The Division review round-up: Stunning but tricky first hours lead to excitement for Tom Clancy game’s future

The game’s launch day has been hit by server problems — but for those that have managed to play, the game offers hope for a long and improving experience

The Division has gone live — allowing players to explore the much-hyped and richly-realised world of a post-apocalyptic New York properly for the first time. But it’s unlikely that anyone will know exactly how much fun they’ll have there for weeks and months to come.

The online-online game is likely to come into its own as more players get online and missions start to open up, most reviewers said. And many players have had a tough time doing that so far, since the game has been blighted by problems with the servers.

Those same problems have hit reviewers, which means that many first impressions are being posted as they go along. (The Independent’s review will be posted soon.)

The game starts in emotional and dramatic fashion — showing a vibrantly destroyed city and memorials to those lost. The opening has already been published online, meaning that you can get a sense of the game without actually playing it.

After that, players get into the induction, as the game teaches you about the map, the gear that can be used to explore it, and how exactly to move around.

“The Division mostly handles it well, though its semi-opaque menus can be tough to read depending upon where you pull them up, and if you aren't used to the conventions of RPG equipment management, it can turn the screen into a wall of number clutter,” wrote IGN in its in-progress review.

“The information needed to make decisions is all there though, once you know where to look.”

Some of those first moments can be a little dull, Trusted Reviews wrote. But that impression quickly fades.

“What happens next sets the right tone for what follows, and that’s a desperate struggle to save a city in the grip of utter chaos,” the site said after a few hours of playing the game.

“There’s no authority, gangs of looters and nutjobs prowl the streets while the city’s few remaining emergency forces are stretched to breaking point and under near-constant attack. Luckily, as a sleeper agent of the eponymous secret government agency, you can help. Establish a base, upgrade it and staff it up, and you can start turning things around.”

Many parts of the game will start to make more sense as players do more within the game.

One key part is the Dark Zone, for instance — the only part of the game where you can be killed by other players. That is filled with infected loot and encourages players to turn against each other as mercenaries and vigilantes.

At the moment, that area is busy and violent but still fun, according to most reviewers. But as some players get ahead of others, it might become more and more tough — another part of the game that is hard for reviewers to make their mind up on.

“With all these elements combined the Dark Zone is the most interestingly unique set-up in the game,” the Metro wrote. “But who knows what it’ll end up like once the general public descend upon it.”

The game has already won comparisons to Destiny and other MMORPG. Those are flattering and point to the The Division’s huge achievement — but also show the fact that it will really be great or not depending on who plays it and for how long.

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