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Tom Clancy’s The Division Preview:
Tom Clancy has a reputation for bringing solid games with accurate research backing the storyline. The same can be said about his latest foray into creating iconic videogames. Tom Clancy’s The Division has multiple aspects that, thanks in part to Ubisoft, have sparked more than just my interest in the game.
The Division is set in New York, three weeks after an epidemic hits the population of the city. With the entire social and economic structure crippled, chaos and lawlessness envelope the city while the need to survive only makes matters worse. A classified unit known as The Division is activated, self-sufficient and operating under their own command if necessary. Trying to rebuild the city’s order they unravel a worldwide conspiracy, battling the effects of a man-made virus and those who unleashed it.
The Division is set to be an online RPG shooter game play experience. The player will be able to travel throughout the massive and chaotic open-world environment of New York. The game shows off it’s RPG elements in the Skills option where the player can select to follow specific trees and upgrade specific skills and attributes to deploy weapons such as turrets, drones and homing grenades that roll on the ground, following their targets. The player’s companions will offer amazingly accurate and real-time accompanying commentary detailing events in the players environment like a turret being destroyed or a target appearing on a balcony and the locations and numbers of targets in the combat zone. The AI seems very, well, intelligent. They execute flanking tactics and sometime take advantage of surprise attacks and higher ground.
The game play is dynamic and almost free-flowing in that there are no mission screens and they begin seamlessly when you enter the mission area. Once the mission is over and cleared a notice appears within the environment, almost like a bulletin-board flashing in orange. Although it is in third-person, it does feel solid and not as much of a headache as the other third-person shooters I have played.
From what I was able to gather from the trailer the in-game interface is set in a futuristic-holographic style with your HUD detailing your vital info and ammo count being an orange holographic projection to the left of the screen. The menu is in a similar vain, a wearable device worn on the wrist projecting information such as your skills and other menu options. Even the map receives similar treatment, projected into the environment as a 3D hologram around the players character. The interface seems easily navigable but it does make the player feel more detached that they already are in third-person games but it is a minor nuisance. It does play into the futuristic feel of the games technology and weaponry, so I must give the guys at Ubisoft some credit.
The engine behind the game
The Division uses Ubisoft’s Snowdrop engine, developed by DICE and IMHO, which takes advantage of the next-gen consoles giving the game and the player a whole new gameplay experience with massive a mounts of detail, global illumination, procedural destruction and amazing visual effects with an amazing amount of detail. As the name may suggest, the Snowdrop engine gives such detail that even the snow reacts dynamically to the global illumination, giving it a realistic feel. The destruction is also incredibly executed, with bullet’s riping police cars apart and a well aimed shot can blow a car’s tires, lowering your opponents cover and giving you that little advantage you need. The level of the detail may even surpass that of the Frostbite engine, to which I am admittedly slightly biased. All in all, the Snowdrop engine lends a realistic and cinematic edge to a game already with good potential and great backdrop.
But wait, there’s more…
The Division is set to be accompanied by a revolutionary companion game which will allow the player a birds-eye view of the battlefield and real-time gameplay with exclusive characters. The player will be able to influence the battlefield’s landscape by enhancing their allies capabilities, attack enemies and place targets for his allies to attack. All of this from the comfort of your tablet or smartphone, so you can take the world of Tom Clancy’s Division with you. This is one feature I’m looking forward to on the mobile platform so I don’t have to suffer from FOMO anymore.
Gear up for an adventure.
With a release date set rather vaguely for 2015, you’re set for a long wait but a wait that might be worth it in the end. If any of Tom Clancy’s and Ubisoft’s previous releases are anything to go by there’s really no way of telling until it hits your desk and warms up your screen. As for my opinion I think that the developers are on to something with this game and although other game franchises may amass a greater following, sometimes the best jewels are found in the rough. So keep an eye out for Tom Clancy’s The Division which may well hit your shores sometime in 2015 on the PS4, Xbox One and PC platforms.