I was not expecting to be playing the private beta for The Division 2. Beta entry was a preorder bonus, and I definitely didn’t preorder the game. I didn’t even play the first one or have any interest in the second. But what I did do was watch about ten minutes of Inside Xbox on Mixer a couple days ago to get an exclusive compass for Sea Of Thieves, and apparently that also earned me beta access. I’m probably the least qualified person to talk about this game, but hey, I played for an hour or so, so here’s what I thought.
Right off the bat, I wasn’t very impressed. It took a couple tries to even get into the game thanks to the client crashing in the menus. Thankfully, after I managed to get into it, everything was perfectly stable. You start of with creating a character, which seems to be just cycling through a couple body types. There’s also a random option, which seems to do the same thing. I’m assuming this is because the actual game will have a more fleshed out character creator, but as I didn’t play the first one, I’m not actually sure.
The backstory is presented to you pretty quickly and vaguely. Images of coffee cups and dripping blood fill the screens while a narrator tells you all about how we used to take everything for granted but now the world ended or something. I don’t know. Maybe with the context of the first game this would be better, but it just left me more confused than anything else.
But hey, now we can start playing! At it’s core, The Division 2 is a loot-shooter similar to Destiny but with more of a modern military aesthetic. So, your first objective is to get to the White House, and you spend the whole time you’re doing it ducking behind cover and shooting members of some group called the Hyenas, who are apparently the bad guys.
For the most part, everything feels fine. The shooting is nice and snappy and getting in and out of cover works well. You can even select a new point of cover from cover and hold down the A button to automatically run to it. It works quite well. Enemies are a little bullet-spongey, but otherwise, playing the game feels just fine.
What really hurts the game however is its setting. Most loot based games are set in fantastical worlds, whether sci-fi or fantasy. This allows the loot and the enemies to be unique and interesting. But, having the game take place in the real world means that you’re really just shooting dudes and finding and putting on normal looking body armor. It’s incredibly boring.
Once you make it to the White House, which is apparently where the group you’re a part of, The Division, hangs out. You get introduced to a few ideas, like perks and upgrades. Honestly, nothing you’ve never seen before. I selected a couple perks that let me hold an extra gun and an extra health pack. Next, you’re sent out to a nearby settlement. Getting there is just running down a street shooting bad guys. At one point I ran into some AI controlled allies, but otherwise nothing too interesting happened the whole way there.
At the settlement, I was given the first true story mission. Another Division agent had been sent out to rescue the leader of the settlement’s daughter, and now you’re going to go help them out. As I entered the mission, I was asked to enter matchmaking and join a team. Playing with other people really helped the whole experience.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still pretty generic, but running through a building blowing away enemies and helping each other when we lose all our health made things at least a little more fun. This mission didn’t do much to make us really consider what we were doing though. Pretty much everyone just ran their own ways and killed whatever they came across. The boss at the end was particularly silly, taking like a million bullets to the face while his armor slowly fell off.
In the end, I did have fun with the little bit I played, but this didn’t do anything to convince me that I should actually pick the game up. It’s another loot shooter, and one with a pretty boring setting. It seems well made for what it is, but I think I already got my fill.