail. It really looks like a city that went through some serious sh*t with debris and abandoned cars everywhere. You’ll run into a few random citizens who haven’t left the city as well as enemy threats who have stuck around to take advantage of the chaos.

Whats most impressive is that you aren’t limited to just the streets of New York. There are areas where you can climb up to the roofs of building as well as stairways that lead into the subways access tunnels. If you explore enough, you’ll even find open man hole covers that all you to venture into the sewers. It really amazing how much you can explore of the city.

Dark Zone

I won’t talk about the Dark Zone right now, The Divisions PvP area. I’ll save that for another post. All I can say though is that is is fun, but you’ll definitely want to play that with a group of people you can trust. There are plenty of randoms there what will turn on you in an instance to steal your loot so don’t trust anyone you see there. Be cautious.

Final Thoughts

I’m actually really impressed with The Division based on this beta. They did a really good job recreating the portion of Manhattan we can play with plenty to look at and explore. I like the team play aspect of the game but also appreciate the fact that you can play all of the PvE stuff on your own if you choose to. It also seems like there will be tons of missions to keep you busy as well as what seems to be a pretty interesting story.

Most missions seem pretty straight forward though with much of it being to travel to a point, take out all the enemies, and then collect the loot. That’s not entirely a bad thing, but some might find it a little repetitive.

I like the fact that there seems to be quite a good variety of weapons as well as the ability to mod each weapon with upgrades you find. Same goes for clothing options. I’ve already found quite a few jackets and hats that keep me from looking like everyone else.

Overall, I’m not disappointed at all with what I played. Thanks to the beta, I will be preordering this and playing this at launch.

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