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EB Expo 2015 – Tom Clancy’s The Division Hands-On

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Alongside Battleborn, Tom Clancy’s The Division was one of the games I was most keen to finally get my hands on at this year’s EB Expo. Announced in 2013 and tentatively-listed for release next year, The Division is a multiplayer cover-based shooter set in a post-apocalyptic New York. The setup here is that a particularly awful Black Friday triggers the downfall of modern society –  a process accelerated somewhat by the outbreak of a deadly virus that quickly grows into a pandemic. Jokes aside, it’s a cool premise. However, there isn’t a exactly an abundance of details out there about the game at the moment.

I had the chance to go hands-on with the game at EB Expo and while I definitely still have questions, I can definitely see the potential here.

EB Expo 2015 - Tom Clancy’s The Division Hands-On

EB Expo 2015 – Tom Clancy’s The Division Hands-On

The core gameplay loop here is pretty stock-standard cover shooter fare but there’s a lot of cool details in the urban environments you’re exploring. The section of the game we loaded into was an encounter that saw three teams navigate a quarantine zone searching for supplies before securing an extraction point. Each member of the team had a different kit and we had to work together to take on a group of AI controlled enemies before crossing paths with the other player-controlled characters.

This is where some of The Division’s more interesting ideas come into play. Each team begins the game in a fragile truce with one another – but it’s entirely in the hands of players how long that truce lasts. Deception is a really interesting game mechanic – as recent board game successes like The Resistance and Coup have shown – and it felt like the demo only scratched the surface of the possibilities here.

I also really liked how the relatively low-player count made it feel like each of my actions and tactical maneuvers mattered. There were never really more than five or six combatants in any firefight – and it made for a much more tense experience than a lot of other multiplayer shooters. It felt almost-methodical in a way, which reminded me a bit of older Tom Clancy games. However, I do hope the final game includes some sort of limited-respawn or a mode that takes this intensity further.

EB Expo 2015 - Tom Clancy’s The Division Hands-On

EB Expo 2015 – Tom Clancy’s The Division Hands-On

While this demo gave me the chance to get a good idea of what the experience of playing The Division is actually like – I still have a lot of questions I want to see answered. The time I spent with the demo made it clear that the team behind the game are looking to experiment and explore more dynamic ways of structuring a multiplayer game, but it wasn’t entirely clear where the encounter I played fits into the rest of the game. Is The Division constructed around instanced encounters like Destiny or Guild Wars, or is it a truly explorable open world? Hopefully all becomes clear in the leadup to the game’s release. Until then, Tom Clancy’s The Division definitely seems like a game worth keeping an eye on.

Tom Clancy’s The Division is out on PS4, Xbox One and PC on March 6th 2015.

Fergus is our TV writer on Resident Entertainment and has a wide knowledge on many TV shows currently gracing our screens. You will find his reviews to be quite detailed in their examination of each episode and he will always leave his insights regarding the characters on screen. Currently he enjoys watching Game Of Thrones, The Newsroom, True Blood, Orange is the New Black and many more.

  • RobLoPR

    Im very exited about this game

  • Shubhendu Singh

    Many other Hand-on previewers said that all of the players/enemies were Bullet sponges, which threw the methodical fights out the window as they stretch to many more minutes than necessary. Did it felt like this ?

    And what is up with Healing-Grenades. I mean how one can explain that ?

  • Clamp

    It looks like good action RPG but what will be more: RPG or action…or bugs:) After latest news, that was a graphic downgrade i was started to worry about future of this game. I hope that will not end like Watch Dogs. But im clam when its come to the Sniper Ghopst Warrior 3 which will be released in next year. CI games rebuild own series to bring us, players, better game, better experience. And thats how it should be done.

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