While The Division 2 has shown a lot of promise from what I’ve played so far, I can’t get past my frustrations with its post-game.
The Division is a great loot shooter; I played the original and enjoyed my time with it. Going into the sequel, I wasn’t going to play it at launch, but that was until everyone I follow in the industry saying that it was extremely fun and a nice upgrade from the original. So, I bit the bullet and got it: it took me a while, but I finally got through all the base game. Granted, I know that this type of “shared-world shooter” is not targeted for me. I have a full and part-time job. I review games that I regularly would not play because there are just too many to play nowadays, and then I have the games that I do want to spend my time playing in my free time. Even without that in mind, The Division franchise is one of the more check-boxy open-world games out there, which isn’t usually that fun to me. But despite all that, the loot aspect of the game is what has attracted me to the series along with its tactile shooting.
Going into the post-game, however, I heard about how there was a new organization called the Black Tusk that took over the main mission areas of the map and that they were differently structured. “Awesome,” I thought, until I found out that this was not just the main missions that were taken over. No, it was the ENTIRE MAP.
Like a snap of the Infinity Gauntlet, all my progress that went into saving DC: gone. All the control points, all main missions, and all strongholds, taken over by them. Now granted, this is a game that is meant for its post-game, but making it a map reset feels like a giant middle finger to the player. “Hey, remember all that hard work you put in for 30 or more hours? Well, do it again!” I felt like Patrick in that one episode of SpongeBob where he was waiting for his Valentine’s Day gift and it ended up being a handshake. It seemed like a waste of time.
Being a looter-shooter, one of the most satisfying things about the game is picking up new weapons and armor time and time again as you slowly but surely get stronger. Once you complete the main game, you get to choose weapon specializations that you did not have before for your character. This provides a really cool addition with a surprisingly expansive tree for each path, but I likely will never mess with it because of how Massive Entertainment designed the post-game experience. I don’t mind having the “real game” be in the post-game, but when I’m being told to sweep the same map with the same things in the same locations over again, it just doesn’t feel worth it to me. There aren’t enough extra additions or new experiences from what I found in the post-game for The Division 2 to justify it.
Outside of my personal experiences, this still seems like an ineffective way to add post-game content. The map is huge; if the post-game content was in different locations of the map, I think I would have been more ok with starting fresh. There could have been so much more potential that way. Yes, I have been told that the missions at each location are not the same as the main game, but it is the same environments that you are being surrounded with.
Destiny is a similar game with this design, and the reason why that game does not bother me as much is that there is such a wider variety of enemies that it does feel different enough; feels fresh enough, and you have to adapt more. In The Division 2, all the enemies, regardless of the type, just feel the same to me outside of the number of bullets I need to hit them with.
With the game taking place in Washington D.C., it would have been nice to have more variety in the mission locations. I know that there will be numerous expansions coming, so it is likely that the map will fill up giving us new locations, landmarks, and buildings that D.C. is known for, but there has to be a better way to make post-game content than repeating what you have already done. So after checking all the boxes in The Division 2‘s main game, being told to do it all over again is just a really bad feeling to me.
That being said, I know that each game has a specific vision; I don’t want to squander that vision and I don’t want it to be thought that I did not enjoy The Division 2. I think it’s still a good game; I just feel that in the post-game, there is a lack of respect to the player who invests tons of time into the game, to then be told to do it again to progress further. I would like to think I will return to The Division 2 in the future, but for now, I must move on to the next game.