Tom Clancy's The Division 2 takes place in the USA's national capital, Washington, DC which is in a bit of a mess with rebel gangs roaming the streets of the now dilapidated city.
As you play The Division 2, you'll run into several NPC agents who give you intel and instructions about the best ways to stop the invading factions yet the story is relatively barebones with it instead placing a priority on gameplay and character progression. Speaking of which, territories in the in-game version of DC all have suggested player levels so while you can technically explore most of the map at any time, you'll want to stick to your recommended territories unless you enjoy being gunned down in the streets by powerful adversaries.
As I mentioned in my preliminary review, there's a great variety of weapons including assault rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, and, my personal favorite, the light machine gun. You acquire weapons by crafting, buying, and looting them and you'll also come across several different armour types that you can equip to improve your stats as well. Killing elite enemies and looting them is one of the most satisfying parts of The Division 2 as it creates a rewarding sense of progression. Most enemies scale to your level so grinding levels outside of missions doesn't ease the challenge much. I found that I started to get the hang of the difficulty around level 18, possibly because I was improving or because I started to get more powerful loot drops that gave me a fair shot against the enemy factions. That being said, there was never a point when I was playing solo where I felt overpowered or completely in control.
Enemies love to flank and aggressively pursue you from multiple directions and that can be exceptionally difficult to handle on your own. You can only get shot in your back so many times before you become frustrated and start searching out fellow agents to play with.
The mission structures are very similar: enter a building, clear out waves of enemies, and then exit the building. I know the core focus of The Division 2 is shooting, shooting, and more shooting but I would have liked to see a bit more variety in the objectives. The map of Washington, DC is very clearly laid out and easy to follow but several of the other menus feel a bit convoluted. It took a while to get used to the menu system and I found myself spending an excessive amount of time fumbling through them at the start as the overabundance of things going on can be overwhelming. That being said, The Division 2 should be commended for the amount of content and the overall level of polish that it has, especially when compared to other recently released shooters.
Anyway, don't expect to be finished with The Division 2 after completing the last main mission because upon completing it, you unlock a large amount of new missions, objectives, and abilities. One of these is the specialization tracks which grant you one of three super-powerful new weapon types as well as brand new skill trees to start filling out using a new type of in-game experience meter. The new missions and strongholds take place in the same places as previous missions so they're not really new as much as they are re-energized with stronger enemies. These missions are referred to as "Invaded" and your goal is to chase the Black Tusk (an enemy faction) out. Some words of advice: don't underestimate the Black Tusk and don't bother trying to take them on by yourself.
You're no longer ranked based on player level post-game. Instead, you'll find a new ranking called Gear Score. This takes into account the caliber of your weaponry and gear to give you an overall rank. This gear score determines access to the re-locked strongholds and will increase as you loot and uncover new gear. You'll want to complete missions and other activities to improve loot in order to access strongholds. As you get more powerful, you'll unlock new World Tiers complete with even tougher enemies and stronger loot.
Alongside a seemingly never-ending amount of content, there's the contaminated Dark Zone that you can explore. Dark Zone is a pseudo PvP and PvE mode where you'll find top-notch loot and fellow Division agents. The difference is that other players now have the ability to go rogue and attack you in an effort to earn rogue rewards or to simply steal your newly found loot. It adds an interesting nuance to the Division 2's gameplay although the time I spent in the Dark Zone felt a bit empty as I was expecting a lot more action.
Finally, you can also choose to spend some time in Conflict, The Division 2's true PvP mode. Conflict consists of two competitive modes: Skirmish (team deathmatch) and Domination (where you win by controlling specific points on the map). Each mode features a small 4 versus 4 battle and won't take more than 12 minutes to complete. Fighting against other powerful agents and finding the best weapons and skills adds a layer of depth to the gameplay but the relatively sparse amount of modes and basic progression system may not be able to hold the interest of competitive shooting fans for very long.
The Division 2 is jam-packed with things to do and it does an excellent job of rewarding you with exciting loot. Just make sure to join up with other agents as traveling the streets of DC alone can be both dull and excessively difficult.
- + Fantastic, smooth, and satisfying gunplay
- + Rewarding loot makes every mission and objective feel worthwhile
- + Tons of content to enjoy
- - Main missions could use more variety
- - Playing by yourself isn't nearly as fun as playing with others
- - Barebones story