Unsure about buying The Division after playing the beta

I played the beta of Tom Clancy’s The Division on PS4 over the weekend (not sure why they need to keep flogging poor old deceased Tom Clancy to promote the game, but I understand Red Storm Entertainment was involved). I liked it quite a bit. It was atmospheric and tense, and I felt like I had a real sense of purpose in the game. But I’m not sure that’s enough to convince me to spend $60 on the game when it comes out.

Comparisons to Destiny

Many folks compare The Division to Destiny, and they’re not wrong. Both are always-online shooters where the player controls one of the few good guys left in an effort to save the world (or New York, whichever). The gunplay in Destiny is a lot more fun than that of The Division, but some of that is because Destiny can have crazy interesting future weapons, while The Division has gun models much like we have now. The Division is a bit finicky when it comes to aiming down sight (ADS) and scopes. As with Destiny, left trigger (L2) brings the gun up so you can sort of see down the sights, but if you have a scope, you need a stick press to actually bring the scope to your eye. This is unwieldy and slow (though perhaps more realistic than Destiny’s rapid scope movement), so scopes may not get as much use as in Destiny. Perhaps this is because of the shift from 3rd person view to the through scope view, while Destiny is already first person, so the shift is less significant.

Destiny has a player vs player (PvP) mode in which players compete against each other in the Crucible. This is somewhat tacked on and distinct from the normal missions in the game. The Division, however, has the “Dark Zone” area of the city which looks like all the others, but PvP is enabled. In the Dark Zone, you still fight NPCs and get loot, but you can also fight other players and get their stuff too. Loot from the Dark Zone is contaminated, so you need to airlift it out. This involves calling down a chopper, waiting for it, and attaching your stuff. Well, during all that time, you’re a huge target for both bad guy NPCs and griefer players who know exactly where you are and what you’re doing. Once you shoot another player, you’re marked as rogue and other players can shoot you without penalty. But, it is way too easy to accidently hit someone, and sometimes I’m certain I was shooting a rogue player but it thought I was shooting at a non-rogue one, so I was marked rogue even when I didn’t want to be. The Dark Zone play was fun and intense, but a lousy solo experience (because of the griefers that are waiting for you). As a group, it is good.

The normal missions are ok solo, but are way more fun as a group, but they got very “same-y” quickly. The impression I got from the beta is that it will be big, dynamic, and fun game, but mostly for group activities. Since I tend to like playing solo at least some of the time, I’m not yet convinced that The Division will be ideal for me. I realize it was just a beta, so there is obviously much more content that they didn’t show us, so I’m reserving judgment for a while yet.

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