Several of us hopped into The Division open beta this weekend (February 19–21). I realize now that it's reductive to call this online third-person shooter role-playing game something like Tom Clancy's Destiny. That misses the point of the gritty apocalypse-now world building and modern-military sensibilities. But framing it that way does make apparent the idea that many gamers not typically attracted to military shooters—including yours truly—will be attracted to The Division.
God rays blaze their way down the avenues. Trash piles up along the sidewalks. Abandoned vehicles shield players from enemy gunfire. Slow-and-steady base building roots you into a scary-realistic time and place. In fact, the greatest trick of The Division is making this military fiction appear as military fact. In that sense, it's almost an antidote to Destiny's pulpy sci-fi splendor. In The Division, you may be looking at the stars, but you're looking up at them from the gutter.
This video features quick tips for playing The Division, straight from the developers. All of this is covered well enough in game. But a refresher never hurts. In fact, I had grenade troubles, for some reason. Between selecting between grenade types and actually pulling the pin, I just kept flubbing the buttons. This video revisits the topic and makes me go duh and want to start throwing more grenades.
A busy weekend filled with visiting in-laws and my daughter's birthday only let me have an hour or two in the open beta. Hopefully Ubisoft throws in one more open beta before The Division's March 8 launch on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. If they do, I'll be there, nabbing cosmetic items and blindly popping caps in bad guys from cover. The little I've seen still makes me want to declare The Division an early success. This game weighs on my mind when I'm not playing it.