But the subject material's a tad depressing
Tom Clancy's The Division is to E3 2013 as Watch Dogs was to E3 2012. It's the game at the show that has a ton of buzz around it, as everyone realizes that it's built around a genuinely cool concept. At the same time, everyone wonders if it can possibly live up to the hype.
I really, really hope The Division meets expectations.
And I think it can. The reasoning is that The Division is not only built around an intriguing theory, but seems like it'll have the perfect infrastructure to support it. I was shown a 15 minute hands-off demo, and I came away only wanting more.
The Division takes place in a United States where some sort of viral pandemic broke out and has devastated civilization. "The Division" is a government tactical task group that is trained to take action in the case of such an event. Their job is to do their best to increase humanity's hope for survival.
"Hope" is the key word here. The entire game appears as if it's going to be centered around the notion of maintaining and restoring hope in time of great crisis. At any given moment, there are several events taking place in the nearby area that need rectifying. As each situation is dealt with, the game looks as if it'll reward you with slivers of benefits as well as a faint beacon of hope for the grim future of humanity.
Fortunately, Ubisoft Massive has created a world that actually looks like it's worth saving. The Division is being created on Snowdrop, and it's quite obvious that the engine is a powerful next-generation tool. Environmental cues such as progressive damage from bullets provide for realistic context that looks beautiful in action.
All of this seems like it'll enhance the combat system, but it might be more useful in creating a seamless world. It looks as if meticulous attention to detail has been put into ensuring that civilization is actually falling apart. Even the way a swinging, half-broken light moves helps with immersion and believability, and that sort of care appears like it will permeate the entire game.
One of the most interesting features that was demoed was the inclusion of a companion application. At any time, a friend can join your game from a mobile device and assist in your endeavors by controlling a drone. Some of the drone's abilities that were shown were providing some firepower from the sky and marking enemies. It was promised that the application will work in perfect synchronization with the game, so that everyone sees everything at the same time.
My experience with Tom Clancy's The Division was brief but I certainly can't wait to find out more. We're probably a long ways from the finish line on this one, and there's a lot of time for the picture to become clearer. It's definitely an ambitious project, and hopefully it's able to live up to expectations -- and mine are sky-high right now.