The Division 2 sounds good on paper, but I need more convincing


Ubisoft’s E3 demo left a lot to the imagination

Time will tell if The Division 2 adequately builds on where the last game left off or if it’ll come out of the gate a little less refined than fans would hope. The loot-collecting open-world game shifts the fight against bullet-resistant bad men from New York City to a particularly ravaged Washington D.C.

My hands-on demo was not as enlightening as I would’ve liked, but then, it’s hard to showcase a big game like this in just 15 minutes. We didn’t learn anything meaningful about the story — the playable slice of Division 2 was largely context-free — but I did fire a grenade launcher and let loose a bee-like hive of drones to do my bidding in cover-based skirmishes around the crash site of Air Force One.

The launcher was my particular character’s signature weapon; it took up its own slot, with its own special ammo dropped by enemies, and packed a satisfying punch. When you hit level 30 in The Division 2, you’ll choose a specialization (others include sharpshooter and survivalist). Ubisoft intends for this to be a “versatile character progression system” in the endgame with new skills, mods, and talents.

It all felt fine. Just fine. You can get a sense for the slice I played in this post-conference footage.

Last week, Ubisoft spoke about eight-player raids and promised “a full year of free story-driven missions, map expansions, and new game features” for the sequel.

There was also talk of “a range of PvP experiences, scalable World Tiers, and a fully redesigned and rebalanced Dark Zone,” which should hopefully keep folks nice and preoccupied with The Grind while they wait for all those free post-launch updates to roll out. I saw none of this at E3.

The marketing machine is just getting started for The Division 2, so the answers to most of our burning questions will have to wait for a later date. It isn’t due out until March 15, 2019. Let’s hope all of the trials and tribulations from the first game make for a much-improved sequel at launch.