5 Reasons The Division may be the best open-world game ever

The Division, announced a few years ago, has the potential to be the best open-world game ever. Here are 5 reasons why!

When The Division was first announced, my jaw easily dropped to the floor and I began to salivate. This was the open-world game I was looking for, this was the type of title I would spend hundreds to thousands of hours in, and this was the game I was going to buy on a day one and perhaps even get some DLC or expansions, too.

The upcoming game, developed by Ubisoft, will feature the entirety of New York City - albeit a post-apocalyptic, virus-rampaged version of the beloved US city - for the player to explore, combat opponents, find new gear, take on missions, build their own safe haven, and plenty more.

If you're not already excited for The Division, then these five reasons may just get you going as much as they do for me.

#1 - The Game World - New York City

Being a next-generation release, The Division will offer a persistent, dynamic open-world for the player to experience, whether it be cooperatively, alone, or against other players. The simple fact that you can explore almost everything is impressive. You, as the player in control, could join up with another group of players that you randomly happened across. These players could become life-long friends, helping you explore and retake the entire US city.

In order to survive, in true role-playing game fashion, the player will require food, water, weapons, ammo, medicine, and plenty more to ensure the city doesn't stomp them out.

The weather changes constantly, as does the time of day, meaning you could enter an apartment building in the middle of the night, scouring through each apartment with your flashlight or night-vision goggles, but leave the building in the early morning hours.

This very same apartment building could become useful for an ambush. For example, should you and a small group of operatives post up in second-floor windows, guns ready, as someone passes by, you could all unload on them from above.

#2 - Gear Customization

Honestly, I am a complete sucker when it comes to player customization in video games. It is one feature that always makes me giddy when I hear a developer or publisher announce in an upcoming title.

In The Division, though, things are taken to the next level. You can choose how your character appears to everyone else, whether it is a clean-cut, handsome soldier-type, or perhaps the rugged, lumberjack-style that people love so much these days. Of course, there are female characters, too, so the results could be nearly endless.

As for your backpack, which is your "lifeline" during the crisis, this can also be customized. Along with the backpack, weapons, gear, and even player skill are yours to command.

So, go ahead and have an assault rifle decked out with a laser sight, a high-tech scope, an extended buttstock, a pistol grip, and a grip to ensure your accuracy is up. People will remember facing that weapon, and you.

#3 - Seamless Multiplayer

In the beginning, I was not a huge fan of the always online method of certain video games and publishers. However, I'm starting to get used to the idea, especially when it comes to The Division.

The simple idea of wandering around a city alley on my own, gun at the ready, while searching for some water or ammunition, and then happening across other players, is thrilling to me. You never truly know whether or not that team of other players will be friendly or a foe. They're all obviously armed with weapons, so it could go either way. In one instance, you would duck behind a dumpster in the alley and open fire, or return fire. In the other scenario, you pop out of the alley, speak to the other players over voice chat, then take on some missions with them, earning yourself some sweet loot in the process.

#4 - Snowdrop Engine

A game engine within a video game doesn't, honestly, get me going too much. But that all changed when I had my first look at the E3 announcement for The Division years back.

The fact that the snow melts around you, or on the hood of a hot vehicle, is brilliant. And opening and closing a car door as you move past it for cover is simply beyond incredible. 

Snowdrop has been developed to ensure The Division is one of the most realistic looking games releasing within the next few years. The team at Ubisoft and Massive have managed to bring the entirety of New York City to its knees as they rendered almost every building in the metropolis. Obviously, it isn't every building, but they are darn close in the end.

#5 - Being An Asshat

Generally, within a cooperative multiplayer game, I really enjoy finding a team to complete objectives with and get to know. For me, that makes the game a little more interesting. However, the fact that you can turn on this group of friendlies at any time during your playtime and take their loot while they die unaware is a great feature.

Simply put, it's the fact that Massive is giving the player choice. You, the player, have the choice to be a complete asshat, or actually work with people to take on the difficult missions. Loot can be shared, sure, but sometimes someone else gets something you truly want, like a nice sniper rifle or a piece of armor you've been hunting for four hours.

This is a risky maneuver, but it could pay off if you can shoot everyone else in the back.

In the end, The Division could easily become one of the biggest, and very best, open-world video games to release on any system. The concept behind the title is impressive and grand in scope. And don't even get my started on DLC and expansions. When done right, these two pieces of post-release content could expand this world for the foreseeable future, not just a few months down the road.

Published Oct. 16th 2015
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