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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.

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

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