Taking back the streets of New York and exploring a virtual world ravaged by an epidemic, virtual style.
The enhanced quarantine period has truly given us a lot of time to go through our backlogs and test out whatever is pending and new that came out of the market and what, well, fitting choice to play at this time than Ubisoft’s expansion to The Division 2, Warlords of New York.
Set in a world, or the very least a country ravaged by an epidemic, The Division 2 follows the tale of an unnamed protagonist as they chase a rogue agent who threatens the world by attempting to engineer and unleash a new strain of the “Green Poison” from The Division 1. In terms of general gameplay, not much has changed with the standard The Division formula with its cover-based shooting, utilization of fictional, yet possibly near actual and futuristic tech and open-world exploration in a setting littered with various pseudo-random encounters and side content.
While The Division 2 is originally set in Washington DC, Warlords of New York returns you to, well, New York, which was the former stage of The Division 1, only this time in Lower Manhattan, to chase after the 4 warlords or high ranking officials within the ranks of the enemy group. Obviously geared more towards the single-player experience, Warlords of New York follows Ubisoft’s current approach to single-player action RPG gameplay evident in FarCry 5 and recent Assassin’s Creed titles by letting you choose which main target or boss to take on first while at the same time allowing you to take on numerous side quests and random world events and encounters.
Together with this new approach to main single-player missions, Warlords of New York also adds more spice to the formula by allowing players to adjust certain playthrough elements to make the game more challenging or adjust it according to their tastes. Certain adjustments would include reduced starting ammo, no HP regeneration, and even increased enemy utility making them hit harder than usual. Random encounters also attempt to include a unique flavor in Warlords of New York as certain world events and objectives that involve civilian interaction became present and can be tackled during exploration. One thing to also note is that completing unique events and encounters often ends up with a more streamlined reward loot system especially when clearing out occupied areas.
Tedium and repetition have become a general part of The Division 2’s gameplay, same with the previous installment of the series, and as well as any of the current era Ubisoft AAAs, and something that I personally have grown accustomed to, but if there’s any gripe that I have about Warlords of New York it’s that how the boss fights can sometimes be unnecessarily hectic with layer upon layer of gameplay mechanic and phases get piled on top of each other. Boss fights don’t just mean that you’re trying to shoot down a boss with high armor, high HP, and significant damage and their cronies, but also dealing with fight phases which are more often mildly annoying than difficult. At some point, it feels that the game is trying a little too hard to hammer the concept of “You can’t take this guy down that easy”, and Ubisoft could have streamlined the boss fights a little bit more. Of course, there’s nothing generally wrong with adding a bit of variety and spice and making players think better in terms of how to approach a fight but chasing your target for around half an hour, through hordes of enemies only to try and deal with whatever special mechanic they have before landing the killing blow makes the whole ordeal a little more frustrating than satisfying.
Still despite all this, The Division 2, and its expansion Warlords of New York is still a somewhat enjoyable single-player experience, for both of those who are already familiar with the game and for newcomers and if you wanna combat a deadly virus video game style, and is worth to pick up especially now that it’s on sale.