Feature Article

The Division Review in Progress Update

Long division.

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[Update] After four days and more than 50 hours of play, I’ve finally “beaten” The Division--although I’m by no means finished with it yet. Those 50 hours were spent exploring the world, completing story missions, and grinding through side content in order to keep up with the campaign’s rigorous leveling demands. But I’m still anxious to dive back into the Dark Zone, to track down all the open world content I skipped, and to start crafting my own high-end gear. That’s right, even with the campaign behind me, I’m still anxious for more.

The game has a few obvious shortcomings--including its rote enemy AI and occasionally clunky shooting mechanics--but the more I played, the less I cared about The Division’s various imperfections. Instead, I simply grew more invested in the world, the story, and most of all, the loot. For those reasons and more, I’m happy to report my positive impressions earlier on only grew stronger the more I played.

With that end game content still in front of me, however, I’m not quite ready to issue a verdict. That’s why we’ve decided to update you today and post our full written review and accompanying video review later this weekend. In the meantime, you can watch the game’s opening missions and end game options thanks to our vigilant video team. See you on Sunday.

The original story is below.

Depending on your timezone, you may already have a retail copy of Tom Clancy's The Division installing on your machine of choice. The game officially launches on March 8, and just like you, we're only now getting our hands on the final product. Though GameSpot often receives review code ahead of a game's scheduled launch date, Ubisoft opted to give reviewers access the same day as everyone else in this particular instance. As a result, our official scored review will not go live until we've had an opportunity to complete the campaign, conquer the Dark Zone, and explore everything else the game has to offer--including its live, populated servers.

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From the limited amount I've played so far, I can tell you the core experience hasn't changed much since the game's recent betas, though I was finally able to play to the previously omitted opening section. Rather than waking up mid-crisis in a chopper bound for Manhattan, you start in the considerably calmer borough of Brooklyn just moments after your Agent is activated. Following an introductory cutscene, you customize your character's physical features in a car window before heading off to the local command center for a formal briefing--or at least, as formal your beleaguered crew can muster.

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This section smartly aligns your perspective with that of your character: both of you are just now joining the effort to curb the rampant violence engulfing a virus-stricken New York City, so it makes sense you'd get some light training and exposition. Though it's clear The Division will be driven far more by loot than by character progression, this early narrative framing provides enough context that the action at least makes sense--even if there's arguably a logical disconnect between The Division's themes of peacekeeping in a survival situation and the constant gunfights of the moment-to-moment gameplay. Still, by the time you've cleaned up Brooklyn, you'll have gathered the equipment and experience you need to dive into the real conflict in Manhattan.

Enemies still absorb a great deal of damage, but with the right gear, they don't necessarily feel like total bullet sponges. Putting down any enemy remains a challenge, but you no longer have to expend an entire clip to take down one guy, assuming you've been diligently upgrading your load out. A much bigger issue--at least early on--is enemy variety. The first few hours recycle the same garden variety looters over and over, most of whom employ the same tired tactics every time. In certain instances, I actually noticed enemies run past me as if on a preset paths. Mission variety also seems to be a potential issue, as the first three side missions in Brooklyn all reuse simplistic objectives seen in the betas: go to a location, tag an object, defend the object from incoming enemies. Thankfully, I've yet to see either the Rikers or Cleaners in action, and there's plenty of campaign still ahead of me. With any luck, these as yet unseen elements will inject the variety The Division needs.

With dozens of hours and unlocks ahead of me, it's still far too early to assign a score, but my initial impressions are positive. You can check back later this week for the full review, but in the meantime, you can enjoy our livestream of the first six hours to get a better sense of what post-outbreak New York has in store.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

butterworth

Scott Butterworth

Yes, his mother is Mrs. Butterworth.
Tom Clancy's The Division

Tom Clancy's The Division

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Validifyed

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As far as I can see, its bad sides are what you generally expect from an MMO - repetitiveness, and lackluster story/immersion.

The graphics are astounding, the tom clancy style combat is always fun given the unique feel of its cover system and the style of MMO is a fresh new development that is not so outside of the norm that it risks being a complete mess.

I dont think Ill buy it, I dont really have anyone else who is planning to buy it at the moment and I know ill never get that "First MMO" experience that many MMO purchases in the past have been wasted for a chance at.

I hope the game continues to go well, expands and grows with a good player base. Id like to play this game, but in the future, and I hope people are still playing it when I do.

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golden1elite

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Edited By golden1elite

Good for Ubisoft and gamers alike. As a game programmer I can see the amount of hard work and dedication that went into this game. Not to mention the polish. SO much fun.

