To be(ta) or not to be(ta)

Let’s begin class.

I generally prefer not to take part in betas. Having spent some time working on game testing, I know what a game before release looks like. Something unfinished is never what you want it to be when you try it out. But, what can I say: Someone e-mails me a code to a closed beta and I say “what the hell?”.

Today, we’ll be talking about The Division.

I’ve been sitting on the game since release. I wasn’t sure when or if I’d actually play it. Why? Because I played the beta. Now, I’m not saying that the beta was bad. Well, actually, I am saying that. I can’t believe how boring it was. The cover system, the game play, all of it. All of the things that they tried to show off as the crowning achievements of the game. But when I tried to check everything out – closed for beta, closed for beta, closed for beta. Yup. I ran around, and there were moments where I was having fun. And, in the games defense, I didn’t really have time to make it into the Dark Zone. So, maybe that’s what I really missed out on? What I did learn from the beta was that the highly-anticipated Division, played poorly. The controls were janky, the enemies were bullet sponges and there didn’t seem to be a whole lot going on. I honestly didn’t expect a lot story wise from the beta.

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I clearly missed out on something. Because when the people who I generally play games with played the open beta, all I heard was how amazing the game really was. So I didn’t cancel my pre-order. The urging of the people around me is the main reason I kept it.

So my first impressions of the game (well, first since the game went gold, anyway) is that I wasn’t wrong. Now, that’s not to say the game doesn’t have some aspects that aren’t enjoyable.

I didn’t think, coming out of the beta, that there would be any redeemable aspects to the game. Maybe I just didn’t do enough, maybe there wasn’t enough access, but it didn’t do it for me

Going into the live game, I didn’t know what to expect. But here’s what I think so far:

Mechanics: It’s not Destiny solid, but it’s good. The game handles better. It doesn’t offer a lot of variety. Stats differ from gun to gun, but the feel is similar. It is also a little ridiculous that I can pour boxes of bullets into someone’s head and watch them walk away.

Story: So, I’m not all the way through, and I’ll reserve full judgement until I see how it all plays out, but it’s kind of bizarre. Sleeper agents among the populous, but instead of the usual terrorist fare, they’re actually secret agents? Um, okay.

Gameplay: Again, I’m not top end, I haven’t done any of the Dark Zone PvP, so I’m reserving full comments until I get through it all, but…if I’m the last line of defense keeping society from totally falling apart and devouring itself, why am I shooting and looting the people who are doing the initial shooting and looting? I know this is a common complaint, but, yea. It makes sense. Lastly: Upgrades. The choices for what one can upgrade in terms of gear slots defy usual RPG choices, and are quite odd. Scarf slot? Holster? Yea…Upgrading both your base and your character also seem to lack imagination.

I think, and I’ve said so from the beginning, that this is probably one of those games that requires friends. Failing that, there isn’t much exciting about it. When I cap out, I’ll get back to you.

On a side note, I have to say: The Tom Clancy releases were the games I was most excited about during the E word, so far they’ve been pretty disappointing. Let’s hope Ghost Recon has something to offer…well, next year.

– The Ego

 

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