After a number of delays and a lot of hype we are only a week away from Ubisoft’s big Tom Clancy game and here you have the MGLowdown bringing you a The Division Preview with our own crew bringing our thoughts on the game.

This article is split into 3 sections for you, first you have myself, David and Neal’s thoughts on our time with the game. Next a full look at the features of The Division and finally a page with all the key trailers from the game to date.

More on The Division Here.

1Our Thoughts

Get set for our MGL Division of David Game, Respawn Rossco and Neal Noakes who talk though their thoughts and impressions of the game from playing both the Beta’s and the EGX preview from last year.

There are mixed feelings on the game but we all have our fingers crossed Ubisoft’s RPG really launches on a high note on March 8, 2016.

David – Played Open Beta

I’ve not been a huge advocate of The Division. I’m looking forward to it in a purely curious and “there’s not exactly a lot else to do” kind of way, but what I played through in the Beta was good, not great.

The Destiny comparison is odd to me, despite having used the comparison myself because it’s the easiest way to convey what The Division appears to be. Destiny, for whatever gripes many of us may have had, including my own, had core gameplay perfected in a fantasy world open to whatever Bungie decides to do with it. The Division is in a possible-future of our real world, filled with real weapons that lack imagination in their look and feel.

That said, The Division could absolutely appeal to the loot addiction found in all of us. I found myself desperately scavenging the Dark Zone in an effort to get some purple knee-pads. I’d find a blue and think “Yes! Get away from me, greenie!”. It has that potential grip, but will that grip close to a throttle? I wonder. The adaptable class abilities mean that it’s easier to customise your team to your needs, but it also consumes any kind of identity the game might have had.

A final point: this will not be ideal for a solo player in my opinion, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s never been billed as such. Nobody at Ubisoft is outwardly going to tell you “Don’t play this alone”, but that’s why we’re here. My experience was had with 3 close friends and I enjoyed that time with them, which translated to enjoyment of the game because we worked as a unit. The risk of being betrayed by your friends is low (depending on your friends, I imagine). That said, the Beta didn’t leave me wanting more. It left me on neutral ground, a week out from release and hoping the plot thickens or the gameplay becomes more engaging at higher levels.

Rossco – Played EGX Preview, Closed and Open Beta

Public Enemy once told me “Don’t believe the Hype” and I took this 80s song lyric to heart for a long time. But when it comes to The Division I really, really want to believe it. I want this hype to be real, and be talking about one of the definitive games of the Xbox One and PS4s life so far.

It’s got everything to like, a cool plot that actually feels like it could happen one day. The Last of Us was the same with the fungus idea; it’s a stretch of what is real and just enough to work for this harsh reality to be accepted by us in some way.

What should also go mentioned for the game is the definite genre class of RPG, this is no Destiny (have we compared these two enough yet?) in that it’s sold as a shooter. Ubisoft have promised us an action RPG, and in my play time with the game I did get a hint of the Mass Effect style of RPG to it, and for me this is one of the big keys to The Division’s success.

I played the game at EGX and this was a Dark Zone mission, which showed me the mix of co-op, player VS enemy and Player Vs Player elements and how they all link together. This demo really impressed me at the time I have to say, everything really did work and this was in September on a build pre E3. This has given me high hopes for the game initially. The PVE enemy AI was good, they would really look for cover when under threat from us, and move up and flank while we were a man down. You could hear them talking and everything for me was great there.

Then came the PVP, seamless as we tried to extract with our loot. The Ubisoft team forced our hand though and we had to go rogue and fight. It was great fun, the hard hitting weapons that felt heavy and had real bulk were impressive to yield as were the special grenades and equipment. I left the demo very happy, and I’m not one particularly for playing with or agains others in my RPGs.

The recent Beta’s have shown the game off from a different point of view, showing the movement around the now ruined city of New York. One thing that must be said, the game does look great, the locations and the detail really stand out personally and if they can fix the pop-in that was in the last Beta before the initial release it will be an incredible technical game.

I liked the Beta/demo’s but I feel they were holding a lot back. Does this mean the game is holding back and won’t be the epic title we’ve all expected? That is the question here, how much is Ubisoft playing cards close to their chest and how much is the game lacking in areas people have raised concerns on.

Given the additional time spent to develop The Division and the fact this is only coming to PC, Xbox One and PS4 there is nothing to hold it back from being up there with the best games of the generation so far, other than the lack of ability in the development of the game.

What the game will be is stunning to look at, and it seems to have solid 3rd person cover-shooting gameplay. The deciding factor for me, as a lone-wolf type gamer, is 1) How playable is the game going to be if I choose to play alone? 2) How rich is the RPG element to the title? 3) How many original elements to the game/missions will there be, because this really needs to hook me for months not just a few days.

Many are afraid of this game because they have been looking forward to it for so long; wounds are fresh from big hype disappointment already so we are right to be cautious here. For me there is every ingredient necessary in The Division to make one of the games of the year. But, much like me trying to bake a cake with the same ingredients as a master baker, Ubisoft really need to have got this right in the extra time they have taken and made something as special as we, the gamers, hope it to be.

Neal – Played Closed and Open Beta

The Division feels a lot like Destiny to me, I liked Destiny, I thought the notion of an online, ever-evolving game sounded awesome, but it turns out it was a short lived labour of love. When I first heard about Destiny (especially as a Halo fan) I was very excited, and for the first few weeks, it delivered, fast, fluid and fun it seemed to be all the things that it promised.

But the campaign was abrupt and then the playlists became locked behind ‘pay-to-play’ walls – DLC as it is often referred, I suddenly couldn’t help random gamers, couldn’t level up, and couldn’t advance in the story because I refused to pay £40 for the ‘season pass’ A season pass I might add that doesn’t include all the add-ons.

My frustration with Destiny grew as it quickly became unplayable, and I quickly became a second-class player, less worthy of Destiny’s time than my full-paying counterparts.

So Imagine my concern when I begin to play the Division beta and a lot of the same hallmarks are there, level restricted items, areas locked to PVP only, a game that actively communicates your need to join a group or guild.

You see – it’s actually the same issue I had with elder scrolls online, the game played just fine, but the growth arc required soon out matched my trajectory as I wasn’t on premium (and therefore received no XP boost) and single player friendly missions were scarce.

Meaning to advance in single played I would have had to be part of a group, which was further restricted by factions. Again, these things culminate in me having real reservations about The Division. And online gaming in general.

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