Destiny was also an ok FPS MMO but Bungie cut corners in so many departments (AI, detail, story, end game, character progression), The multiplayer component was really well done but you could tell they were holding back maps to sell people later on. Bungie found out with Destiny that they can give the gamer WAY less and they will still run out to buy a Bungie game.

Division is a game people should buy because it will show the developers that hard work and polish in games is what sells, not shafting the customer and DLC.

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Torvar72

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This is a great game and a GOTY candidate.

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JonExotic

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I don't really think they should have to play the whole game to make a review, I mean, 50 hours seems long enough to to review a game to me.

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normanislost

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@jonexotic: you need to be geared up and experience the end game otherwise that's not a complete review

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JonExotic

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@normanislost:

Does The Division really have an "end game"? Its an Open World RPG.

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@jonexotic: It seems to be modeled after an MMO at its core, and a for an MMO to have a decent long life it needs a very good end game to keep people playing. So It was probably a good idea.

That said, I think most of the time playing a large amount of the game is a good idea anyway, it gives you a chance to get over the hype and to settle in. Once youve done that you can start to notice all the little things that may or not build up into larger game design flaws.

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JonExotic

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@validifyed:

Understood

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pezzott1

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Made it yesterday to lvl 29 and to last campaign mission. Loving it so far.

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GT_APE

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@UltimateBastard: ok my period of nerdrage is over.

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Dookie_213

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Edited By Dookie_213

So I played and completed a daily mission on challenge mode yesterday, man that's the best fun I ever had in a video game for long time.

There is nothing more terrifying than challenge mode shotguners, they give 0 shits and they know no fucking chill. And they do so much damage its hilarious. The enemies are using all the skills in the game, what I love about the challenge mode is that, the enemies are not multiplied but they are tough and using pretty good skills to defend themselves and that mean you and your team have to use your skills too cause if the team is disorganized, then you don't stand a chance.

I hope Ubi won't nerf challenge mode, cause when most of the players will hit the max level (30), will start bombarding Ubi with message and comments to nerf the challenge mode, I hope they won't do that. I hope the better gear they will add the more challenger this mode should be.

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yogibbear

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Edited By yogibbear

@dookie_213: Yep challenge mode is an AWESOME challenge. Just beat first one today and got a yellow Holster finally that was an upgrade on the purple one I'd had forever. 498 firearms, 412 health 416 tech, 700 armour, -200% HP regen cooldown SO WORTH IT.

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dwicklund1992

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Great game in my opinion. And it seems that most critics and players seem to like the game too.

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wexorian

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that paycheck did it job , but let's see if it will be enough for score, but so far what i see around websites and user reviews its' 6-7.

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rodoxthedark

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Edited By rodoxthedark

@wexorian: metacritic got average of 8 and 9s, what are you on about, and all negative user scores seem to be people that don't even have the game and are just trolling

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tanerb

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what did ign rate it?

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wexorian

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@tanerb: metacritic 6.5

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peroxsigh

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Edited By peroxsigh

@wexorian: no reason to lie. it's at 91 on metacritic and IGN haven't completed their review yet.

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Dy5function

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@peroxsigh: thanks for calling wexorian out - 91 on metacritic which I would say is a realistic and accurate score based on what I've seen of the game so far (lvl 25 regular and lvll 20 in the dark zone). The amount of misinformation going around is crazy and most of it is from people who probably haven't played the game yet because they are "waiting for reviews".

The game is solid - fun to play solo and a great time with a few buddies grouped up. The dark zone is a great unique gameplay mechanic and makes for some really intense gunfights and escapes. The game requires you to grind through the first 10 levels before really opening up in terms of customization at which point it becomes surprisingly deep.

Any review that was released within a day or two of release is a disservice to the readers because there is no way that the reviewed could have truly dug into the most meaningful parts of the game.

If you're on the fence about picking the game up - it's a ton of fun, challenging and surprisingly deep for an RPG shooter. Also - I think it will do a great job of weeding out too many immature gamers because of the amount of strategy and teamwork it requires at the higher levels. Enemies flank and rush aggressively after level 10+ and hard difficulty missions really require a cohesive group to complete.

Just my two cents - because there is a aweful lot of misinformation floating around (which is to be expected from the average gaming website community). Enjoy!

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deactivated-5c0b07b32bf03

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Sounds like it's a solid game. Sooooo many people feel the need to hate on The Division, but you just can't keep a good game down.

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DeKuip

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@reduc_ab_: Its a good game for now. But if the end game content is lacking then im selling it on ebay.

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Zero_Dawn

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So...Destiny. No thanks.

