THE shift from New York to Washington DC for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, was a good one, in my opinion, but there’s still a lot of people out there who had become attached to the setting of the first game – so developer Ubisoft has found a way to help them out.
The Warlords of New York expansion for The Division 2 involves a rogue Division agent undoing some of the work from the previous game, where players were trying to secure a plague-hit New York City.
Purely from an aesthetic view, the action now takes place the summer after the virus which devastated the US, so New York isn’t just a snow-covered generic city the way it felt in the previous game.
The story is that Aaron Keener, a rogue agent, has reappeared in New York with his lieutenants and is planning to deploy a bioweapon he developed using the notes from the mad scientist who caused all the trouble in the original game.
You get to ride a helicopter into New York where you discover that things have gone pear-shaped again, with rogue division agents setting up shop in parts of Lower Manhattan. It’s up to you and your team (if applicable) to put and end to their schemes.
Realistically however, I didn’t see much difference between the base Division 2 game and Warlords of New York – especially not anything that would justify the $50 cost. I didn’t see any particularly awesome new guns or gear, there didn’t seem to be any new gameplay mechanics to take advantage of, and the overall experience remained largely unchanged from my perspective.
Sure, the return to New York is a nice touch, the missions have some interesting settings, but ultimately it’s still the same “go to location, shoot enemies, move to new area, shoot enemies again, then move to another area, shoot more enemies, boss battle, collect loot, leave and go look for another mission” found in the base game.
The expansion does include a level boost to 30, which was a welcome bonus , and the overall difficulty level felt well balanced too – whether I was playing solo or in a group, I never felt things were too easy or too hard.
The level design was good too, with some well-made areas to explore and have firefights in; they did a good job of avoiding the “generic city” feeling of the original Division game and including some landmarks or other interesting spots to visit/fire guns in too.
The gear management UI has apparently been overhauled to make it easier to work with, but I still found it complicated (especially for anything besides your guns), not helped by most of the gear I found in my playthroughs being pretty unexciting – the named weapons I found were generally worse than the stuff I already had, for example.
The base Division 2 game itself is very good, but for paid DLC it deserves something beyond “more of the same”, in my view.
If you’re a hardcore Division 2 fan, there’s definitely some appeal in Warlords of New York, but I can’t see it bringing lapsed players back into the game or becoming a fresh magazine of ammunition to rejuvenate the experience for existing players either.
Even so, if you’re stuck inside for the foreseeable future and looking for an apocalyptic-themed MMO to have some fun with, The Division 2 is well worth playing – especially if you prefer your loot-shooters with a modern rather than fantasy or sci-fi twist.