Ubisoft’s plague-ridden-New-York simulator The Division released last night at 9 p.m. Pacific and I went hands-on with the game for the third time in as many months, thanks to two earlier beta periods. The result? It still runs! Mostly.
The problem is, as expected, The Division’s online component. Despite two beta periods to (presumably) stress test servers, the clock hit 9 p.m. and The Division hit itself in the face with a tire fire. Things looked like this off-and-on all night:
I’ve no idea how the servers will hold up over the next few days, but like any online-centric game it’s worth keeping in mind the game may be unstable for a bit. The Division is basically an MMO, and if there’s anything we’ve learned from MMOs it’s that launch days are uniformly abysmal. Steam reviews have reacted accordingly, dropping all the way to 45 percent positive as of 1 a.m. Pacific (when I’m writing this).
The game looks decently pretty when I get it to load, though. Here are some screens. (Click on any image to enlarge it.)
As for the game itself, I’m slowly working my way through missions. So far I’ve done quite a few hours of “Clearing floors in generic office buildings” and “Shooting people wearing bulletproof hoodies” and “Watching dogs poop on the street.” The guns feel as spongy as ever, with headshot after headshot barely making a dent in enemies a few levels higher than you—a choice I still think clashes with the ultra-real aesthetic Ubisoft’s touted since the first E3 reveal. I wasted 400-plus rounds of assault rifle ammo on one sniper boss.
It’s a weird game at first blush. We’ll have more for you once I feel I’ve covered enough ground for a proper review. My first impressions aren’t super positive, but maybe it’ll turn around on me later. The important part is: It’s not a technical disaster, aside from the requisite server hiccups.
Hayden writes about games for PCWorld and doubles as the resident Zork enthusiast.