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The Division Open Beta – What’s new and better?

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I’ve been sitting in a sort of mild depression since the Division closed beta ended. If you read through my previous article on it (http://invisioncommunity.co.uk/2016/01/30/division-beta-preview/) I thoroughly enjoyed it. I may have enjoyed it a little too much though and it seems to have put me off some other games I’ve been meaning to start playing.

Thankfully Ubisoft has returned with another full pill pot of Division to dose me up until the final release and I’m all much excited to get back in with the new content available. Ubisoft has fixed up some issues from the first beta and added a new story mission to give us a better grasp of how the story works.

So let’s start as I did with the new mission. ‘The Subway Morgue’ tasks you with rescuing an engineer character, Paul Rhodes, so you can open the Tech Wing of your base of operations. Sounds like a simple enough task? Well it would be without are new enemy faction: The Cleaners. Hardcore hazmat wearers, the group is obsessed with eradicating the disease with fire, and lots of it. The Cleaners are best dealt with at middle distance, and shooting their gas tanks is an easy way to get rid of them. Ubisoft has painted a broad set of enemy factions so far with looters and escaped prisoners and the Cleaner’s nicely fill the looney-bin end of the scales.

Upon completion you get shown around the tech wing of your base of operations. This unlocks the tech upgrades in your skill tree. At the moment not too much can be said about this tree other than you unlock a deployable turret and who can dispute an extra friendly gun being anything but a good thing.

Ubisoft has put plenty of work into the Dark Zone as well. Firstly the number of NPC enemies has been ‘significantly increased’ in number and increased slightly in difficulty. This does solve a small issue within the dark zone of lacking enemies, and joining an area in the previous beta I usually found that all the enemies were dead. The Dark Zone chests also now refresh less often with better weapons. This never felt like a problem in my experience as chests were usually all pilfered by the time I arrived.

The Rogue Agent mechanic has also been through some large changes. The reward for surviving a rogue agent cycle is now much higher. The damage required to go rogue is now much higher as well, meaning less accidental rogue moments which were aplenty in the closed beta.

Not much else has changed in this beta. Plenty of bug fixes were expected and are not worth much note other than a thanks to Ubisoft for sorting them. Ubisoft has also hinted at a reward in the final game for players of the beta, yet not disclosed any more to date. There is also an emphasis of ‘lanes’ appearing, with a recent video of the third story mission showing the various ways player can engage opponents; whether perching at a distance as a sniper or closing in and flanking opponents. While these sound good on paper and look good in the video, how this works in game will be questionable. The two missions played so far do not really give too much room for sniper characters, being enclosed and in small corridors and rooms. Nonetheless I pray this transfers well into the final game and we can play out whichever tactics take our fancy.

So far the game has not put me off yet. Ubisoft is keeping a lot of the main story close to chest and giving people plenty of the side story to get a feel of the game’s grinding. At the moment I’m still very much excited for the final release. I’ve been waiting almost 2 years for this game and, at the moment, it seems like a worthwhile wait.

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Studying BSc Psychology at University of South Wales. Primarily a musician with a love of all things audio technology and audio production gaming is my escape into hopefully beautiful worlds full of wonderful experiences and phenomenal soundtracks. I review with an unbiased ‘try anything once’ mentality and love to find wonderful little indie games or audio technology and will pull any game apart with no discrimination. In general my preferred games are story-driven open world adventures of any kind though I will play anything if I find fun in it.

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