The Division 2’s latest expansion, Warlords of New York, is yet another example of the kind of storytelling that the games industry sorely needs to leave behind.
Although the gameplay is fantastic, and the chance to see what New York looks months after the first game is exciting, the story you’ll be following is at best muddled and at worst nonsensical.
In Warlords of New York, players are hunting Keener, the de facto antagonist of the series a former Division agent.
Through the series he has been depicted as an intelligent, ruthless assassin with a terrible agenda that is far to smart for lowly beings such as us to understand.
But after defeating his four lieutenants across Lower Manhattan you finally discover his evil plan.
He’s going to re-release a slightly deadlier virus on New York, for some reason.
The Division 2 Warlords of New York Screenshots and Artwork
The Division has always had this problem with its narrative though. It’s a game that wants you to focus on the cool toys and tight gunplay and not think about the story to much.
Warlords of New York is just a perfect storm of issues hidden behind great combat and intriguing environments.
Introducing new toys and raising the level cap to 40, you can have a lot of fun exploring Lower Manhattan as you fight some old foes.
You can also play the DLC immediately with a boosted character if you haven’t made it to level 30 just yet.
Each mission is an exciting location that looks and feels different, which is incredibly impressive given the amount of urban levels they’ve already created.
You fight your way through abandoned prisons, Wall Street, and even a beached oil tanker, each with an incredible amount of detail.
A lot of the boss fights are engaging battles that introduce new challenges for the player to overcome, but its somewhat of a mixed bag.
One outstanding example has the player hunting for the real villain amongst and army of holographic clones, while a poorer example is a boss hiding behind a shield while you run around him picking off bits of health.
The final confrontation with Keener however is the worst, especially if playing on your own. While the game is clearly trying to highlight his rogue agent status, it fights quickly decides into tedium and annoyance.
The new toys can as new skills you’ll acquire as you take down each of the rogue agents.
These missions can be completed in any order, so if you find yourself interested in any of Keeners uninteresting hoard you can tackle them first, but its more likely you’ll be interested in the gadgets they leave behind.
The sticky grenades are great fun as well as an effective addition to your arsenal.
When not fighting through the varied levels, you’ll be exploring new parts of New York, all with that same decayed ambience and annoying Christmas jingles.
During your exploration you can come across roving enemies up to no good as a well as handfuls of collectibles to hunt down.
Although it is fun, Warlords of New York follows in the same footsteps as the rest of the series delivering this overworld with bleak silence.
While the rest of the sound design is incredible, and you can even hear the sound of your gun change depending on where you are, it can be a struggle to stay engaged with the game with nothing for your ears to care about.
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