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Tycho / on Tue, Mar 19 2019 at 10:06 pm

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Pre-PAX Pox

This, or something very close to it, really did happen.  It’s a brand that brings people together, forging a connection between them, even if they should be discussing the infection that is - even now - gnawing at the root of his lifespan.

The thing people always said about the first Division game was that enemies were “bullet sponges.”  This wasn’t a huge surprise to me.  No matter what the metaphor is, in this case one where players constitute an elite sleeper cell of extrajudicial murderers, when you reach higher levels there will be more elite enemies and those enemies will have more hit points.  Comically so, in challenging versions of the game’s content.  But it never affected my enjoyment of the game - I ran with two light machine guns sporting over a thousand rounds between them, and I was geared so that when I stowed one and drew the other it reloaded the one I’d put away, obviating the drawback of the weapon class.  Training that twin apparatus on elites was more or less my job, for as long as it took.  It didn’t break my suspension of belief because I never believed it to begin with.  I played for months and never had to charge my watch once - that bothered me.  There should be a place in the safehouse where you can charge your watch.

What they appear to have determined here is that the “bullet sponge” issue is largely a UI/perceptual issue, and they’ve tried to counter that by visually establishing when you’re hitting an area likely to soak up a ton of damage.  Once you’ve broken through big armor, there’s typically a visual cue coupled with the fact that they just… melt, after that.  You know how when you’re installing something on iOS and you’re staring at the bar and staring at the bar until it get close to the end and then finishes super fast?  It’s like that.  This stuff didn’t bother me before, but if it bothered you, that coupled with more robust weapon feedback might advocate on its behalf.

The only thing I haven’t enjoyed so far is the story, which is so thin that - were I inclined to be charitable - I would say “it was not a priority.”

Except… the original Division had a cool story, and they told it well, with firm characters who made sense and didn’t always agree.  These characters, the ones I have just described, were performed with expertise and I bought what they were selling.  They told asynchronous stories with their ECHO system that were, in some cases, exceedingly clever.  I found things at the end of missions I didn’t truly understand were missions in the first game, borderline magical shit, little blooms of light peeking up through the martial law.  I think I like this game better, and I know why I’m doing everything, but it’s such a striking deficiency here in the first half that it makes me want to wrassle on account of bein’ all fired up.  Looking at the roadmap, the story isn’t actually complete until much later, in content that arrives as a free update.  I’d like to say they’re keeping their powder dry, which has nice synchronicity as a wartime metaphor, but I’m not holding my breath.

(CW)TB out.   


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