THE DIVISION 2 is free to try this weekend as Ubisoft launches a brief open beta for the looter-shooter.
As the first game did, it pits you as a high-tech agent fighting the forces of chaos in the United States shortly after a biological weapon attack has devastated the country.
The game features a 1:1 recreation of much of Washington DC, inside and out
It’s set in the near future, so as well as the usual array of guns and grenades you’ve got drones, robots and other high-tech wizardry to play with as you try and restore some sort of order to Washington DC.
It’s had two beta tests so far, with an extensive private beta for those who pre-ordered the game followed by a technical test to work on some fixes.
The list of fixes and tweaks based on that testing and feedback is as long as Michael Phelps’ arm, showing quite how seriously the team at Massive is taking getting the game right.
It helps that it’s got a very solid base to work from, with satisfying weapons, a great environment and what looks set to be a well-told story.
Ubisoft Several months after the outbreak from the Division 1, you find yourself in Washington DC
You’ll get to see chunk of the start of that story as well as some secondary paths off it in the public beta to get a flavour for a bunch of the game’s systems.
A few of the skills and variants are locked off for now, but there’s more than enough to get a feel for the game and if the gameplay loop hooks you.
We loved the previous beta, which showed off much of the same content and proves that Ubisoft and Massive have taken everything that was (eventually) great about the original and made it even better.
ANSWER THE CALL
If you happen to think that the likes of Anthem and Destiny are more your bag, you should know that the tech toys and Augmented Reality style interface option given the game a pretty sci-fi feel for what otherwise looks like a modern-day shooter.
The cover mechanics are simple but work well — but the enemies are smart enough to use the relatively open spaces you’re fighting in against you, forcing you to think and move even when you’re playing in a team.
You can pick up some sweet rewards for your character in the game itself if you jump in to help for the final round of testing
We don’t know the exact area covered by The Division 2’s map yet, but it is about 20 per cent larger than the original – and much more alive
There’s a great character creator tool, and varied cosmetic as well as functional loot to you can find a build that suits you and a look you like.
The area you’re fighting in is a near-perfect recreation of Washington DC that has been partially destroyed by the team at Massive — but they started with an inch-perfect 1:1 recreation based on official mapping data and worked from there.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT
Fights happen both inside and out — you might be fighting thugs for control of a street junction to help the surviving civilian population who are trying to get on with their lives, you could be doing battle in a gallery at the Smithsonian Museum, or fighting inside claustrophobic underground spaces.
Really — smart and varied enemies, satisfying weapons, fights that make you think — what’s not to love?
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The beta also includes a glimpse at what the game will look like once you’ve completed the main story and are at the top level, so you can see what awaits you.
Given the year-long plan for content that’s coming up, knowing if the end-game content is likely to be your cup of tea is as important as anything else, so it’s pleasing to see that included.
So if you’ve been burned by Anthem but are still looking for a new game to sink your teeth into for months to come, go check it out this weekend.
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Division 2 year one trailer shows off the next 12 months of content ahead of release