The Division Underground DLC review: Undergrind

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6

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Reviewed on: PS4. Copy supplied by publisher.

So we’re a little late with this review considering Underground came out over a month ago, but you know, grinding takes time! The first paid DLC for Ubisoft’s massive online shooter was always going to be a good indicator whether the game still has legs nearly five months after release, and the good news is it kind of does, but it might not be what you’re expecting.

The DLC kicks off with a bang, literally, as civilians are torn to shreds by an IED before your very eyes. This triggers a couple of waves of enemies you could quite frankly pistol whip to death. You then rush to base to discover all the naughty factions in the game are doing bad stuff underneath New York City. To combat this sudden resurgence in naughtiness you have to fight them where they live… which is the sewers apparently. In this new subterranean fight you have a secret underground base to launch missions from, which of course contains lots of new blueprints and gear for you to buy.

Tom Cl

“Rekt” is a named boss, let that happen.

Each mission in Underground is a customisable randomly generated outing, which lets you pick the difficulty, number of stages (one to three) and any modifiers. The number of stages and modifiers you can pick depends on your underground level, which as you probably guessed, goes up when you complete missions underneath the ground. Stages take the form of an objective that sometimes requires a time limit to complete, the more you set for yourself the more experience you’ll gain, but of course the added time gives you plenty more chances to die and start back at the beginning. The objectives are pretty simple, usually defusing devices or taking out a leader, all in all not surprising fare, but they work for the game.

With each mission you can either go it alone or team up with friends and strangers. Depending on the difficulty I definitely recommend playing with others, as The Division is really at its best when played in a squad. Also the higher the level the more delicious delicious XP you’ll get.

Modifiers add features such as scrapping your radar and making enemies different degrees of annoying to face. The benefit of using them is to provide you with (you guessed it) additional XP!  Earning XP levels up your Underground rank which then grants you a new Underground cache containing an item, which in my experience proved to be the best feature of the DLC. At each level I received a gear set piece or a reasonably good weapon. For those that haven’t previously poured hours into the game this is a fast and efficient way to get good gear.

Is this a Batman crossover?

Is this a Batman crossover?

The procedurally generated nature of the missions is pretty cool. Some of the maps I came across made for some interesting battlefields, and certain set pieces look really impressive, such as the sewer club that was pretty much identical to the blood rave in Blade.  However Underground does suffer from some issues that come with procedural generation, such as poorly thought out pacing. I spent a lot of time running through corridors looking for action, to not really find much aside from the occasional bomb or throwaway loot pack.

Of course a fair few of you will be wondering if The Division is still suffering from glitches. The game quickly became notorious for a number of exploitable issues and bugs after release. Well the answer is yes, it’s still buggy, but not in an apparently game breaking way like it previously was. Getting there!

Tom Clancy's The Division™_20160830153450

Damn sewer ghosts.

Overall Underground isn’t a bad DLC at all, but I did find my interest in The Division is at rock bottom currently. Although this new content was enough to stir some vague interest, it wasn’t enough to get me hooked again. For those with friends playing the DLC it’s a worthwhile venture, but for those yet to play the game, or who have lost their Division pals to other titles, I’d say you wouldn’t need to rush to play this one.

Good

  • More of the same
  • Procedural generation can be cool
  • Easier to get high end gear
  • Customising mission parameters is nifty

Bad

  • More of the same
  • Still glitchy
  • Not much variation to gameplay

Summary

em>The Division Underground is a procedurally generated grind fest that has moments of fun, and it certainly pads out the gameplay you've come to expect from The Division, however it's easy to find the bullet sponge action and gear scraping gameplay tiresome after this long. All in all it's not a bad addition for fans who haven't played the game in a while, and it adds some much needed variation for players who have persevered with it this long.

You could probably read Charlie's Tweets underground, I mean, who's really going to stop you? Follow him here @clbraith, and don’t forget to follow @load_screen and like us on Facebook.
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