It’s been almost two weeks since our part one of the Division 2 review and I’m back – stronger, wiser, and deadlier than ever. Ubisoft really has done a great service to the loot-shooter genre with The Division 2, with well-paced loot upgrades, a story you aren’t forced to pay attention to, and linear missions hidden in an open world that keeps on giving, even after hitting end game. In the previous review, I touched on gunplay and the overall landscape and graphics, so I want to talk a little about the underlying mechanics that keep me coming back for more.
In addition to a plethora of different gun types – from marksman rifles to light machine guns – you’ll also be able to customize the feel of your character with skills, perks and (later) specializations. First up are skills, which should feel familiar if you played the first Division, but also unique enough that you aren’t looking at a copy and paste of abilities. Skills can be broken down into the following categories: Chem Launcher, Drone, Hive, Seeker Mine, Turret, Firefly, Pulse, and Shield. Each of these categories has a different flavor to unlock with some being obviously geared towards solo play and others more in-line with synergy in group play. In solo play, which was how I completed most of my main missions, I ran with a drone and turret. For the drone, I took the ‘fixer’ type which results in a drone that flies around and repairs my (or target group members) armor over time. My turret was of the ‘assault’ flavor, giving me a 360-degree rotating firestorm of bullets that I could let automatically pick a target or give it an enemy to focus its sights on. Each of these skills is worth looking into and grabbing at least one ability from to give you flexibility as you liberate D.C.
Along with skills you have perks, which are like passive talents that everyone can unlock. It’s quite easy to have everything that’s possible to be unlocked before level 30 finished out if you complete side missions and grab caches while you’re out and about and I strongly recommend doing it. Extra inventory space comes in handy for prolonged stays freeing areas of D.C. from the tyranny of a faction and not playing an inventory management game in a game is a nice change.
Your final option for creating the slaughter-agent of your liking comes with reaching level cap in the form of specializations. Specializations are a means to continue unlocking additional player-style modifiers once you reach endgame and currently we have three options: Demolitionist, Sharpshooter, and Survivalist. Each of the specializations comes with a signature weapon that boasts as serious ass-ton of damage at the tradeoff of limited ammunition.
On the subject of endgame, Ubisoft has knocked it out of the park by giving players a reason to continue playing once they’ve reached endgame. In addition to unlocking specializations, or trying your luck in a Dark Zone, you’ll also be introduced to a new faction called the Black Tusk. During the course of your leveling you’ll take over control points and strongholds from the three main factions in the Division 2 – Hyenas, Outcasts, and True Sons – which leaves room in the endgame for the Black Tusk to swoop in and invade Washington D.C. – securing these previously liberated locations as well as previously cleared missions. The invasion of the Black Tusk faction adds more to the feeling of D.C. being an unstable war zone, delivering a constant win and loss of ground points across the map. It should go without saying that the new faction also introduces another means of getting better and better loot as well as a reason to go back and complete missions you had previously finished.