so my keyboard was pooping itself. i bought a new one (it’s a logitech g910 and i really really like it) and it came with the division. “maybe not worth $60” was no longer a problem. game = mine now. and i like it! it’s a lot of fun. i’ve played like 25 hours (all solo) and have i think 2 story missions left.
i would preface this with spoiler warning, but the story in the division is just so incredibly unimportant you guys. it’s backdrop to pretty fun missions but it really doesn’t matter much. revealing plot details doesn’t seem to me like it would take much away from the experience.
this is the situation in new york. some biochemist created the “dollar flu” which is based on smallpox except it doesn’t incubate as long and it’s contagious immediately. it’s so named because it was originally distributed on cash on black friday. the epidemic is quick and widespread. people get very sick. people stop going to work for fear of getting sick. people die. the hospitals run out of supplies. the military portions off the part of manhattan that was hit the hardest, and it becomes known as the Dark Zone. eventually traffic pretty much just stops going in or out of the city.
as one might expect law and order breaks down. there’s not enough food or medical supplies to go around (it’s winter) and the water and power are less than reliable. a government alphabet agency called cera, which is the division’s fema, tries to help treat the sick but they’re overwhelmed and underresourced. people end up resorting to violence to get what they need. city blocks end up controlled by gangs. some groups of people take the crisis into their own hands, having seen their government give up on them.
enter the division. the government activates a wave of soldiers with no oversight to come in and try to get control of the city back from these gangs who now control manhattan. when that fails they activate a second wave (you). partially it fails because the division agents die, and partially it fails because the division agents go rogue and try to get their own power in this chaos.
here’s the fine folks you’re up against.
“looters/rioters” – dressed like bloods and generally wielding pistols sideways. these are the problematic enemies i talked about in the beta. their motivation seems to be controlling what supplies they can get their hands on.
“cleaners” – this guy.
they’re a bunch of former city workers, mostly sanitation it seems, who have decided the best thing to do is burn the virus out before it spreads any further, which they do literally. flamethrowers and napalm.
“rikers” – cons who broke out of the infamous rikers prison when everything hit the fan. they’ve taken their city–and their power–back.
“last man batallion” – they seem like former cops. i’ve only just started running into them at level 26. well outfitted, defending their city “to the last man,” hence the name. they represent an absurd difficulty spike but that is none of my concern here.
so what’s evil about the looters that justifies me running in and committing mass murder as the “good guy”? they’re trying to survive. they’re trying to hold on to their block and get as much supplies as they can manage for themselves, each other, their families. should they be shooting people to do it, no, but their motivations are the most rational human response to the dollar flu i can imagine.
the cleaners? fuck the cleaners. those dudes burn people alive, sick or healthy. you can shoot them in their gas tank and it explodes and instagibs them and feels A M A Z I N G.
the rikers? i mean, i can kind of see where they’re coming from. they’re thugs. you run across them beating people to death with baseball bats in the street. their stated mission is to kill any cop they see (and you find lots of evidence of them killing your JTF allies horribly). but they were locked up in fucking rikers, man. it’s been us against them for most of their lives. they finally are winning.
i’m not sure i’m ready to pass judgment on the LMB yet but they seem to see you as just as big a threat as any other rival faction. or the division agents who came before you and seized what power they could. so you’re here to shut them down because they think you need shut down? i’m hoping it gets better than that, but it doesn’t have very long to do so, if we’re being honest.
so here’s what you’re dealing with in the division. you are dropped quite literally into the middle of a humanitarian crisis, urban war zone, refugee city. it’s been taken over by thugs and warlords. because of course it has. if your city started dropping dead and the food was running out, you’d do what you had to do to keep your family fed too. the rikers go too far because society pushed them there, and the cleaners go WAY too far because, i don’t know, they’re deranged as hell. but what you’re dealing with is people, ordinary normal people, trying to handle the aftermath of a disaster the best they could when the government proved it could not. or would not. they can’t really tell which. and now your job is to come in, a government agent, and mow them down by the dozen.
your friends at the base of operations keep calling you one, but in the division you are no hero. you may not even be an anti-hero. like i said the story in this game takes a back seat to the setting at large. it’s easy not to think about it, and honestly, probably best not to. this is a fun game that makes you constantly react, switch up tactics, assess environments quickly, plan out your gear and skills, in an incredible open-world manhattan in winter with amazing weather effects. you can get lost in it very easily. seriously, though, do get lost in it. try not to worry about your place in it. here, there be monsters.