Tom Clancy's The Division is one of the most anticipated games of the Winter 2016 season, a third-person tactical shooter that aims to bring gameplay similar to the mega-selling sci-fi blockbuster Destiny to a gritty urban environment involving high-end military weaponry and a nightmare-scenario in a walled-off, disease-ridden New York City ruled by rival gang factions and infiltrated by elite teams of soldiers. After months of hype, the eager-awaited title is finally set to launch on March 8, 2016.
Now, a new launch trailer has been released by Ubisoft to give players one final tease of what they can soon look forward to. Give it a watch, above.
In the game, players take on the role of an elite military unit tasked with entering Manhattan after the island is sealed-off from the rest of the U.S. in order to contain an apparently-deliberate smallpox outbreak. Once inside, they discover that the city has become factionalized between a variety of criminal gangs whose presence imperils their mission to find the source of the virus, leading to confrontations and complications. In addition to the various criminal gangs including Rikers (Riker's Island escapees) and Rioters, players will encounter threats in the form of militarized sanitation workers attempting to fight the virus on their own terms and paramilitary units attempting to enact their own brand of order; along with support from reconstituted remnants of the city's police and emergency-response professionals.
The gameplay includes RPG elements in the form of experience points and currency, which are used to upgrade equipment and customize appearance. While the core multiplayer is focused on missions and campaigns, a player-versus-player "Dark Zone" mode will allow users to engage in direct combat with a separate progression-system from the main game. The Division has had both a closed and open beta release, with players praising its gameplay, attention to detail and unique shooter setting; but concerns have also been raised about its enemy AI and the sharp shifts in difficulty, especially when moving between the main game and Dark Zone events.
The Tom Clancy brand, formerly one of the most reliable names in military and espionage themed games, has gone through a rough patch lately, in terms of releases and reputation; Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Splinter Cell: Blacklist both landed without much enthusiasm from players, while the much-hyped Rainbow Six Siege was roundly criticized for a lack of content and over-reliance on a microtransactions business model. And while The Division represents a major break from tradition for the series in terms of overall setup and interface, its similarities to Destiny are widely noted enough to have left many wondering whether it will repeat the rocky first year of that similarly-ambitious title.
On the flip side, gamers have clearly not lost their hunger for open-world tactical shooters - and with the added novelty of the walled-off quarantine zone scenario, The Division promises to offer a unique experience in a subgenre thus far dominated by more fantastical sci-fi-themed fare. While core players tend to balk at microtransactions, the ability to upgrade and customize individual player avatars is always a big winner in modern games - offering a greater degree of personal investment in the survival of a player character and the completion of their mission.
Tom Clancy's The Division launches March 8th, 2016.