Tom Clancy's The Division
Top Critic Average
Smart, stupid and scrappy, The Division is an ambitious online RPG that delivers strategy and spectacle in equal measure.
The Division is a challenging co-op cover shooter and a gorgeous open world diminished by bloated and unnecessary RPG tropes.
There's definitely some decent meat to chew on in The Division, but it's usually surrounded by too much gristle to enjoy it for long. Both in combat and out, there are some clearly good ideas, especially the tense and dangerous Dark Zone. But they're not spread evenly or interwoven cleanly enough to form a cohesive, consistently enjoyable loop. Ultimately, The Division's overly busy, conflicted design philosophies drown its best ingredients in a bland slurry that never quite comes together into a cohesive dish.
Repetitive by design, and at heart a fairly pedestrian third person shooter, but the online co-op and promise of never-ending rewards is hard to resist.
There's a definite delight to claiming the spoils of your killing, though. The Division scratches that 'gimme slightly better loot' itch, hard and fast. You're constantly bagging vaguely superior gear and flicking into the menus to equip it and make your character slightly more powerful or useful.
The spongy, fantastical gunplay stands at odds with the Tom Clancy brand, but The Division features some great combat arenas and a well designed loot system that keeps you coming back for better gear
The Division's MMO aspirations get in the way of its shooter fundamentals
Despite oddly overpowered enemies and repetitive level grinding, The Division succeeds thanks to its rich world, strong campaign, and impressive online functionality.
The Division's mechanical underpinnings are sturdy enough to make me forget how much of a bummer its story can be; its shooting and looting are slick enough to make me wonder if it still might evolve into something more inspired.
The side content is too repetitive, but The Division's main content and exciting multiplayer component stand out and make this thing worth seeing, provided you've got some like-minded friends around.