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Tycho / on Fri, Feb 19 2016 at 10:40 am

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We have it downloading on the PS4 now, the one here in the office, and it is my intention to frown the entire time he plays it.

What’s funny about this scenario is that Kiko determines what system he is going to play a multiplayer game on based exclusively on whether or not he can use the Xbox Elite Controller, which is currently only available for one system, but I guess that could change at some point.  I didn’t see any reason to go into it when they weren’t even available for purchase, but the truth is that there isn’t much to talk about.  If you can afford it, you should buy it for yourself.  If you can’t afford it, lie cheat and steal.  Become a famous streamer and put it on your wishlist.  Retroactively become the inventor of the device, and then ask for one as a reward for your hard work.  Whatever you got to do.  In any event, like in so many broken families, I am being made to choose.

The game that was released as Destiny no longer exists in many ways, except for its coursing amphetamine loop punctuated by the rapid expulsion of black fluid from enemy necks.  It always had that, and players clung to it like a bouy, which is a word that always looks misspelled.  It has the most reactive, most agency-laden shooting interaction and in a shooter this is a big deal.  People are always comparing Destiny and The Division, myself included, but the comparison works primarily at the “business” level.  That’s where they fit in a portfolio.  As a game, The Division is far more beholden to the RPG side of the equation.  The needle is twitching behind the glass, and it is always bouncing in that direction.  The shooting isn’t bad by any means, but it isn’t on par; third person shooters rarely feel as visceral.  But there is a lot here to like.

There isn’t that much to really play, core story wise, in the beta - there’s a lot reserved for release, shown in stark relief in the Base of Operations, whose offerings are porous for real.  Crafting is out.  A whole Wing, analogous to a Specialization, isn’t available.  It’s a beta, whatever.  What we’re trying to get a sense of here is: if its a cover shooter, do those interactions feel solid?  I think you’ll come away checking the Yes box.  The pathing the characters can do while rushing to distant cover terrain is the cleanest I’ve seen, and watching your friends do it sells the environments well.  The environments in these capital M Missions, analogous to Destiny Strikes, are ridiculously detailed and clearly intended for multiple runs at various difficulty levels.  Jack it up, bring in some friends, and try not to get liquefied in the first encounter.  This happened to a person that I know.

It was me.

The Dark Zone, where PvP happens, was a little squirrely for me but not a bust by any means - but I kept “going rogue” and making myself a huge target by shooting people accidentally.  Some of it was rubber banding, but most of it was probably just not taking that part seriously after a year of primarily PvE shooting.  If you are more careful than I am, you will find this weird frontier intriguing.  A social space where killing other players gets you loot but makes you a free target is like The Marshmallow Test, but with assault rifles.

Gabriel’s only question to me the day before was whether or not you can close a car door if it’s open and you are using the car for cover.  I think he had seen that in a video.  But, yes.  The answer is yes.

(CW)TB out.

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