Underground DLC Review: Published 13/07/2016
Underground is the very first DLC for The Division which comes as part of the season pass.
It always made me think of how they could expand with the DLC, but the way Ubisoft has done it, makes other ideas possible now.
Underground basically utilises the Underground train network that lies beneath Manhattan. When you start missions you board the train and this takes you to the area that you need to go to for the mission.
The basic aim of the Underground DLC is to set up operations and to complete them. Simples. You can change the difficulty of the missions and so on which i’ll go onto later.
This could be anything from rescuing JTF officers to retrieving highly sensitive documents. Each mission can be split into single or multiple stages, this will obviously determine the amount of time it takes to complete a mission which can range from 15 minutes for a single mission to any where up to an hour for the multiple stages.
You can also add directives onto your missions which will give you a little more beef to it, but the rewards will be much greater dependant on which directives or how many directives you place on to it.
I actually really like this DLC, not only does it add to the overall story of the game, but it was a subtle addition to the game and a very smart one I felt. If they couldn’t add to the overground area, build under. This also gives the scope to expand as well and make the underground absolutely massive and up how varied the missions are. That’s not to say that there not varied now, but with a larger area this can give the option to maybe do something that a smaller more narrow area can’t provide.
The Underground DLC also introduces an Underground Rank, and as usual the higher the rank the more that is unlocked for you. Ranking comes from finishing missions as well as the standard killing enemies and getting XP that way.
There are vendors in the underground, in the main underground base there is one vendor who you have to use Phoenix Credits with so unless you have 300+ you probably won’t be able to get anything from them, however I have found that the Caches you get from the missions do contain some really good stuff, and I have had a couple of gear items come from these. Tidy! (As the Welsh say)
There are other vendors before the main stairs in the middle part between the underground and base of operations, which sell your usual weapons as well as some blueprints, however again these cost Phoenix Credits, so unless you are loaded with them, you’re not going to get anything. I say this, but you do get Phoenix Credits from finishing missions and you get a fair few if you are doing missions on Hard or harder than hard…
This is a very good content and builds on an already very good game. For me, if this is what each piece of DLC is going to be like, then it was worth the £30 paid for it. 🙂
Original Review: Published 10/03/2016
Ah The Division, a game which has been teased to us for what seems like a millennia. E3 after E3 would pass and we would get a glimpse of it, with no release date in sight, and after 2015’s the same happened again, there was no release date and it seemed like it would never come, that was until Ubisoft announced the March 8th release date and cue the excitement from a lot in the gaming world.
The question was though, so many years in development, and so many years teased, has the game lived up to expectations?
There is a slight difference in what we originally saw when the first gameplay videos were released to the final product, but this is kind of standard these days, developers seem to see how good they can get the game looking, then play around with the rest such as animations, combat and other things that might happen on screen in greater capacity that can take up resources and affect the frame rate, and then to level out at a playable rate they will dumb the graphics down so that everything is steady and playable.
However, even though the graphics are slightly lower than what was originally shown, the game is still fantastic looking and the lighting effects are brilliant. The day to night cycle transition is so smooth, I love seeing the effect of the sun going down, especially when you can see the light coming through the buildings within Manhattan and then changing to night.
Another thing I loved seeing is again the seamless change in the weather, the change from a nice but cold sunny day in Manhattan to a snowy blistering evening is again seamless, seeing a couple of flakes of snow, to then have it get heavier and heavier and seeing the floor and surroundings change with this is brilliant. Also wandering around the city and hearing jazz music to it suddenly changing to Silent Night… That was kind of eerie, but again gave me chills and another reason to love the game, such diversity as you move around.
Each district within the map has a recommended level that you should be at before exploring and taking on the missions. In some ways I would take notice of this, as i decided to go into an area which was recommended for levels 10-15, and I was only level 5, I came across a group of people who were within this level, and needless to say I didn’t survive the encounter. I think if i had had other people with me it would have been a different outcome, but on your own it is a trickier world to navigate, which is where the game shines, for those who do like to go Lone Wolf, you can but you will have to work hard as you progress through the world. On a personal level after having one of my friends back me up I do prefer to have someone there with me, which I think this game wants you to do. I think it would prefer for you to have someone or a group of people there with you, especially when it comes to the dark zone, which i’ll talk more about later.
There is plenty for you to do within the world with lots of side missions, and encounters to take on as well as the main story missions. You also have a lot of random events that pop up from time to time and things that happen around the city which you can help with, such as civilians in need, so you can give them food items, or energy bars which you can find around the world, or help someone who is getting mugged or beaten up. I also love in the game how side and other missions are added to your map as well, you read a board and they get downloaded straight onto your map for you to see. This happens at each safe house within the area and when you ask for a updates, these will show as added, and when you open your map they should be added on there for you to see. Brilliant!
There is so much versatility to the game, with so much to do, this is going to be one of those game which is going to take up a lot of your time.
One thing that has disappointed me with the game, is the character creation. There really wasn’t much choice in what you could make your character look like. It would have been nice to try and make my character at least look like me.
There are plenty of options available for things like different items of clothing, so people look different in that way, but it would be nice to have a the face of the character more customisable. If i’m going to be honest from the similar models used in other Ubisoft games, this isn’t something that has surprised me, I just feel like it’s a missed opportunity to broaden the game more.
You have perks and abilities which you can link to your character to use with them, such as being able to revive other players, unlocking things like sticky bombs etc. Nice variety there, and I can see it getting a bit of a headache as things start to unlock and not being sure of the combination to use. Which for me is always a nice headache to have, i’ve always found it’s good to experiment and see which combo work best, and which ones don’t suit your style of play. There is something for everyone within the game and I think it’s just down to your preferences. 🙂
I’m now going to talk about the Dark Zone. The Division’s PvP section, and also the place where you can get the best loot. The Dark Zone is very hard, as when you find something truly awesome, you still have to extract it, which means minutes of survival as other players in the zone target you and try to take your items for their own. Brutality ensues as no one can be trusted, I wouldn’t even trust the buddy you’ve gone in with as they can easily turn on you.
It’s a brilliant mode and a change of pace to the other stuff you do in the game, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but I would highly recommend trying it at least once and going in with a couple of friends to try and see what you can come out with.
Overall The Division has been a long time in coming but for me it was worth the wait, its a game which is going to keep me occupied for a long time and i’m sure some of the friends I have on Xbox will be doing the same, so there’s opportunities for me to join people and take Manhattan by storm.
I’m going to give The Division a 9
Game reviewed on Xbox One