The Division 2 is the latest entry in the now surprisingly popular Looter-Shooter genre, and it’s very good. It’s a live service done well, and it certainly is going to be a game I’ll stick with for months. That being said, The Division 2 has also, at times, been the most frustrating game experience I had in years.
I’m not one to get too mad at games. I played all the Soulborne games, and frankly I was always quite bad at them. Even though I died constantly and often (even on the easiest enemies), I never really felt an urge to chuck my controller away and turn console off in rage. Yet, somehow, The Division 2 made me do that on multiple occasions. I found myself turning the console off every few session, frustrated and angry.
Why is that? Well it’s simple…The Division 2 is not a properly balanced video game. For you that don’t know, The Division 2 is a cover based shooter with RPG elements. Essentially what you do in the game is fight waves of enemies. Each of them have a different skill set and quirks to help you level up and get new loot, so you can in turn kill more enemies. It’s a simple loop that certainly works for games like Diablo or Destiny. It also works quite well here, for most part at least.
See, The Division 2 is more strategic than something like Destiny. Cover mechanics, positioning, and reload timing are your keys to survival. It’s not at all about running around and shooting. Enemies in The Division 2 know it too and do everything in their power to force you out of safety. Some enemies throw grenades, some enemies quite fearlessly run around your cover to shoot you, and some even run up to you and try kill you with a crowbar.
This is quite the clever way to keep players on their toes, and never let them feel too safe behind any cover. There is one issue though…this is a very poorly balanced system. Having an enemy run around your cover with a crowbar would not be that big of an issue, on its own. Yet, The Division 2 likes to fire everything at you at once. Not only do you have standard enemies shooting at you from distance there are snipers which take hefty chunk of your health bar every time you peek out of the cover to shoot. There are enemies who run around your cover to either shoot you from behind or your side. Some enemies who are proficient at throwing grenades force you to change your cover. Finally, there are the enemies who run up to you with a crowbar, which takes a maximum of 3 hits to kill you. It’s just too much, and I’ve seen a combination of all of these together at one time on more than one occasion.
This is mostly due to the fact that the game is designed with co-op in mind. Every level can be beaten with friends or strangers, which can be called to help you at any time during the mission. It’s quite the cool feature, but this means that none of this game feels like it was balanced for solo play. You get the same amount of enemies if you were alone as you would when you are with others, and it’s very frustrating. When you play alone you really do feel helpless at times.There are some stages of certain levels I tried over and over again, just to eventually get drowned by a ridiculous amount of enemies. It just feels unfair. Which is why so many times I just turned it off out of pure rage.
It is primarily a co-op game though and is meant to be played with others, and I will admit it is better way to experience this game. Yet, at times I felt having a full four player party made the game little bit too easy. Even when tackling missions which were at the same, or bit higher level than my character.
Despite all that I still think The Division 2 is a great game which I no doubt will be playing for long time. All I hope is that Ubisoft will fix the balance issues as soon as possible.