In my original review of The Division 2, I asked myself a basic question. Should I play The Division 2 solo? One year later, with multiple updates, and a promise of a new campaign, as I download Warlords Of New York on my PS4, I ask myself a new question. Solo or otherwise, Should I go back to The Division 2?
Reasons To Return To New York
Bottom Line. Ubisoft makes it easy.
Whether you are a grizzled veteran who has been playing Division 2 diligently for the past one year or a tween with an attention span of a week. The expansion comes bundled with an automatic upgrade to level 30 for your existing and new characters. I still remember why I wasn’t able to play the latest DLC of Witcher 3 (I had to be at a certain level, and I had deleted my earlier save). With Division 2, you can take a Helo (apparently that’s Agent lingo for Helicopters) and land in New York in a matter of minutes after you boot up the game.
Most of the gear that you will bring from DC will be useless too, so you can start upgrading your current set with abandon. This means that there is no anxiety of being surrounded by superior gears for new players. While for veterans, the shoot-loot cycle begins anew with new weapons, new perks, and new skills. The meta has changed dramatically too; from what I have followed in updates and subreddits. But since I haven’t played the game regularly for a year, it was all new for me, and I imagine for the rest of the players too, so there is a level playing field in there too.
The part that Warlords Of New York loops back the heaviest on, is the story. This is understandable because the game is set in New York, the theatre for the first game. Or should I say Warlords Of New York is set in a subset of New York? With only some areas of the original Manhattan island available to the player. Most characters from the first game return, even the villain Aaron Keener comes back with a new set of Rogue agents, the titular Warlords. But if you think you are missing out because you didn’t play the first game, then don’t worry about it a lot of people who played the first game didn’t pay attention to the story either. Having said that, Warlords Of New York does unfold in a 20-hour story playthrough, which can be completed SOLO if you don’t have friends, and give you enough motive to understand the mechanics and the meta of Division 2, and make an informed decision on whether you plan to stay in the game or not.
Reasons To Skip New York
Apart from the Quarantine, you mean? Well for starters there is nothing new.
I know I said there are new areas, new weapons, and new skills and everything but hear me out. You are going back to New York. You are facing off against Keener. You have to take down a group of sub-leaders (Warlords) who each control a part of the city. You can take them down in any order you wish, and once all of them have been captured and/or neutralized, you get to make your move on Keener. Reminds you of something? Reminds you of every Ubisoft game that came out in the past half a decade? Exactly.
Plus the dreaded bullet-sponging returns. I am not sure if its a New York thing, but it’s back. Bullet Sponges are back guys. For context, the First Division was infamous for enemies that had huge health bars, and your pew-pew guns could only take a small chunk out of them. It was a big problem, that added a superfluous level of difficulty to missions, and was universally panned in its initial reviews. With Division 2, the team seems to have that problem solved. But here we are back in New York, and every minor boss feels like ages to take down. It wouldn’t have been much of an issue if these enemies stayed in a fixed path, but they flush you out of cover and force you to move between them which makes the entire exercise even more irritating than challenging.
Then there is the loot drop. Which in my opinion is too generous. And sure it’s nice to have exotics and legendaries drop in the first couple of hours of game time. But in the long run, it makes those exotics and legendaries too common. You are changing weapons, armors, and gears way too often, even after you have reached end-game. Plus each piece of your inventory has too many stats. Like TOO MANY NUMBERS. And all of them have this tiny little font, which you have to be inches from the screen to read. This means that not only do you have to spend a lot of time pouring over those numbers to come up with a build you like, but the generous loot drop will also be making the exercise redundant because you will be finding a new piece to fit into your load-out too quickly.
Warlords Of New York is a decent expansion to Divison 2. Something new to sink your teeth in, as you go back to the game. And a new reason, to get the squad back together. But underneath all of that, it’s still the same locations, it’s still the same enemies, it’s still the same mechanics. There is nothing fundamentally new to keep you in New York. The new expansion will give you a reason to come back to the game, it just won’t give you enough to stay.