The Division – The first hour

2 min read


It’s Thursday at long bloody last for Xbox One owners, which means that the time is ripe to get in on The Division. Ubisoft’s big budget RPG that swaps swords for guns is busy rolling out a day early on Xbox One. We had plans to stream our first session with it today, but naturally, these plans went pear-shaped thanks to the Seacom cables experiencing some “technical difficulties”. Still, we’re an enteprising lot raised on a steady diet of MacGuyver, so we made some plans.

Here’s the first hour (sort of) of The Division, captured for your viewing pleasure:

So, initial impressions then. Look, Ubisoft wasn’t joking when they emphasised that their game is a RPG. Everything in The Division is tailored to personal progression, about levelling up and becoming more formidable. And that’s the kind of gameplay that I enjoy. I’m very much a big believer in power fantasies, and being able to return to a zone and completely wreck the digital crap out of some pesky bosses who gave me a hard time earlier, is massively appealing.

So having that power fantasy, and a system that has all your mathematical skills honed towards killing perfection, is appealing. Being Ubisoft, The Division absolutely smacks of design influences from that publisher and developer. There’s the usual glut of information thrown your way, mountains of code and narrative to sort through before you find your feet.

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And don’t expect Destiny levels of gunplay here either. Guns are merely a channel within which to transfer your deadly math-skills against the arithmetic anarchy of your enemies and competition. Still, once you start modding your weapons and coming across some better gear, the flow of action does start to feel a bit more satisfying.

I’ll be trying out the Dark Zones tonight. Wish me luck, and stop posting sticky notes on my back that say “shoot here” dammit.

Last Updated: January 28, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Gustav Minnie

    Sigh… I promised myself I will only buy Rise & Shine. Doom and Mafia 3 this year.
    I want this and I think I’m going to buckle… sad.

  • Ryanza

    the first hour.
    hours will be spent downloading the day 1 patches.and then because south africa won’t have servers, the game doesn’t work unless connected to an overseas server, there will be lag. lag for everything.
    some will tell you they don’t see nor notice the lag but trust me it’s there.
    pc version drm means you can’t sell the game after trying it out. so you stuck with product if it turns out bad.

    Don’t support DRM. Cyberpunk 2077 is coming

    • Actually, much to my surprise – the whole thing worked pretty damned well. There’s hardly any lag outside of the dark zone , while there *definitely* is a bit inside of it – but it’s not really worth fussing over.

      From the beta, my own hype levels have certainly increased. There are a few issues; the game could definitely do with more NPCS in the open world for example – but it’s fun.

      • The Grand Admiral Chief Prime

        Lack of NPCs you say?

        Is there at least plenty to do for someone interested in PVE?

        • Yeah, in missions themselves (which you CAN tackle alone) there is plenty to do; when running around the open world though, there could definitely be more in the way of enemy NPCs.

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            YEEAAASSS!!!! Ok, now I’m sold, the NPCs in Ubi games have always been a little lacklustre, but if you say it’s forgivable when it comes to mission content, then I’m happy

          • HairyEwok

            I think they kept the NPC to a minimum so that you don’t power through to level 30 before you’re even halfway into the story. But they could perhaps place more NPC in the open world and just lower the XP gain from killing them.

    • Sageville

      Pessimism 101

  • Darren Peach

    Envious I am indeed. If the ANC assured me fibre tomorrow…….. I would vote for them 😉

  • The Grand Admiral Chief Prime

    Wel, drat. Now I’m sad I’m missing out

  • Hammersteyn


  • Francois Knoetze

    wanted to try the beta this weekend but they throttled my uncapped after trying to recover 225gb worth of games lost due to ps4 being down…DAMMIT I WANT TO PLAY!!

    • Pieter Kruger

      Didn’t you save your games on your external HDD?!

      • Francois Knoetze

        PS4 kind of died on me…had to recover my lost games 🙁 My Bone will always be fine with my external connected. PS4 not so much

  • HairyEwok

    I like how when you’re in a wide open area like the dock looking to the ocean and there’s skyscrapers in the water puddles…. 10/10 would immerse again. But then again this is beta so it’s going to have glitches.

  • ElimiNathan

    I tried launching the PC version this morning. No go, I’m guessing it will only become live sometime later today

  • HvR

    I’m 99% I heard one or 2 radio sound clips that sounded as it came straight out of Xcom.

  • BacchusZA

    And once again, they’ve handed the controller integration to the retarded intern.

    Ever had an xbox controller plugged into your PC? Then you’d better be prepared to use it, because the game goes FUCK YOU if you don’t want to.

    Only on top of that it goes “hey, won’t it be fun if not only do I default to a non-existent controller that isn’t plugged into your machine and you don’t even own anymore, let’s ALSO spice things up with a little continuous ghost input so you’re always running to your left!”

    Fucking Ubisoft. They make great games that they fundamentally break and make unplayable, without fucking fail.

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