Tom Clancy's The Division PS4 Closed Beta Review: "Innovative Dark Zone Live Up To Expectations"
Honestly, I've played Tom Clancy's The Division Alpha since the first day of availability, and what I have seen now in the Closed Beta doesn't come as a surprise to me. The story missions have remained the same in quantity, although there have been some slight changes and some additional polish you will notice especially when it comes to the difficulty settings in the PvE mode. Several side missions and activity have been added in comparison with the Alpha, probably meaning that even more will be introduced in the final release, and, while it has basically remained the same, I've been focusing much more on the Dark Zone this time around. The Dark Zone is in fact the core of the innovation Massive Entertainment is striving to bring in with this video game.
For those of you who don't know what the Dark Zone is, here you have a quick explanation. It is a zone – ok, probably you already got this – where you can both cooperate and fight against real players to gain better and rarer loot to use in the PvE area. While there is not so much innovation in this, the way you do gain loot is particularly interesting. Let's take a look at it.
You can't just get loot from your AI driven or player controlled enemies, you need to extract it. Once you gain loot the way I'll tell you in a few lines, you will be required to shoot a flare up in the air and wait for an helicopter to come over you to grab the materials or resources or weapons or accessories you were able to get while in the Dark Zone.
How do you get this stuff? You can either kill AI driven enemies or player controlled ones, as I said before, but, while you'll be rewarded DZ points and loot for eliminating dangerous mobs, doing the same with real humans will provide you with a malus, leading to a lost of rank, and the momentary status of Traitor.
Being a traitor makes you an easy target for everyone in the Dark Zone, as you will be flagged on the onscreen map, and therefore the one who will be in everyone's scopes: I've been a traitor a couple times and I can assure, I've had a really bad time while trying to survive. One more thing you need to know is that, being this traitory thing just a moment in the game action, so nothing definitive at all, players will be changing their statuses very fast. This has led me to kill someone who was not a traitor anymore and basically made me a traitor as well!
Another question I've been asked for a while is how much different Tom Clancy's The Division actually is from Destiny. Well, I won't hide from you the fact that these two games have a lot in common. First, they both won't require you to have a fireteam but it is highly suggestable, since you will easily meet other people with their teams willing to use on their favor the fact that you are playing alone. I've been playing the beta alone and it has been fun, but I had to face this and it was a bit frustrating sometimes, as I kept dying when entering a certain area in the Dark Zone until it was cleaned up by non hostile Agents.
Differently from Destiny, anyway, The Division doesn't have a proper PvP mode where you can go and get in a team to beat another team made by other human players. Ubisoft's New York is one single place all the time, meaning that you pass from a zone to another but the city is always there for you to play, not offering great differences in terms of gameplay.
If you want you can play as a Traitor all the time, it is fun just as it is to play with your friends or cooperating with strangers, and go for people who are waiting for an helicopter to extract their precious rare – nothing says you can't do it or say it is a bad/illegal/unpolite way to play it. It's just one of the couple ways Massive Entertainment thought you should be playing The Division.
The game is a role playing title as well, which means you can customize your appearance and accessories all the time for you to have better stats, make more damage per second, etc. This is a pretty fresh take on the shooter genre, as you would expect from it – especially from a game labelled "Tom Clancy's"- extreme realism with one bullet kills and something like that.
Well, this never happens in The Division, as you have to consider mobs exactly the way you would with Fallout 4 rats or The Witcher 3 bears. They're something that live and exist in the game's universe apart from being what we know them to be in real life. They have a life bar and a certain resistance to our bullets, depending on their levels and the quality of our equipment – that's precisely what you need to loot for and invest your DZ points on.
In terms of graphics, what we have here is a great looking console massive multiplayer online game. This means two The Division has a good aspect overall, offering a snowy post-apocaliptic New York, which is pretty unique in the gaming landscape today. It's even better on PC, of course it was a given since the PC version was announced, but being released on a console doesn't make it bad at all (just a bit more aliasing and less definition in certain areas).
Talking about frame rate, I have not noticed any particular issues on both the console platforms out there. Sometimes you will be looking at a slight but constant dip when the game loads new areas in the checkpoints that split The Division's New York up, but it is nothing you will really have a bad feeling about while playing. So, everything seems good enough, including the network, for the game to finally launch on March 8 (PC, PS4 and Xbox One): while we wait for it to happen, let us know your experiences with the closed beta in the comments below.