I love when a game encourages me to explore a world full, to the point where it’s fun to get lost in it. The Division 2’s Washington DC does that constantly.
As I roam the game’s streets in search of audio logs, “echo” holograms, and signs of the life that once filled this place, I feel like an archaeologist looking to make sense of it all.
Check out the video to see some examples of how the game rewards you for combing through the wreckage. Or read the script down below.
The Division 2 is a huge new game set in a dilapidated Washington DC where bad guys are running wild and civilians are struggling to rebuild. You are a member of the saviour squad known as The Division and you are called in to restore order by shooting your way through the world. That’s pretty fun to do, truth be told, but what I find most fascinating about this game—more so than the pew-pew pageantry—is the game world’s ever-inviting layout.
I just love exploring this place. Like a lot of open-world games, The Division 2 fills your map full of things to do nearby. But as I’ve been playing the game for the last few days, whenever I’m on my way to a new objective, I allow myself to get lost. I can’t help it.
It’s like when I’m travelling in real life. I’ll make time to just roam and get lost in a new city. It lets me discover things based off of a natural curiosity and not from a map on my phone. It’s also how I played one of my favourite games, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
I would select a part of the map to head toward and let myself get distracted on the way. And I always found some amazing sights and cool things to do. It’s what made that game so special and why I poured so much time into it. The Division 2 reminds me a lot of that feeling…
And not just because there are similar bird sounds.
The Division 2’s war-torn Washington DC lets me explore and wander in search of loot, materials, and small pieces that tell the stories of the lives that still haunt the world. I love the way that streets are designed, leading to eerily-lit alleys with open garage doors full of garbage or manholes leading down to sewers beneath the surface. I keep getting lost in it for hours.
And more often than not, the game rewards me for exploring with food, clothes, and maybe even a shiny new weapon. Finding audio logs can also help piece together parts of the smaller, ground-level stories littered throughout The Division 2’s abandoned offices, apartment buildings, storefronts and more.
So sure, a part of my mind is exploring for my personal gain. I want that good loot. But I’ve also got the natural curiosity to make some sort of sense of the madness. I just like enjoy spending time in this game world.
In a lot of the game’s missions, you go inside DC’s buildings. They feel like real places.
Climbing through windows, up elevator shafts, onto rooftops connecting buildings, The Division 2 really makes use of its geometry in ways that feel exciting.
The weight of your character as they shift from cover to cover or vault over things adds to the grounded and thrilling feel of conquering 4-storey tall buildings, and ziplining down afterwards quickly gets you back into your search for the next adventure.
Mix in a really cool day/night cycle and some weather effects and the game invites me to continue wandering and exploring the world to my heart’s content.