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Tshipe

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@zero_dawn: try harder

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Kiyosuyo

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@zero_dawn: It's basically Destiny at launch. Solid core gameplay, fun up until a certain points, then you realize there's nothing to do but go into the dark zone and that's literally it. You kill the same 4-5 types of enemies for the entire game with basically no variety in them, they're just thrown at you in different orders. Bosses are bullet sponges with no added difficulty other than they hit for almost your entire health bar per shot.

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Milknweed

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@zero_dawn: Nah more like Diablo 3 in a third person shooter world.

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xSlugox

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Edited By xSlugox

The only people I know that didn't enjoy this game are the ones that spent the last 4 days not moving a muscle and powering to max level, skipping all cut scenes and just going balls to the wall. Everyone else I talk to loves this game, as do I. Definitely worth the $55 and most likely worth picking up the seasons pass if they pump out content. This game sets the bar for seamless COOP and group mechanics.

Well done Ubisoft, you're IP has a definite place here.

5 • 
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AngelofDarkness

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@xSlugox: Ye I agree with you .
I bought the gold edition for 100€ and I didn't regret =D

5 • 
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RicanV

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RicanV  Moderator

Great game. I'm having plenty of fun so far and the further I go the more the game opens up and leaves me wanting more.

I'm going to go ahead and build a medic oriented class instead of any hybrid. (Although the turrets and remote mines look real interesting).

.

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jerms82

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really loving this game - i'd rate it 8.5 personally. wish it had crouch and low crawl though :( not a big deal to most people i'm sure.

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GT_APE

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@jerms82: Actually crouch (at least) should be standard. I'm waiting for the review on this one.

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jerms82

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@GT_APE: i feel kinda constrained not being able to crouch or jump. but.. it's also really immersion breaking to see ppl jumping around all over the place and tea bagging each other - fair compromise i suppose.

still really loving this game though.

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swimbearuk

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I'm one day in, and so far I am enjoying it. The bullet sponge shooting doesn't really bother me; I just think "it is what it is", and get on with it. Having played Destiny quite a lot I'm used to the grinding. However, I already have issues finding activities at my level (12). They are there, but often a long walk away or repeating completed missions, and there are lots of missions that are too hard for my character. I also find some of the inventory management a bit annoying, as I spend a lot of time just sifting through my gear, working out what to keep or sell. I expected this anyway, but when you have a group of players, taking ages to manage inventory items means players drop out. Despite these gripes, I feel like I'm going to be playing for a long time to come, so I don't regret buying before the reviews.

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Hernilious510

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Edited By Hernilious510

I just reached level 12. This game is repetitive as hell. I'm trying to see the positives you've touched on, but I'm struggling. The shooting mechanics are played to the death at this point, leveling up is a pain, and the side missions are forgettable. I know this is an RPG, but I find it silly that I can unload 100 rounds from an M60, and the enemy on the receiving end is still standing. On that note, I'm trying to accept the fact that rigorous amounts of "attacking" is a requirement for most RPG experiences, but it simply feels like too much work for a shooter. As for matchmaking, most of the online microphone chatter consists of either silence or complaints about the games shortcomings as mentioned above. It seems like the other players are mostly just there for you to be revived upon down-age. There isn't a clever or strategic way to work together. You simply coexist in the free roam environment. I'm not completely ruling this out as a bad experience, but I'm damn sure losing hope. Hopefully more variety comes in the near future. I'm curious to see your final verdict. I'll give this thing another whirl in a few hours.

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daveb81

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Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.Please don't let this be another shoot and loot.

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pmulrich

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Seriously, where's the #%$$?$ review? How many games has Gamespot reviewed that took 50 hours of gameplay to post a review with a score? How is that not collusion with Ubisoft?

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XenomorphAlien

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Sheesh. 5th day of release and still no score? What's the holdup? I want to know if I should buy this or Twilight Princess HD.

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jerms82

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@xenomorphalien: you're going to let one person's opinion from one website make that decision for you? How about reading the impressions from multiple reviewers? Do you really need to wait for a numbered score?

I read some positive early impressions from a lot of people and decided to pick it up - glad i did.

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XenomorphAlien

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@jerms82: Pretty split here. I asked some people and its pretty even on both sides. Still can't decide.

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visualizeasian

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Edited By visualizeasian

@xenomorphalien: I totally agree - there should be a score on this by now - especially if you've spent 50 hours on the game! There are some reviews on the net however already - I would check those out.

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daveb81

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@xenomorphalien: Why don't you spend the 3 bucks and rent it from Redbox instead of being a whiney little turd.

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XenomorphAlien

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@daveb81: Aw, look at this wittle fellah. :3

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KatzClawz

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@xenomorphalien : Ubisoft made them all sign a NDA regarding reviews for 7 days after release..

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introvese

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@nibbin1191:

Idk bro. None of the huge sites have review scores. I never saw anything like this before

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