It is probably a fairly accurate statement to say that having fresh content is the lifeblood of any game. That statement is doubly true for a game like The Division, which can’t survive on PvP alone (partly because there is no dedicated PvP mode that we know of) and can’t survive by being marketed as a pure RPG.
With The Division’s beta, we all got to explore a portion of the map and get a general feel for things, but will the full game have enough content to keep you hooked?
What we know so far
Judging by the map that we can access in The Division’s beta, the playable area in the full game stretches from just a few blocks south of Central Park to just a few blocks into downtown Manhattan. This translates to an area that is roughly six times larger than what we can visit in the beta, not including things like subway tunnels and building interiors.
On top of that, each wing of your Base of Operations likely has at least a couple of missions associated with it, in addition to the little side/radiant quests that come from the bounty board. (At least that’s what the board looks like). There are seemingly personal side quests as well, though how many and how in depth they are depends entirely on how many characters are present in the story.
All in all, it takes somewhere between three to five hours just to do all the activities and experience the Dark Zone (or enough of it to get a general feeling of how the Dark Zone works, even though it has its own fair share of problems) at least once in the beta. That’s fairly impressive, even if most of the side quests consist of rescuing some hostages or some such.
Did Ubisoft show too much of their hand too early?
Unfortunately, the fact that you have to walk everywhere may point to a problem that goes beyond simply being an annoyance. Consider this: as it stands now, it takes around five minutes to walk from your Base of Operations to a Dark Zone entrance. Because you can’t use a bicycle (which would reduce a lot of the travel time), your playtime is artificially extended, which in turn gives the impression that there really is a lot of content in the game.
In other words, while you can travel around a decently sized portion of Manhattan, that portion may lack the depth needed to actively engage with people. Sure, it may take several hours to simply walk around the map, but if there’s nothing to do along the way then The Division may end up being a glorified jogging simulator.
Throw in a story that seems like it’s going to devolve into the “good guys find terrorists and/or Russians and kill them” modern shooter-fest, and you’ve got a potential recipe for a bland game.
What do you think? Do you need more information about exactly how much content can we expect in The Division, or does the Dark Zone make up for what may be a dearth in content?