What You Need To Know - March 8, 2016

Tom Clancy's The Division: What You Need To Know
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Tom Clancy's The Division: What You Need To Know

It feels like forever ago that the first trailer for Tom Clancy's The Division appeared at 2013's E3, but after a three year wait and with Ubisoft's shiny new Snowdrop engine under the hood, the new game finally arrives in stores today. So what can you expect from the next in a series of games that began all the way back in 1992 with The Hunt for Red October? Here's everything you need to know...


So what's the synopsis here?

This time around the action is based in New York, where a group of terrorists have initiated a smallpox epidemic in the city by contaminating banknotes with the disease. As a soldier in the Strategic Homeland Division you'll be trying to find and stop those responsible for spreading the virus, but with the city in disarray there will also be plenty of other enemies to take care of, including rioters, prison escapees and even a militarised gang of former sanitation workers known as The Cleaners, who are attempting to eliminate the spread of the virus by any means necessary. There's also a a military group called The Last Battalion who've gone rogue and are attempting to do the same, even if that means killing every infected citizen.


What's the gameplay like?

The new game engine promises a smoother experience since it's optimised for newer consoles, but generally speaking Ubisoft haven't messed around too much with the Tom Clancy formula. The game does however use and expand upon the destructive environments that formed a huge part of the last Tom Clancy game, Rainbow Six Siege, meaning that all over the game's open world map you'll be able to use your surroundings to your advantage in combat, whether that's shooting enemies through a hole you've smashed through a wall or taking cover behind a damaged vehicle.

There's also a dynamic weather system which may help or hinder you in battle – storms, for example, can make aiming and shooting tricky – while the revolving daytime / nighttime cycle will also alter the dynamics of battle situations and can affect the behaviour of the people around you.

In terms of gameplay modes, there's a solo campaign and a 'hard mode' for seasoned players, but The Division really comes into its own in online co-op mode, where you'll need to pick a team with the right skills for each situation, whether that's combat specialists or medics. This is not to say these aspects are fixed though and actually one of the really cool things about The Division is that you can adjust your special abilities over time to suit your needs. There's also a reputation system in online mode, meaning that if you fire on a target without properly identifying them you can be labelled as an unstable player, but your reputation can also affect that of the other players in your team, so you'll want to be careful not to get too trigger-happy.


Any new features?

Most of the new features in The Division are about improving the way you interact with your environment and in an open-world setting as large and detailed of this that allows for a lot of options, including using the city's subway system and tunnels to complete your aims. There is also a looting feature which means you'll be able to hunt down sought-after weapons and add these to your arsenal, as well upgrading ones you've already grabbed. There will also be plenty of DLC updates coming over the next few months, although Ubisoft have kept fairly tight-lipped on what exactly these will involve.

You'll also be equipped with some handy gadgets including a watch that allows you to view a 3D map of your area, while giving you access to other features including listening in to telephone conversations or information about which group controls the local territory - something which can change entirely over the space of just 24 hours.


Can I see a trailer?

Of course, you can find the cinematic trailer below...



Tom Clancy's The Division is available in hmv stores now

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