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The Division 2 Hands-On Preview

by Kyle Hanson

The Division 2 is shaping up to be a truly worthy successor.

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Tom Clancy’s The Division from Ubisoft was one of those games that had a huge launch, lost some of its players, and then rebuilt itself. It now stands as a great success for the developer, and garners a huge, devoted audience of players. So, heading into The Division 2, there is a lot at stake. Can Ubisoft keep the magic of the first title and its DLC? Will it feel like a retread without much new? Will it change something that breaks the gameplay loop that was so meticulously crafted in its predecessor? I got to play it at E3 2018, and while I can’t answer all of those questions just yet, it’s looking very good so far.

Playing on an Xbox One X (instead of my usual PC), the game still looked fantastic. The lights of the Xbox E3 Showcase floor were bright, but they couldn’t hide how well Ubisoft’s developers had crafted the post-apocalyptic Washington DC landscape. Our mission was brief, tasking us with pretty much the same thing you saw at Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2018 press briefing.

We moved through a large building, eliminating foes as they appeared, before moving out into the open swampland of our nation’s capital. Air Force One'[s wreckage was nearby, but we had to go around grabbing some loot along the way, of course. Loot was plentiful, and I really liked how well it was worked into the landscape. One drop was hanging in a tree, which we had to shoot down.

Gunplay was always one of The Division’s strong suits, and that has carried over perfectly into The Division 2. Taking cover, moving through enemy fire, popping headshots whenever possible. It was all here, and it all felt just as fantastic as before. I was using an assault rifle as my default weapon, switching to a shotgun for close-quarters encounters. These were rare, given the huge number of cover spots in the large, open area.

What was more useful and much more fun to use, was my character’s Grenade Launcher. This allowed me to clear entire areas if I could get a well placed shot. Enemies cowering behind cover? Not anymore. Some other features, such as our secondary ability, were disabled for the demo, so I can’t go too much into how this game shifts things around there.

My time with The Division 2 showed that the team has a good handle on what made the first game so much fun to begin with. We should get more info about the game throughout the week, but this first look was impressive, even if it didn’t showcase the big changes that will surely come for the sequel.

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