Delays, delays and more delays. Tom Clancy’s The Division has been plagued by a release date that seems to get further away each time it draws near. As if that weren’t enough, a player involved in the closed alpha recently leaked extensive gameplay footage (which has since been pulled by publisher Ubisoft). It seems The Division can’t catch a break. Despite how problematic the development phase has been, there’s no denying that Massive Entertainment’s new online co-op shooter packs some serious potential.
The setting is a post-apocalyptic New York City. On a day known as Black Friday (same day, different meaning), a deadly virus blankets the city, quickly causing society to collapse. An organization known as “The Division” is activated in the wake of this disaster. The agents of this self-determining organization are charged with a simple, if nearly impossible mission: save society. That’s where the player comes in, although exactly how one goes about saving New York is still shrouded in obscurity.
What is clear is that this game heavily emphasizes co-op play and solid teamwork. If the all the footage released thus far is any indication, lone wolves won’t stand a chance. The cover system requires the use of intelligent suppressive fire and coordinated flanking movements. In addition, players have different roles, or classes, that will determine how they can best contribute to a battle.
Defeating enemies will award experience, allowing a level progression system whereby characters can be further customized. Loot can be taken from fallen enemies, found in certain areas or taken from other players. These simple RPG elements look well integrated and add a sense of depth to the game.
Perhaps the most interesting, and possibly infuriating, part of The Division will be the PvP aspect. If one is brave enough to venture into a place called the Dark Zone (where the epic loot is kept), not only will they face the toughest AI enemies, but also the cold cunning of other players. If killed by another player, your loot and equipment can be taken and vice versa. Even if you manage to escape the Dark Zone with some legendary items, you and your team must still reach the extraction point, call in a helicopter and wait ninety seconds for it to arrive. Oh, and you’re vulnerable that whole time. Even your own team members can betray you.
As of writing, The Division will be available for PC, Xbox One and PS4 come March 8th, 2016. Fingers crossed it doesn’t get delayed again. In the meantime, check out the footage below and all the other videos available here.