The open-world shooter has become so ubiquitous that games in this genre typically have to go above and beyond to capture my attention. “The Division 2” does not go above and beyond; however, it does capture my attention and, in fact, holds it. The sequel to Ubisoft’s questionable first installment is better in comparison, but still a bit stale. Despite not being inventively new, the game is fun and exploring each block of post-apocalyptic Washington D.C. is a challenge that should be reveled in.
Where “The Division 2” excels is the art of providing a challenge. As a cover-based third person shooter, “The Division 2” keeps things fresh by actually pushing you out of cover. By forcing the player to constantly find new safety zones, the game feels active. The old strategy of finding a good position and mowing down your enemies is impractical due to a wide variety of enemy types that will test your skills with a shotgun, rifle, sniper and whatever equipment you have in your kit. These enemies range from kamikaze-like runners who rush at you with explosives to elite snipers that need to be taken care of if you even want to dream of peaking out of cover. Interestingly, each of the four factions in “The Division 2” have distinct enemies specific to that faction giving the different groups personality and making encounters with those factions tangibly different.
Objectively the Washington D.C. of “The Division 2” is not pretty. That being said each block feels like it was crafted with intention and purpose. You might not appreciate the textures and architecture of the buildings but you will enjoy the different elevations and vantage points that the city provides for shooting. The act of liberating Washington D.C. block by block feels like solving an intertwining puzzle that unfolds as you explore more of the city. Good level design coupled with beefy gunplay and interesting enemies makes for a challenge that will have you locked to your couch for hours.
Where “The Division 2” lacks is in its story and its multiplayer modes. For a game that is supposed to be a shared experience, “The Division 2” is mostly a solo adventure. Additionally, the player vs. player area known as the “Dark Zone” is not exhilarating, due to a lack of risk. Die in the “Dark Zone” and very little consequences will follow. As for the story, there is not much there, which is disappointing because pandemic-ravaged Washington D.C. has a lot of potential for lore. However, in “The Division 2,” there is very little to be found.
Though “The Division 2” is a mish-mash of old video mechanics, it picks the best of these cliches and puts them to good use. If you're looking for a story or a competitive experience then “The Division 2” will sadly not deliver. Yet if you’re a veteran gamer seeking to test your skills, “The Division 2” provides a worthy challenge that will make you satisfied with your purchase.