New York is an amazing city, it’s hard to describe exactly what it is about it that makes it so amazing, but it has an energy about it that sucks you in and spits you out days later, leaving you completely in love with it. It’s one of the busiest cities I’ve ever been too, I live in London here in the United Kingdom, and have travelled to many across Europe and America during my time on earth, and even though it is busy, it never feels overwhelming.
So back in 2013, when I heard of a game that had started development that was going to be using New York City as it’s back drop, I was intrigued as to how they were going to pull it all off. At first Ubisoft was cagey about giving too much away about what part of New York they would be using, especially considering the sheer size of the Manhattan area they were touting as a possibility. It wasn’t until E3 2014 that we got to see what they had created, and boy did it not disappoint. The video you probably watched at the top of this page, was the E3 trailer, and it didn’t really give much away but contained enough to intrigue gamers to follow it more closely. I became one of those avid followers, and if I’m honest, I still am.
I probably lost a little bit of the hype when the 2 years of delays happened. However in January 2016, the noises of a Closed BETA for pre-order customers led me to rekindle my interest. So let’s stop wittering and reflect on the BETA and get an idea of what the final game will bring.
The BETA began with your traditional character creation screen and options to make your character unique from skin tone to beard growth, this appears to have been heavily stunted by Ubisoft though. Leading to a lot of questions about how much was going to be “unavailable in BETA”, god knows what the final size of the installation will be, as this BETA weighed in at a whopping 25GB. So after selecting from about 10 predefined characters, which Ubisoft assures everyone is only a fraction of the possibilities, the game cuts to the first of only a few cut scenes you get to experience in the BETA, you on board a chaotic chopper, that looks like it’s just performed a medical evacuation of you and your fellow Division member Fay Lau, who appears to be some sort of leading Division officer in New York City, she’s banged up and injured, she expects you to do all her field work.
After landing at the Staten Island ferry terminal, you emerge into a safe zone, it looks like something out of a war zone. Tents, bodies and tired looking soldiers and medics, you can’t help but think “where is this going to go?”. You start off slowly in Manhattan, you’ve been asked to meet Fay at the Post Office, this is just the beginning of the submersive world that is The Division, you can pretty much lose hours, just looking at each street and wandering with no real purpose, but then the game throws you a curve ball, out of nowhere a group of rather angry New Yorkers, armed with handguns and shotguns, seem hell bent on killing you for no particular reason, maybe it was my nice bobble hat?
So I think I’ve carried on for long enough here, I expect the full game will be a absolute corker. There is lots to consider as to why I am saying this, the game’s Snowdrop engine is just gorgeous, and will probably give Konami’s engine from Metal Gear Solid V a run for it’s money on the beauty stakes. The cover system from this game seems to have taken the best parts from Gears of War, Spec Ops and Ghost Recon and creates a smooth and intuitive version that oozes easability. The depth of weapons and add ons is just mind numbing and I’ve never honestly seen anything like it, the weapons customisation is only really a small part of this game and I cannot wait to give you guys a full run down and review on March 8th.