The division was a game that initially blew me away for about 30 minutes. I picked it up in the late winter doldrums of 2016, expecting very little. The opening in Brooklyn was intriguing, especially as I was living in New York at the time. When the game dropped me off at Chelsea Piers, I was overwhelmed in the best way.
The game had this gorgeous low visibility on account of the snow and darkness of night. Their were other ‘agents’ around, and thus the world felt alive. But the pve was instanced, and thus there was no immersion breaking bullshit from other people bunny hopping to their destinations.
As I moved on and started tackling missions, my wonder faded a bit, though I continued to admire the multiplayer side of things. I added everyone I could as a friend, and I liked how I could see all the agents on my minimap without them intruding on my experience. Matchmaking worked well, and coordination was enjoyable and effective. I’m a sucker for innovative multiplayer, especially if it accentuates immersion. In this respect, I’m still waiting for someone to outdo Demon’s Souls.
On my second day of play I went into the Dark Zone for the first time and had the experience I’ll always remember this game for. I followed the sounds of a chopper to an extraction zone. Again- low visibility because of the night & snow. Spotlights were as likely to blind as they were illuminate, and I felt totally exposed when passing under them. The NPC’s were deadly, and the players were all terrified and confused. These experiences can usually only be had when a game is no more than 48 hours old.
At the extraction point though I could barely see anyone, but I could hear everyone. I was terrified by and determined to contribute to the din of gunfire. I see a group of players bunkered down, and I take a potshot. They scatter like ants, and then begin to converge on my location. I take another shot, this time at a group of NPCs. In the ensuing confusion, the players aggro the NPCs and I make my escape.
I like survival because it captures that feeling again. I don’t care about leveling, items, or grinding for loot. Survival puts a group of 24 players in a new instance of Manhattan where the weather is brutal and all their items/abilities are gone. Everything will kill you, and all you have is a pistol and a need to find medicine. Nobody has loot, nobody has ults & abilities. Everyone is nervous/frantic. My first play through I was half dead within 2 minutes. Reviewing my options while I warmed up at a fire barrel, another player came along that had managed to procure an assault rifle. He takes off, and I decide my best shot is to follow in his wake until I can improve my gear. A blizzard set in, and I’m struggling to keep up. His outline fades into the white, and I frantically sprint after him…
Survival is exceptional for single players. I only do pve, as I’ve traded in my office chair and laser mouse for a couch and a controller. I’m happier with my gaming if I seek out experiences instead of competition. I’m sure I’ll tire of it in a few days, but until then I’m happy with my purchase and glad Massive accentuated this part of the game.